The Orient under-18s suffered a blow ahead of their FA Youth Cup tie, as they lost 5-2 to Stevenage in their latest EFL Youth Alliance match.
In what can easily be described as torrential conditions, the O’s suffered a heart-breaking defeat on a wet and windy afternoon at the Whitbread Playing Fields to an organised and clinical Stevenage side.
Despite the Orient youngsters being 3-1 down at the interval, Alex Lawless and Brian Saah’s side managed to pull one back just past the hour mark which brought some hope to the side.
Nevertheless, in the later stages of the second half, the young Boro continued in a similar attacking vein to that of their first-half performance.
It only took nine minutes for this EFL Youth Alliance tie to spring into life, as Stevenage drew first blood. An accurate cross-field pass fell to the unmarked Stevenage winger Yasin Arai, who took a touch closer to goal before dispatching his effort past the Orient goalkeeper.
With Stevenage in the driving seat, it wasn’t long before they doubled their lead through Jake Bunyan. The Boro’s number 7 received the ball in space on the edge of the area and tried his luck from distance, with his long-range effort beating Jayden St Paul – who was Orient’s man between the sticks.
Finlay Lovatt, who recently returned from his ankle injury, managed to pull one back for the O’s in the 24th minute. The 18-year-old rounded the goalkeeper and converted Orient’s first to provide the O’s with a fighting chance.
Prior to the half-time whistle, Stevenage found their third. After multiple waves of Boro attacks, the O’s conceded again as a ball into the box from a Stevenage winger was unfortunately turned in by an Orient defender.
Coming out for the second half, and with a point to prove, the O’s started brightly and even found their second of the morning just past the hour mark. Following a corner, the ball bobbles amongst Stevenage defenders and Orient attackers, with it later being instinctively stabbed home by Said Nello.
However, this glimmer of hope lasted just ten minutes, as Stevenage found their fourth. An attacker from the away side made a driving run down the left-hand flank and later laid the ball to a striker that was just shy of the penalty area, who converted into the roof of the net.
Stevenage completed their ruthless rout, with an impeccable finish in the 89th minute. Following an impressive solo run by Archie Tamplin, the young winger converted via the underside of the crossbar and guaranteed a 5-2 victory for Stevenage.
Despite the side being filled with predominantly first-year scholars, the Orient under-18s will look to dust themselves ahead of their FA Youth Cup fixture on Monday night – which is being streamed live on the club’s YouTube channel.
Leyton Orient Starting XI: St Paul, Palmer, Sodje, Ojo, Marfo, Nello, Nkrumah, Clements, Smith, Lovatt, Davies
Substitutes: Dunbar-Bonnie, Reggie Pegrum, Charlie Pegrum, Hunt