Leyton Orient U18s FA Youth Cup run ended at the first hurdle as they lost 3-1 to Colchester United at The Matchroom Stadium.
Having suffered a nervy opening spell, the O’s enjoyed a strong period midway through the first half but found themselves a goal down at the break from Thomas Monk’s 39th minute strike. Nick Brown levelled the tie eight minutes after the restart with a fine solo goal but the U’s quickly regained the lead through Tariq Issa’s free-kick before Joel Atkin added a third.
On the back of Saturday’s win over Northampton Town, Orient Academy Director Andy Edwards opted to only make one change to the side as captain Sam Ling returned in defence in place of Myles Judd who dropped to the bench.
On a cold Tuesday night in wet conditions, it was Orient who threatened first as Colchester scrambled the ball off their line following a Freddy Moncur corner which was dropped by U’s goalkeeper Callum Robinson under the challenge of Victor Adeboyejo.
Colchester responded to the scare well however and Joel Atkin looked odds on to score a minute later as he raced on to Thomas Monk’s pull back across the six yard line but Michael Clark did enough to put the striker off his shot and fire wide.
Ben Card was then forced to make his first save of the night on the 13th minute when Callum Harrison missed Monk’s cross but the ball fell to George Brown who tried to bend an effort in at the top far corner but Card clawed the ball away.
After starting on the back foot the O’s started to grow in confidence and looked to make the most of the expansive pitch with wingers Shola Oladipo and Christian Owusu-Agyeman on the wings and Freddy Moncur providing support for lone striker Adeboyejo.
With just under 20 minutes played Owusu-Agyeman collected Montel Agyemang’s pass just outside the box and sent a left footed strike narrowly over the bar.
Owusu-Agyeman was causing problems down the right and two minutes later volleyed a dangerous ball across goal which evaded everyone but Kane Adams was able to retrieve the ball on the left and send the ball back in. Adeboyejo saw his shot blocked before Agyemang headed over.
Sam Ling was making his first appearance for the youth team in over a month due to first team involvement and won a free-kick on the edge of the box following a surging run towards goal. Nick Brown took control of the set-piece but his effort whistled inches over the bar with Robinson rooted.
The O’s were then forced to make a change defensively with 36 minutes played as Jack Humphrey came off worse in a challenge, which resulted in the defender having to be replaced by Aron Pollock.
By this point Colchester had grown back in to the tie and two minutes later the visitors had the ball in the net when Colchester captain Callum Harrison’s shot was pushed to the side by Card and Atkin tucked away the rebound before being correctly flagged for offside.
There was to be no denying Colchester a minute later however as Thomas Monk wriggled his way through to the box on the left and fired a low right footed shot through a number of bodies in at the near post.
Having gone into the break a goal down, the O’s started the second half brightly and equalised in truly spectacular fashion through midfielder Brown on the 53rd minute.
After collecting the ball in his own half, Brown ventured towards the Colchester goal before unleashing an unstoppable drive from 30-yards that crashed in off the underside of the bar.
There was not much time to enjoy the goal though as Colchester retook the lead pretty much straight away, when Tariq Issa fired a free-kick under the wall and beyond the dive of Card.
The U’s then doubled their lead ten minutes later when Atkin raced beyond the Orient defence and kept his composure to slide the ball in to the far corner.
As rain continued to fall, Card denied Atkin a second late on but despite the O’s best efforts until the final whistle, their journey in the cup came to an end.
ORIENT: Card, Ling (C), Adams, Brown, Humphrey (Pollock 36), Clark, Owusu-Agyeman (Judd 79), Agyemang, Adeboyejo (Koroma 90), Moncur, Oladipo
SUBS: Sargeant, Alderson
GOALS: Brown (53)
COLCHESTER: Robinson, Brampton, Wilson, James, Tennent, Stephens, Brown, Harrison, Atkin (Cosgrave 90+3), Issa, Monk (Dunne 85)
SUBS: Carroll, Pollard, Oti
GOALS: Monk (39), Atkin (54), Issa (64)
BOOKINGS: Issa (74), Harrison (81)