Daniel Nkrumah’s equaliser helped earn the O’s a 1-1 draw in their recent friendly against Queens Park Rangers.
As Brian Saah’s side were without an EFL Youth Alliance fixture, the under-18s used their latest friendly against QPR as an opportunity to experiment with the squad.
Saah fielded different sides in the first and second half, with the majority of the squad gaining some much-needed minutes, as well as providing an opportunity to two trialists.
As the young O’s were coming up against Category Two opposition, it took some time for the under-18s to adapt to the pace of the game. In the first 15 minutes, QPR had three opportunities to convert and were ultimately growing in confidence.
Orient’s best chance of the first 45 fell to Finlay Lovatt, as the O’s striker cut inside and unleashed a powerfully-struck shot but the goalkeeper was equal to it.
Nevertheless, the Hoops eventually broke the deadlock just minutes before the half-time whistle.
QPR mounted a threatening attack on the left-hand side, as the winger cut inside and shot from distance. Hit with speed, the winger’s shot cannoned off the post and, unfortunately, into the direction of Alex Solomon, who turned the ball into the Orient net.
As the half-time whistle echoed across the Leyton Orient training ground, QPR headed into the break with a one-goal lead. However, Orient’s second-half side were keen to reduce the deficit in the final 45.
Within minutes of the restart, Jayden Young and Daniel Nkrumah caused a heap of issues for the QPR defence, who also made wholesale changes.
The O’s came close to a leveller with 55 minutes on the clock, as Young took the ball from his own half and dribbled past multiple Hoops’ defenders, but his shot was comfortably saved. Nevertheless, Orient found their equaliser a minute later.
Following an array of chances, Kevin Frempong managed to dribble his way to the by-line and cut a low-driven cross back to Nkrumah, who converted and levelled the scores.
Following the goal, the O’s continued in a similar attacking vein, as Saah’s side searched for the all-important winner.
Nkrumah, once again in the thick of the action, forced an important save out of the QPR goalkeeper with just minutes to go, but QPR’s youth side managed to hang on for a draw.
FIRST HALF XI: Trialist, Pegrum, Dunbar-Bonnie, Staerck, Solomon, Sodje, Papadopoulos, M. Young, Whyte, Lovatt, Trialist
SECOND HALF XI: Trialist, Palmer, Dunbar-Bonnie, Marfo, Francois-Vernal, Frempong, Ifeanyi, Mirza, J. Young, Nkrumah, Tanga