Leyton Orient U18s returned to winning ways with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Northampton Town on Saturday.
Despite falling behind early on, Orient responded well and replied with two goals no more than a minute apart from Jack Humphrey and Freddy Moncur to take a 2-1 lead into halftime. Northampton equalised just before the hour but the O’s did not have to wait long to retake the lead as Victor Adeboyejo fired them back in front a minute later.
Looking to bounce back from last weeks defeat at AFC Wimbledon, Orient started brightly and dictated the play with the majority of possession in the first five minutes.
There was a setback on the 7th minute however as Northampton took the lead very much against the run of play when Shaun McWilliams was left unmarked in the box to head in Sam Warburton’s free-kick.
Nonetheless the O’s were not to be fazed by going a goal down and eight minutes later Montel Agyemang, who has been involved with the first team over recent weeks, stung the hands of Northampton goalkeeper Brendan Brown with a strike from the edge of the box that took a slight deflection.
From the resulting corner Orient got back on level terms as Freddy Moncur’s delivery was met by the head of defender Jack Humphrey who made no mistake at the back post.
Not wanting to rest on their laurels Andy Edwards’ side pressed Northampton straight from kick-off and grabbed a quick-fire second when Moncur raced on to Agyemang’s clever set back to the edge of the box and rifled the O’s ahead.
Moncur was nearly gifted a second on the 25th minute when Northampton switched off defensively and allowed the ball to run through to their box, but the ball bounced over the midfielders head.
The O’s continued to control the match in midfield and created another chance six minutes later when Victor Adeboyejo swivelled his body well to get a shot away from Shola Oladipo’s cross but Brown got across to his left to push the ball away.
With the first half coming to a close Christian Owusu had Brown well beaten with a rasping drive from the edge of the box but the forwards shot crashed back off the bar and bounced off the line before eventually being cleared by the Northampton defence.
The opening half was arguably some of the best football the O’s have played so far this season and they deservedly went into the break ahead.
Following the restart the O’s continued to dominate the proceedings early on and Nick Brown was denied by a last ditch block after Myles Judd pinched the ball down the right.
With 59 minutes played the O’s were then punished for not getting organised defensively as Northampton defender Richard Parker was allowed the freedom of the box to send a header past Ben Card which went in off the post.
The score was not to be level for long however as Orient went straight down the other end and swiftly retook the lead. Oladipo showed good trickery to break in to the box down the left and pulled the ball back for Moncur who saw his blocked shot fall kindly for Adeboyejo to sweep home his 9th goal of the season.
Aron Pollock came on in defence to make his first appearance since August and with 16 minutes remaining picked out the run of Adeboyejo who fired a shot towards the near post that was tipped away for a corner. Pollock then nearly marked his return with a goal but his header from the corner flashed wide of the post.
Northampton responded with a chance of their own two minutes later as Ryan Cooke cut in from the right but Card was equal to the shot and pushed it away as Orient held on for the win.
Following the victory Academy Director Andy Edwards was impressed by the players’ attitude and was particularly pleased with their first half showing.
“I thought we played really well today and I also thought that the first period was the best we have played in some time,” he said.
“The lads showed a good attitude and application to what was asked of them and we played some really creative attacking football.
“I was disappointed to give the goals away but our response was excellent. We knew that the second half wouldn’t be as scintillating in terms of our football because we knew the opposition would adapt a little bit, but it was good to see out the win. We changed our shape from a diamond today due to one or two injuries but we are hoping they will be back for Tuesday.
“It gives us some confidence now going into the FA Youth Cup against Colchester and we look forward to it.”
ORIENT: Ben Card, Myles Judd, Michael Clark (Aron Pollock 64), Jack Humphrey, Kane Adams, Montel Agyemang, Nick Brown, Freddy Moncur (C), Christian Owusu (Sam Alderton 81), Shola Oladipo, Victor Adeboyejo
SUBS: Sam Sargeant, Josh Koroma, Harry Andic
BOOKINGS: Myles Judd 76
NORTHAMPTON: Brendan Brown, Callum Westwood, Sam Warburton, Shaun McWilliams, Richard Parker, Ben Jackson, Ryan Cooke, Danny Clifton, Robbie parsons, Dodzi Agbenu, Alex Mushata (Matty Forster 75)
SUBS: Harvey Burt, Charlie Andrews, Shaquille Master, Ryan Marsden