A late goal deep into added time prevented Leyton Orient U18’s from claiming all three points at Stevenage.
Christian Owusu bagged a first half brace before Victor Adeboyejo put the O’s ahead for a third time midway through the second half. Orient were dealt a bitter blow however when Stevenage defender Norley Botaka headed a 94th minute equaliser to make the score 3-3.
Orient quickly settled into the match and deservedly went ahead after five minutes through Christian Owusu. The forward pounced on a loose pass inside the Stevenage half before bursting towards the edge of the box and slotting a left footed shot into the bottom corner.
Sandro Semedo and Owusu then fired shots wide of the Stevenage goal in quick succession but the hosts replied with a goal of their own on the 17th minute when captain Ben Kennedy played a one-two with Brandon Carney and placed a shot past Ben Card.
Despite having conceded the equaliser, Orient continued to attack and retook the lead five minutes later when Owusu grabbed his second from close range after Stevenage ‘keeper Tyler Reading had pushed out Semedo’s initial effort.
The visitors then thought they had added a third in the 26th minute when Sam Ling rifled a 25-yard shot into the top corner but the goal was eventually ruled out due to an Orient player being offside in the build up to the shot and the O’s took their 2-1 lead into the break.
Stevenage came flying out of the blocks at the start of the second half however as Kennedy saw his header crash back off the post in the 47th minute.
The hosts then went one better three minutes later as Morgan De Bruce worked some space inside the box and fired a powerful shot into the far corner to even the tie once again.
Owusu had the opportunity to score his hat-trick just before the hour when Kane Adams sent a cross in from the left but the forward was unable to stop his header from sailing over the bar.
The O’s then went ahead for a third time on the 67th minute through a fine solo goal from Victor Adeboyejo. The striker collected a Ling throw-in with his back to goal and neatly turned the defender before racing towards the by-line and firing a low rasping shot past Reading in the Stevenage goal.
Stevenage continued to search for an equaliser but were denied on several occasions by Card before finally beating the O’s ‘keeper deep into added time.
With only seconds of the tie remaining, Stevenage’s Dale Gorman floated a free-kick towards the back post which defender Norley Botaka powerfully headed into the roof of the net to ensure the sides shared the points.
Academy Director Andy Edwards was left extremely disappointed after conceding so late in the match.
“It’s very disappointing. I felt the discipline and team structure amongst our side wasn’t good enough and fell below the levels we set ourselves,” he admitted. “To come away with only a point is frustrating as our game management let us down.”
ORIENT: Ben Card, Sam Ling (C), Michael Clark, Jack Humphrey, Kane Adams (Sam Alderson 90), Sandro Semedo, Montel Ageymang, Freddy Moncur, Shola Oladipo, Victor Adeboyejo, Christian Owusu (Harry Andic 81)
SUBS: Sam Sargeant, Nick Brown
GOALS: Christian Owusu (5 & 22), Victor Adeboyejo (67)
STEVENAGE: Tyler Reading, George Casey, Jack Jones, Zak Guerfi, Norley Botaka, Morgan De Bruce, Edward Jackson, Dale Gorman, Robbie Sweeney (Jamie Silvestre 81), Brandon Carney, Ben Kennedy (C)
SUBS: Kavel Patel, Louis Yamfam, Jamie Silvestre, Nathan Kerr
GOALS: Ben Kennedy (17), Morgan De Bruce (49), Norley Botaka (90+4)