Leyton Orient U18’s finished the season in winning fashion with a comfortable 2-1 win at the Matchroom Stadium as goals from Sam Dalby and Josh Koroma either side of Loic Hernandez’s equaliser meant they ended the season unbeaten.
A frantic opening 15 minutes started promisingly for Orient, and they were rewarded early on, as a driving run by Steven Alzate drew in three defenders, leaving Sam Alderson in acres of space to find Sam Dalby unmarked in the box, and though his initial header was saved, he slotted in the rebound.
But Barnet struck back only three minutes later as a deflected cross found its way to Loic Hernandez at the back post who calmly slotted underneath the onrushing goalkeeper Sam Roach.
The O’s should have been given a penalty moments later as Sam Dalby was taken down in the box with a lunging tackle, but the referee gave a corner although there appeared to be no contact on the ball.
Orient kept pushing and Koroma found himself through on goal chasing a long looping ball over the top but he was well saved and pushed behind for a corner. That corner was put behind for another and from that ball in, skipper Michael Clark connected sweetly but headed inches over.
Both teams continued to play with confidence with neither team seemingly happy with a point.
A pinpoint switch ball by Barnet caught the O’s defence napping but a poor attempt at goal by Dwight Pascal let them off the hook.
With few chances here and there it took a wonderful dribble by Josh Koroma to get the spark going again as he left multiple defenders behind him before trying to slot home at the near post.
Orient again cranked up the pressure and Koroma produced a subline finish on the half volley after lurking outside the box waiting for poor clearance from the corner.
The second half begun with an aggressive Orient looking for a killer third. Clark found himself on the end of another Alderson delivery but headed wide and the young O’s thought they found that, but an outside ruling disallowed Alzate’s simple finish after a well-worked set piece routine.
The chances continued flowing as Alzate and Dalby went close, while Charley Barker and Henry Ochieng controlling the park in the middle.
Back to back efforts by Alderson and Dalby continued the trend as Orient still probed for the finishing goal and Barker then had a half volley just wide as the O’s finished the game strongly.
The final whistle soon followed and the O’s fittingly ended the Merit League season unbeaten, claiming 28 points out of a possible 30 and take the title.
ORIENT: Sam Roach, Rian McLean, Sam Telling, Michael Clark, Aron Pollock, Henry Ochieng, Charley Barker, Steven Alzate, Sam Alderson, Sam Dalby, Josh Koroma.
SUBS: Arthur Janata, Dan Happe, Christian Owusu, Pat Adamson, Tristan Abrahams.
GOALS: Sam Dalby, Josh Koroma