Ruel Sotiriou’s stoppage-time strike sealed a deserved 3-2 win for the O’s under-18s in their Merit League One fixture against Gillingham last weekend.
Rian McLean and Sotiriou had put the O’s 1-0 and 2-1 up respectively before the Gills hit a late leveller.
However, the youngsters are made of stern stuff and fought back in stoppage time to secure the win which leaves them in eighth spot in the table with one game remaining.
The O’s started the encounter brightly with Sotiriou, McLean and Charley Barker involved in a good move, though the latter couldn’t quite get a shot away.
Dan Happe picked the ball up at the back and drove forward, staving off several challenges before finding himself in the opposing penalty area before firing a shot on the half volley which was just wide of the post.
Despite the dominance from the O’s it was Gillingham who broke the deadlock on the quarter of an hour mark when a corner was headed past Samuel Amedu despite a striker blocking the goalkeeper’s path.
Ernold Haxhiu and Barker produced a lovely eight-pass combination move with the latter able to get a shot away, which was met by a good save by the Gills goalkeeper.
Orient continued to dominate the game in terms of possession and chances and some further good play from Barker, Haxhiu and Sotiriou saw the latter find Barker but he was unable to get a clean contact on the ball.
In the second half the O’s remained in the ascendancy and finally turned their dominance into a goal when Teddy Perkins floated a free-kick into the Gills area for McLean to flick on to Patrick Adamson who returned the pass and McLean was able to slot home first time.
Orient built on that and were able to take the lead with an hour on the clock as Haxhiu played the ball out wide to McLean who played the ball across the face of goal and Sotiriou was in the middle to slot underneath the goalkeeper.
Amedu kept the O’s in front after producing a fine one-handed save to tip an effort behind for a corner But from that set piece the O’s looked to have blown their chance of picking up three points when a header struck the post before Gillingham reacted quickest and prodded home the rebound with two minutes of normal time remaining.
However, the scoring didn’t end there though as Peter Gill’s young O’s kept going until the end and Toby Stevenson’s ball into the box again found that man Sotiriou who was able to slot home his second of the game to seal a deserved late win.
Orient’s under-18s will end their season with a trip to Luton Town on Saturday (11am kick-off).
ORIENT: Samuel Amedu, Hector Kyprianou (Aaron Rowe 70), Toby Stevenson, Ernold Haxhiu (Charles Clayden 85), Dan Happe, Teddy Perkins, Andrew Camilo-Tayaca, Charley Barker, Ruel Sotiriou, Rian McLean, Pat Adamson SUBS: Amin Benyoucef, Mason Hall, Jaedon Phillips.