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Ruel Sotiriou found the back of the net on his Football League debut as the O’s fell to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of a clinical Colchester United team.

Ross Embleton made just one change to the eleven that beat Cambridge 3-2 last week. James Dayton replaced the suspended Myles Judd as George Marsh covered at right back.

The visitors started the match at a frantic pace as they looked to implement their presence.  Just two minutes in, Sam Sargeant had to be alert to deny Callum Harriott, who looked to squeeze the ball in at the near post.

Orient remained composed and weathered the early storm and began to get a foothold in the game. Seven minutes on the clock; Dayton flashed a volley wide after misconnecting with his left foot following some good work from James Brophy.

After the quarter-hour mark, Maguire-Drew looked to recreate last week’s free kick against Cambridge, but his curling shot whipped the wrong side of the goal frame.

Confidence filled the O’s who really took charge midway into the first period but were yet to test U’s ‘keeper Dean Gerken.

Callum Harriott was the first player to be booked by Referee Nicholas Kinseley for a late challenge on make-shift right back Marsh.

Colchester went close with a couple of headers, the first of which was cleared off the line by Marsh, after Captain Harry Pell nodded goal bound and the second from Theo Robinson drifted a yard wide.

The U’s enjoyed a second strong spell in the game as the half time interval approached. Theo Robinson turned in the area and pulled the trigger, but Jamie Turley took the sting out of the strike and Sargeant collected.

Robinson wouldn’t miss his next chance though as Colchester took the lead right before the break. The United man tapped into an empty net after good work from Ryan Jackson.

The visitors came out of the blocks a tad quicker than the O’s. Kwame Poku rattled the post from a near impossible angle after charging down the right channel and into the box.

Luke Gambin was denied by a spectacular point blank block by Sargeant, after a loose clearance from Marvin Ekpiteta fell kindly for the man in white in the penalty box.

The O’s switched to 4-4-2 following the introduction of Matt Harrold, who had replaced James Dayton.

Immediately after the tactical change, Pell doubled the advantage for John McGreal’s side. A deflected shot had been well saved by Sargeant, who changed direction to palm away the ball, but it fell kindly for Pell who tapped home in the goal mouth.

Lee Angol looked to spur an Orient comeback with a fierce free kick from 20-yards, but his fizzing set piece was deflected just a whisker wide.

Ruel Sotiriou was introduced for his Football League debut with 18 minutes of the game left to play but it would be his fellow forward Matt Harrold who would be next to go close for Orient. The latter flicked a header wide of the post after meeting Marsh’s cross and would later fire over the bar after latching onto Maguire-Drew’s corner.

Orient’s number ten was next to blaze over the bar. Gerken flapped at a teasing Clay cross, ultimately failing to collect, but Maguire-Drew couldn’t capitalise and fired over after being rushed by multiple defenders.

Sotiriou marked his debut with a goal; the Cypriot tapped into an empty net with four minutes remaining, setting up an electric finish. Harrold had flicked to Maguire-Drew who forced Gerken into a save, but the U’s goalkeeper palmed into the path of Sotiriou who scored 14 minutes into his League Two debut.

All hope was sucked out of the clash in stoppage time,  when Robinson capitalised on a rare break forward and placed the ball into the bottom right corner, bagging himself a brace and confirming the points for his team.

NEXT UP: Newport County (A) Dec 29th 

 ORIENT:  Sargeant, Marsh, Ekpiteta, Turley, Happe (Soritiou 72”), Clay, Wright, Dayton (Harrold 60”), Maguire-Drew, Angol, Brophy

SUBS: Janata, Gorman, Coulson, Ogie, Kyprianou

BOOKED: Clay  28″ Wright 39”  Maguire-Drew 61”

GOALS: Sotiriou 86”


COLCHESTER: Gerken, Jackson, Bramall, Sowunmi, Pell, Robinson, Harriott (Senior 84”), Eastman, Stevenson, Gambin (Lapslie 78”), Poku (Nouble 72”)

SUBS: Ross, Norris, Comley, Kensdale,

BOOKED: Harriott 21” Sowunmi 67”

GOALS: Robinson 41” 90” Pell 64”


REF: Nicholas Kinseley

ATT: 5,648 (790 away)