Leyton Orient U18’s tasted defeat for the first time this season as they fell 3-1 at Southend United.
Despite creating a number of chances, Andy Edwards’ side found themselves 3-0 down before Christian Owusu maintained his bright start to the season with a consolation penalty late on.
Orient had secured wins in both of their opening league fixtures but with the game barely five minutes old it was Southend who edged in front.
Aron Pollock played a simple back pass to newly starting goalkeeper Sam Roach, but the O’s stopper ultimately took too many touches and was closed down by Southend striker Norman Wabo who then applied a simple finish.
Victor Adeboyejo and Christian Owusu then tried to get Orient back into the game but were only able to get away half chances and messy shots before Owusu saw an attack thwarted when he ran one too close to the Southend goalkeeper Josh Bexon who gathered well.
Orient ramped up the pressure but again was struggling to make the ‘keeper work, with three straight set pieces aimed at the head of Myles Judd, but he couldn’t convert – sending all three high and wide. Steven Alzate then broke through a high Southend defensive line but a cracking last-ditch tackle stopped him pulling the trigger.
A controversial moment then followed as Owusu broke free just outside the box, weaving his way past defenders onto the edge of the six-yard box before being brought down, in what looked like a clear penalty.
Heading into the second half Academy Director Andy Edwards decided to make an attacking change with Josh Koroma replacing Charley Barker, followed by Rian McLean replacing Adeboyejo four minutes later. But yet Orient still couldn’t find a way through with Judd heading wide again.
It was then 2-0 though soon after as a long goal kick was flicked over the top of the O’s defence and Renei Batlokwa took advantage by sliding a simple ball across the box for Harry Phillips to convert.
Tristan Abraham then came on as a last throw of the dice replacing Steven Alzate who went off with a rolled ankle. But it was to be in vain as Roach misjudged a cross and Abdul Salami was on hand to head into an empty net.
Despite being behind the O’s refused to give up and with 13 minutes remaining they managed to pull a goal back.
Some fantastic dribbling from Owusu led to a Southend defender handling inside the penalty area, and the forward then stepped up to coolly slot home his fifth goal in three matches.
It was to prove too little too late for the O’s who suffered their first loss of the season and now prepare for the visit of Barnet on Saturday.
ORIENT: Sam Roach, Myles Judd, Aron Pollock, Michael Clark (C), Dan Happe, Harlain Mbayo, Charley Barker (Josh Koroma 56), Sam Alderson, Steven Alzate (Tristan Abraham 72), Christian Owusu, Victor Adeboyejo (Rian McLean 60)
SUBS: Pat Adamson, Henry Ochieng
GOALS: Owusu (77 pen)