The Young O’s beat Cambridge United 3-1 at The Breyer Group Stadium, with Lawrence Hammond bagging a hat-trick.
The U’s were the first to go close, screwing a golden opportunity. Six minutes into the tie, a free-kick was floated towards the back stick, but the resulting effort was headed a yard wide.
Jeremie Sivi and Lawrence Hammond both got into good positions behind the United defence on separate occasions, but the final ball lacked quality as The O’s were yet to implement their presence in the final third.
20 minutes into the game the visitors hit the crossbar from another set-piece. A ball that looked to be an over hit cross, curled towards goal and smacked the top of the bar.
Five minutes later Orient created a chance of their own. Beautiful build up play including Antony Papadopoulos and Lawrence Hammond ended with Finlay Lovett poking wide from seven yards, after Hammond pulled the ball back to him.
Cambridge continued to threaten from set-pieces and Rhys Byrne was forced into his first real save. A low corner to the edge of the area was collected and driven through a crowd of bodies, but Byrne made a comfortable save.
On the half-hour mark Jayden Sweeney found himself in the ref’s book, picking up a yellow card for a late challenge on his marker.
Orient’s Hammond gave his side the lead 38 minutes into the first-half. A superb pass from Papadopoulos split the defence in half, as well as dragging the ‘keeper to the edge of the area, but Hammond beat him to it.
The number 9 knocked the ball around the on rushing shot-stopper, before sliding the ball into an empty net.
The lead lasted all but three minutes. An instant response from the visitors as their forward volleyed into the bottom corner from ten yards.
It was an entertaining first-half with the scores 1-1 at the break.
The second-half begun with the tie all to play for, as the O’s attacked the Q2W Tommy Johnston Stand.
Alex Solomon displayed why Cyprus have called on him for U17 duty, making two vital interceptions in his own box, before playing his part in The O’s second goal a few minutes later.
Solomon’s searching ball was flicked on by Papadopoulos to Hammond, who beat the off-side trap, and poked the ball beyond the goalkeeper after 54 minutes.
With Orient ahead once more, Cambridge went close to another instant response. A ball to the edge of the area was hit first-time and floated narrowly wide of the post, with Byrne rooted to the spot.
As the game entered the final 20 minutes, Jeremie Sivi went close to extending the home lead but his effort flew wide after a good individual run.
A superb piece of defending was all that denied Cambridge soon after. Solomon’s last ditch block on the line denied the striker a goal, who had beat Byrne with his low effort.
Sivi tried his luck again and this time forced the opposition into a save, as both teams hunted the next goal.
Rhys Byrne made a vital stop five minutes from time, flicking the ball behind for a corner after a white shirt tried his luck from the edge of the area.
Orient finished the game the stronger side and Hammond sealed his hat-trick in stoppage time, firing in off the post as the ball broke kindly to the forward on the edge of the area.
UP NEXT: Luton Town (A) SEP 28TH
ORIENT: Rhys Byrne, Wynford Marfo, Jayden Sweeney, Ahmed Mirza (Kevin Frempong 68’’), Alex Solomon, Tristan Francois-Vernal, Bradley McClenaghan, Anthony Papadopoulos (Brian Ifeanyi 75’’), Lawrence Hammond, Finley Lovett (Deago Dunbar-Bonnie 63’’), Jeremie Sivi (Jayden Young 82’’)
SUBS: Sean Campbell
GOALS: Hammond 38’’ 54’’ 90’’
BOOKED: Sweeney 30’’