A youthful Leyton Orient reserves side suffered a 4-1 defeat at home to Cambridge in their latest Final Third Development League fixture.
Despite having taken the lead through Luke Edgar’s own goal, Orient went into the break behind following a Charlie Grainger own goal and a James Akintunde strike. The O’s then conceded two quick-fire goals early in the second half as Tom Meechan added a third before Bobby-Joe Taylor completed the scoring from the penalty spot.
Following a quiet opening 10 minutes in which both sides adjusted to windy conditions, Orient sparked into life and a flowing passing move resulted in Scott Kashket’s drilled ball across goal dropping out to Harry Lee who saw his shot blocked behind for a corner.
Moments later Orient then took the lead following a well-worked short corner routine involving Lee. Having played the ball short to Kashket, the O’s skipper then received the ball back and delivered a teasing cross towards the back post that was turned into his own net by Edgar.
The same corner routine was to prove costly for the O’s three minutes later however as Cambridge intercepted possession and countered in numbers. Charlie Grainger produced an initial fine stop to deny Ayrton Bevins, but could do nothing as defender Myles Judd deflected Tom Meechan’s follow up on to the post before the ball ricocheted off the goalkeeper’s knee and rolled over the line.
Meechan then looked to have fired the U’s ahead midway through the half as he shrugged off Michael Clark to race through one-on-one with Grainger, but despite firing beyond the O’s stopper his shot cannoned back off the post.
Soon after Nick Brown showed great improvisation to produce a speculative effort from the corner of the penalty area but the midfielder was denied a superb goal as Will Norris managed to get his fingertips on the shot and push it wide for a corner.
Cambridge were looking increasingly dangerous on the counter attack and with just over ten minutes of the first half remaining they took the lead. Following another Orient corner the visitors broke quickly before Bevins rolled the ball across for James Akintunde to slide home from 12-yards.
Having fallen behind, the O’s then ended the half strongly but Montel Agyemang and Lee both fired shots wide as they went into the break a goal down.
Following a slow start to the second half defender Andis Nikolaou prevented the O’s from falling even further behind on the 48th minute with a last-ditch challenge to turn Bobby-Joe Taylor’s cross behind as Meechan stood unmarked at the back post.
The U’s striker was not to be denied for much longer however as Cambridge again reaped the benefits of a fast-paced counter attack. After getting in behind the O’s defence, Akintunde squared the ball for Taylor whose shot crashed back off the post only to fall kindly for Meechan to apply a simple finish into an empty net.
The visitors then added a fourth just shy of the hour mark when Judd was penalised for bringing down Meechan inside the box and Taylor stepped up to emphatically fire the spot-kick beyond Grainger.
Left with an uphill struggle, Orient continued to try and find a way back into the tie but Lee squandered a wonderful opening on the 67th minute when he fired straight at Norris after connecting with Kashket’s cut back.
Kashket was looking the most likely to pull a goal back for the O’s and with just 10 minutes remaining the forward produced some fine footwork to wriggle into the penalty area but could only lift his shot beyond the far post.
As the match entered the final minutes Kashket and Freddy Moncur both saw chances go begging in a bid to salvage a consolation as the O’s fell to defeat.
ORIENT: Grainger, Judd, Clark, Nikolaou, Adams, Agyemang, Moncur, Lee (C), Brown, Kashket, Oladipo
SUBS: Card, Happe, Alderson, Owusu, Koroma
GOALS: Edgar OG (15)
CAMBRIDGE: Norris (C), Edgar, Joynes, Fenwick (Eames 46), Burns, Sendles-White (Vassell 46), Bevins, Horne (Lentell 69), Meechan, Akintunde, Taylor
GOALS: Grainger OG (18), Akintunde (34), Meechan (52), Taylor (58 pen)