The game provided valuable minutes for players on the fringe of the first team and handed academy players with the opportunity to feature alongside senior professionals.
Dean Brill took charge from the dugout and named a side with plenty of familiar names, including starts for Sam Sargeant, Myles Judd and Joe Widdowson. Louis Dennis made his long-awaited return from injury and featured for little over an hour of the game.
The first half was a tight affair with both teams well drilled and defensively strong. Chances were hard to come by, with neither ‘keeper put to the test.
Brendon Shabani came closest to scoring in the first half, but his fierce effort whistled an inch over the bar.
Louis Dennis marked his return with a goal just before the hour mark. The summer signing controlled the ball well, before taking on a couple of opposition defenders and tucking the ball into the corner.
The O’s delight would soon be turned into frustration as the hosts turned the game on its head very quickly.
Cambridge equalised just four minutes later from a dead ball situation. A free kick was well struck by a man in yellow and the curling effort wrapped around the wall and found the back of the net.
Dennis was replaced by Finley Lovatt on the 67th minute, with Brill cautious not to overwork the attacker, who has recently struggled with knee and hip injuries.
The U’s wasted no time scoring again and found themselves ahead after 72 minutes. United won possession deep in Orient’s half, played some quick passes in-and-around the area, before the number 9 placed the ball home.
Immediately after the goal, a double substitution saw a shift in the middle of the park, as Anthony Papadopoulos and Matt Young replaced Shabani and Trialist A
Orient were unable to salvage a draw in the closing 18 minutes, however, a competitive game of football will have been beneficial to those involved.
ORIENT XI: Sargeant, Judd, Widdowson, Francois-Vernal, Sweeney, Kyprianou, Shabani, Trialist A, Dennis, Ifeanyi, Dunbar-Bonnie
Goal: Dennis 56″
Subs Used: Lovatt (Dennis) 67”, Papadopoulos (Shabani) 73”, Young (Trialist) 73”
Subs Unused: Solomon, Marfo