Dan Happe’s stoppage time strike claimed a Leyton Orient XI a well-deserved 3-3 draw at Royston Town.
Victor Adeboyejo gave the O’s an early lead with an 11th minute volley, though the hosts equalised with a penalty ten minutes before half time. Orient did not have to wait long to restore their advantage however as three minutes later Alan Dunne powered a left-footed strike into the top corner.
The Crows were to turn the tie on its head however as 72nd and 84th minute strikes edged them in front, before substitute Happe slid in with seconds left to claim a draw.
For the trip to Garden Walk Orient included several first team players such as Paul McCallum and Alan Dunne, as well as naming two trialists to play alongside a number of youth team scholars.
Following a tense opening period it was the O’s who managed the breakthrough on the 11th minute, when a pinpoint delivery from summer signing Josh Doherty was volleyed home by Victor Adeboyejo.
Despite being one goal to the good the visitors were forced into a change just after the half hour mark as striker and, captain for the night, Paul McCallum limped off to be replaced by Tristan Abrahams.
Adeboyejo then had the ball in the back of the net for a second time a minute after the substitution, though his effort was ruled out for offside.
Sam Sargeant had found himself relatively untroubled between the sticks throughout the first half, but with ten minutes to go until the break could do nothing as Royston levelled with a powerful strike from the penalty spot.
The match was to remain level for only three minutes however, as defender Alan Dunne restored Orient’s advantage with an emphatic left-footed strike which sailed into the top corner after racing onto Josh Koroma’s pull-back.
Dunne’s effort was to prove the final piece of action during the first half, and following the interval Orient made one change as Charlie Grainger replaced Sargeant in goal.
Within a minute of the restart it could have been 3-1 as centre half Michael Clark showed a striker’s instinct to bring the ball down on the edge of the area before seeing his rasping left-footed drive crash back off the woodwork.
Koroma had proved to be a real handful for the Royston defence all evening, though the lively winger was to endure a similar outcome to Clark twice within the space of a few minutes as he first saw a powerful shot touched onto the crossbar before his free-kick crashed back off the post.
Koroma along with goalscorers Dunne and Adeboyejo were then replaced by Dan Happe, Sam Alderson and Sam Dalby for the final third of the game.
The O’s had dominated much of the second half proceedings but with 18 minutes remaining were pegged back for a second time as a 25-yard free-kick found its way into the top corner despite Grainger managing to get a hand to the effort.
As the match entered the final minutes the O’s were dealt a killer blow as Royston grabbed an 84th minute lead with a close-range finish from a corner.
It looked as though Orient would have to settle for a harsh defeat, but with seconds remaining deservedly levelled the tie as substitutes Dalby and Happe combined with the latter sliding home at the back post, in what to proved to be the last action of a thrilling encounter.
ORIENT XI: Sargeant (Grainger HT), Dunne (Happe 62), Trialist A, Clark, Doherty (Koroma 80), Koroma (Alderson 62), Ochieng, Trialist B, Alzate, Adeboyejo (Dalby 62), McCallum (C) (Abrahams 32)
GOALS: Adeboyejo (11), Dunne (38), Happe (90)