The U18s winning streak came to an end on Saturday as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Cambridge United, ending a run of 14 consecutive victories.
Steven Alzate fired home the opening goal on 55 minutes, but the midfielder’s strike was cancelled out by Matthew Foy just minutes later as the U’s became the first team to take points off the Orient youngsters this season.
Having recorded an impressive FA Youth Cup victory in the week, Academy Manager Richard Thomas fielded the same starting XI that won 6-0 at Southend United on Wednesday night.
The O’s had a scare early on as Cambridge won a corner which resulted in a free header inside the box, which looked set for the top corner before goalkeeper Sam Roach reacted brilliantly with a one-handed save to deny the hosts the opener.
Orient had a decent amount of possession in the first half but didn’t manage a shot on target. Sam Dalby had chances in front of goal but his headers went narrowly wide of the post, whilst the forward also had a shot across goal that was begging to be tapped in by a teammate, but the game remained goalless.
With 10 minutes left of the half, Dalby then again went agonisingly close to opening the scoring. A good cross from Toby Stevenson from the left was met by Dalby, who got up well to meet the ball but again his effort was just wide of the post.
It seemed liked the O’s were going to go behind for the time first this season when Roach was beaten by a shot from long distance but fortunately for the O’s the ball clipped the underside of the bar and bounced out.
Following the break Thomas’ side broke the deadlock on the 55th minute through midfielder Steven Alzate.
Josh Koroma was brought down and with the ref playing the advantage, Teddy Perkins’ pass forward found Pat Adamson who laid it off for Alzate to place a shot from the centre of the box beyond the keeper.
Cambridge responded soon after however, as Matthew Foy scored with a free header at the far post which Roach couldn’t keep out despite his best efforts.
The O’s pushed forward in search of a winner, and with 10 minutes remaining came very close to securing all three points.
Dalby and Tristan Abrahams did well to keep possession around the box and after a scramble in the penalty area Abrahams got his shot away, but it was well saved by the goalkeeper and ensured a share of the spoils for both sides.
ORIENT: Sam Roach, Myles Judd, Toby Stevenson, Henry Ochieng (Teddy Perkins 45), Dan Happe (Mason Hall 70), Rian McLean, Josh Koroma (Ruel Sotiriou 61), Steven Alzate (Andrew Tayaca 70), Tristan Abrahams, Sam Dalby, Pat Adamson
SUBS: Arthur Janata