On the back of last week’s defeat at Gillingham, Leyton Orient U18’s produced a strong performance as they drew 1-1 against Cambridge United.
Cambridge took the lead on the 11th minute but Christian Owusu pulled the O’s level seven minutes later with a well placed strike into the top corner. Despite creating a number of good chances in the second half, a winner eluded the O’s as they failed to make their dominance count.
Unbeaten at home this season, Orient found themselves under increased pressure from the visitors early on and Cambridge came within a whisker of taking the lead on after five minutes when George Doyle’s sweetly hit volley from the edge of the area crashed back off the bar.
Six minutes later Orient did fall behind however when Jack Cook beat the O’s offside trap and crossed for Matt Foy whose effort was kept out by Ben Card, only for Elliott Hogan to score the rebound.
In need of a strong response, Orient soon clicked into their usual passing game and equalised on the 18th minute when Scott Kashket picked out Christian Owusu’s run in behind the defence, playing a deft pass into the box to which Owusu claimed his fourth goal of the season with a shot into the top right hand corner.
Three minutes later Orient came close to taking the lead when Victor Adeboyejo sent a teasing cross towards the lively Owusu but the forward was denied his second of the match as his shot took a deflection and trickled wide of the post.
From the resulting corner O’s captain Sam Ling picked the ball up 20-yards out and showed great skill to flick the ball onto his left foot only to see his volley fly wide of the post.
With Orient now well in control of the match, Montel Agyemang was next to threaten the Cambridge goal on the 25th minute when his curling free-kick grazed the top of the bar with U’s keeper Josh Banthorpe at full stretch.
Scott Kashket then looked to have given the O’s the lead five minutes later when he chipped the ball over Banthorpe from 18-yards but the Cambridge defence got back in the nick of time to scramble his effort off the line.
The start of the second half continued in the same fashion as Orient remained well in control of the tie, with Owusu and Kashket both being denied from close range.
Adeboyejo then had two chances in quick succession just after the hour mark as he first headed Owusu’s cross wide of the post before Banthorpe pushed away a powerful right-footed drive.
Orient’s dominance showed no signs of easing as Nick Brown sent a shot over the bar from outside the box before Kashket saw his free-kick tipped round the post on the 77th minute.
Freddy Moncur had a chance to claim the points in added time but the midfielder couldn’t keep his composure and blazed the effort over the bar as Orient had to settle for the draw.
Despite not managing to grab the win, academy manager Richard Thomas was delighted with his side’s performance.
“Overall, I am pleased with how we played today,” said Thomas. “We put everything into practise that we had trained on in the week and worked the counter attack really well. We were punished for a mistake with their goal but responded excellently and created the better chances.”
ORIENT: Ben Card, Myles Judd (Sam Alderson 90), Michael Clark, Sam Ling (C), Kane Adams, Scott Kashket, Montel Agyemang, Nick Brown, Freddy Moncur, Christian Owusu, Victor Adeboyejo
SUBS: Harry Andic, Charlie Barker, Josh Koroma
GOALS: Christian Owusu (18)
BOOKINGS: Ben Card (86), Freddy Moncur (87)
CAMBRIDGE: Josh Banthorpe, Frankie Jones, Jordan Williams, Jack North, Macauley Joynes (C), Elliott Hogan, Josh Burniston, George Doyle, Matt Foy, Dylan Williams (Jake Chambers-Shaw 75), Jack Cook (Jordan Brown 67)
SUBS: Owen Boddey, Ben Taylor, Justin Leavers
GOALS: Elliott Hogan (11)