Leyton Orient secured safe passage in the London Senior Cup as a youthful side earned a hard-fought victory over Tower Hamlets at the Mile End Stadium.
Seven players who have featured in the U18’s this campaign were named in the Starting XI and they almost made the perfect start as Ruel Sotiriou picked up on a loose pass by a home defender after just 16 seconds, the Cyprus U21 international side-footing his effort straight at the ‘keeper.
The pace and tenacity of the front-three were causing the home side problems, Lawrence Hammond beating two men on the left-wing before cutting back to Antony Papadopoulos at the edge of the box, his drilled effort crashing off the cross-bar.
Moments later, Ruel Sotiriou raced away from his marker and forced a good one-handed save from the home stopper, Jordan Adeyemi really should have scored from the rebound.
The O’s made their early dominance pay in the 15th minute, Ruel Sotiriou gratefully intercepting a loose pass and smashing home from 18-yards.
Tower Hamlets had their first shot in anger in the 35th minute, a midfielder taking aim from 35 yards but Sargeant watched it bounce wide.
Their second effort was a lot closer, picking up the ball on the edge of the box and rifling just wide of the target.
The O’s, led by Danny Webb, continued their dominance after the break, Papadopoulos skirting the box and sending in a delicious cross which hit a defender and bounced narrowly wide of the post.
Jayden Sweeney worked his way through a crowd of players on the left flank, poking to Sotiriou who lined up an effort from 25 yards which skidded into the keeper’s arms.
Sotiriou continued to pick up the ball on the edge of the box, hitting another from distance in the 62nd minute which deflected not far wide. The forward argued that the ball had been blocked by an arm and received the game’s first yellow card for his protests.
Lawrence Hammond, who netted a hat-trick for the U18’s against Cambridge United last week, picked up the ball in the defensive half, racing the length of the pitch into the home box and forcing a good save from his driven effort.
Tower Hamlets had their first chance of the second half in the 78th minute when a decent corner was met at the back post but the header dropped comfortably wide.
The home side continued to pose a threat as they chased an equaliser, a midfielder being fed nicely in the box but he sliced his effort wide of the near post from an acute angle.
It was a serious test of character for the young side as they were required to see out a narrow lead but that they achieved as the referee finally blew for full-time, and confirmed further involvement in the London Senior Cup this season.
LEYTON ORIENT: Sam Sargeant, Myles Judd, Jayden Sweeney, Bradley McClenaghan, Shadrach Ogie, Tristan Francois-Vernal, Jordan Adeyemi, Hector Kyprianou (Sivi 63’), Lawrence Hammond, Ruel Sotiriou, Antony Papadopoulos.
SUBS: Arthur Janata, Wynford Marfo, Brian Ifeanyi, Alex Solomon
GOALS: Sotiriou (15’)
BOOKINGS: Sotiriou (62’)