The young O’s came from behind to secure an important point away at Southend United in a 2-2 draw thanks to a late goal from Ruel Sotiriou.
An early penalty from Sotiriou had put the O’s in front, but the Shrimpers levelled before half time and a second half wonder goal saw Orient fall behind. However, they battled through and with time running out Sotiriou managed to see the O’s earn a point.
It was a quick start from the visitors and Orient had a great chance to break the deadlock. The O’s were awarded a free kick after Henry Ochieng was brought down and a good delivery from the set piece was first met by Rian McLean. He headed the ball back across the box and Sotiriou smashed the follow up against the bar.
Orient were able to build on that and took the lead having had the majority of the play in the opening stages. Under-16 Hector Kypraniou played a great ball forward to McLean whose first touch set him away on goal. The goalkeeper came out and took the O’s man out, and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Sotiriou took the responsibility and smashed it into the back of the net.
The lead was shortlived though as the Shrimpers soon levelled. They worked the ball around the box before Sewa Marah got a shot away which flew past Sam Roach giving the Orient keeper no chance as the sides went in all square at the break.
A wonderful goal in the second half put Southend in front and the shot from Dru Yearwood took the visitors by surprise as the strike from distance rocketed into the back of the net.
As time ran on the O’s changed the formation and went with three up front as they looked to try and hit the home side with a quick break away. McLean won possession after brilliantly shrugging off a defender, giving himself a clear run at goal but his shot was just wide of the post.
But with only minutes remaining in time added on the O’s made one more push for an equaliser. The ball fell to Sotiriou in a crowed box, he got a shot away which looked to be saved comfortably but the keeper miss-controlled the catch and the ball ended up in the back of the net to secure a share of the spoils for the O’s.
ORIENT: Sam Roach, Andrew Camilo-Tayaca, Toby Stevenson, Hector Kypraniou (Ernold Haxhiu 62), Mason Hall, Teddy Perkins, Aaron Rowe (Charles Clayden 75), Henry Ochieng, Ruel Sotiriou, Rian McLean, Pat Adamson.
SUBS: Arthur Janata, Jaden Phillips.
GOALS: Sotiriou (2).