Sam Sargeant’s second half penalty save ensured Leyton Orient U18s held on for a 2-1 victory at Dagenham & Redbridge.
Despite falling behind to a deflected strike Freddy Moncur equalised for the O’s from the penalty spot before Josh Koroma fired Orient into a second half lead. Only a minute later however Dagenham were awarded a penalty but Sargeant guessed correctly to expertly keep out the spot-kick.
Orient made two changes to the side that defeated Gillingham the previous weekend as Kane Adams returned in defence, whilst Josh Koroma made his first start of the season in place of Christian Owusu who dropped to the bench.
Following a scrappy start on a difficult pitch, Josh Koroma worked the first opening for Orient when he brought down Kane Adams’ ball forward and curled an effort over the bar having cut onto his right foot.
The O’s suffered a brief scare from a set-piece moments later but Daggers midfielder Daniel Afolabi could only fire over from six yards out.
With just less than 20 minutes on the clock Victor Adeboyejo came within an inch of firing the Orient ahead when his curling effort came crashing back off the crossbar. Sam Alderson raced onto the rebound but was only able to head over.
Orient were looking dangerous down the left and created another chance when Adams again burst forward from defence. The full-back managed to play the ball into the feet of Shola Oladipo who smartly flicked the ball on for Montel Agyemang who fired straight at Tyler McCarthey in the Daggers goal.
Unable to make the most of the early pressure Orient fell behind on the 24th minute when Jodi Jones cut in from the left and took aim from outside the box. The shot wasn’t particularly threating until a deflection off teammate Ayo Olukoga took the ball beyond Orient ‘keeper Sam Sargeant and bounced in off the post.
Despite having fallen behind against the run of play Orient quickly regained their momentum and won a penalty four minutes later. Captain Freddy Moncur cleverly touched the ball over the head of Paul Symes to enter the box but as he went to shoot was pulled to the ground by the defender. Moncur dusted himself down to take the resulting kick and sent the keeper the wrong way.
Moncur then came close to grabbing a second ten minutes before the break but the midfielder could only glance his header wide of the post having been picked out by Oladipo’s cross.
The O’s continued to control the tie and Adeboyejo came close twice at the end of the half. The striker first forced McCarthey to tip a shot behind for a corner and soon after knocked the ball round the keeper only to see his back-heel attempt cleared away by Lewis Clark.
Following the interval Orient worked their first opening of the second half just short of the hour mark when Alderson fired a shot wide of the Daggers goal.
Alderson’s effort was to be the catalyst of an eventful ten minutes as Koroma then fired a left footed strike narrowly wide soon after.
The hosts looked most threatening when Jones had the ball and the winger replied with a shot of his own but Sargeant comfortably saved the effort.
As the teams continued to exchange chances Alderson dragged a shot wide before Agyemang saw his close range effort from a Moncur corner somehow be pushed away by McCarthey.
By this point the tie was swinging in the O’s favour and they took a deserved lead on the 69th minute.
Moncur and Koroma combined well before the former floated a teasing ball towards Adeboyejo unmarked six yards out. The striker met the cross with a powerful header that was tipped onto the bar but Koroma was well positioned to pounce on the rebound and tuck away his first goal of the season.
There was to be little time for celebration however as no more than 60 seconds after the restart the Daggers were awarded a controversial penalty. Orient’s Michael Clark appeared to cleanly win the ball on the slide but the referee adjudged the defender to have fouled Daggers substitute Jordy Mongoy.
Following a slight delay Mongoy stepped up to take the kick but Sargeant kept his focus in the Orient goal to outwit his opponent and parry away the penalty before bravely chucking himself in front of the rebound.
Orient will feel justice was probably served with Sargeant making the save and with 15 minutes remaining Christian Owusu and Charley Barker came on for Alderson and Koroma.
The pair took up positions on either side of midfield and Barker was nearly gifted an opportunity to extend the O’s lead when McCarthey failed to hold onto Oladipo’s cross but the Daggers defence managed to scramble the ball away.
The hosts went in search of an equaliser as the game entered added time but failed to find a way through as first Clark bravely blocked a Jones shot before Mongoy fired a shot over the bar to hand Orient another three points.
DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE: Tyler McCarthey, Jimmy Shepherd, Jimmy Nottage, Daniel Afolabi, Paul Symes (Callum Lee 61), Lewis Clark (C), Alfie Moulder (Jordy Mongoy 61), Darren Foxley, Ayo Olelola, Jodi Jones, Ayo Olukoga
SUBS: Joe Carter
GOALS: Jodi Jones (24)
ORIENT: Sam Sargeant, Myles Judd, Michael Clark, Jack Humphrey, Kane Adams, Montel Agyemang, Freddy Moncur (C), Sam Alderson (Charley Barker 75), Shola Oladipo, Josh Koroma (Christian Owusu 75), Victor Adeboyejo
SUBS: Sam Roach, Tristan Abrahams, Dan Happe
GOALS: Moncur (28 pen), Koroma (69)