Dan Happe headed us in to a seventh minute lead before Dale Gorman fired us to the win with only a couple minutes of injury time left on the clock.
Ross Embleton made a number of changes for the opening leasing.com trophy game on Tuesday night, midfielder George Marsh was handed his first start since singing from Spurs, While Shadrach Ogie, James Alabi, Matt Harrold, Dale Gorman, Myles Judd and Sam Sargeant all made their first starts of the season.
We got the game underway and found the opener just seven minutes later through defender Dan Happe. The youngster stood tall at the back post to nod home from Jordan Maguire-Drew’s sweet left-footed cross in front of the Qualiteach Community Stand.
The O’s didn’t let up and almost found a second immediately after the restart. Alabi ran on to a forward pass, beat the ‘keeper and headed towards an open goal. Unfortunately the Southend defender sprinted back to reach the ball first, but bizarrely smashed the clearance against his own post in an attempt to clear the danger.
Southend’s first clear chance of the game came shortly after the half hour mark, Elvis Bwomono’s searching cross found the head of Emile Acquah as the forward got up highest, luckily his attempt didn’t trouble Sargeant.
Sargeant was rooted to the spot for their next chance however, Isaac Hutchinson raced through the O’s midfield and looked to pick out the corner of the net but the ball whistled wide of the target.
Following his chance, Hutchinson found himself dismissed after a moment of madness. It was the stroke of half time and the man in yellow was awarded a straight red card, referee Christopher Pollard showed it for a reaction to Dale Gorman’s initial foul. Orient’s number four was booked by the referee for the earlier challenge.
Ross made one change change at the break, Sam Ling was introduced to the defence in place of Myles Judd.
Dale Gormans’s wide free-kick found the free head of Matt Harrold in the box, the forward nodded towards goal but watched the ball agonisingly rebound off the post. Alabi was close to the follow-up but couldn’t quite make it in time, Orient remained a goal up.
Half hour remained on the clock when Jordan Maguire-Drew charged forward and with 20-yards to goal, he let fly but missed the target by some margin leaving leaving Mark Oxley untroubled.
Seven minutes later, Maguire-Drew this time forced Oxley in to a very good save. James Alabi squared for his teammate in the centre of the net, took a touch and fired at goal, only to be denied by Oxley’s good save to his right.
It seemed the goalkeepers were having a busy few minutes as this time the Orient stopper was called in to action. Sargeant produced an amazing save to deny Brandon Goodship who beat the offside trap and had time to attempt to place the ball in the corner of the net from 15 yards.
The visitors had a golden chance to level the scores as the end approached, Sargeant wasn’t needed this time as Simon Cox missed the target from 3-yards at the back post following Bwomono’s deep cross.
The game was wrapped up in the last minute of the game, James Alabi found Dale Gorman in space on the edge of the box and the midfielder picked out the top corner with his first touch.
Gorman’s strike proved to be the final kick of the game as the O’s claimed the win.
ORIENT: Sargeant, Gorman, Ekpiteta, Maguire-Drew (Clay 83), Judd (Ling 46), Happe, Dennis (Angol 66, Harrold, Marsh, Ogie, Alabi
SUBS: Janata, Wilkinson, Shabani, Sweeney
BOOKED: Gorman (45)
GOALS: Happe (7), Gorman (90)
SOUTHEND: Oxley, Bwomono, Kiernan, Hamilton, Ndukwu (Goodship 46), Mantom (C), Shaughnessy, Lennon, Acquah (62), Hutchinson, Blackman
SUBS: Bishop, Hyam, Humphrys, Taylor, Clifford
BOOKED: Cox (70)
SENT OFF: Hutchinson (45)
REFEREE: Christopher Pollard
ATTENDANCE: 1,562 (308)