Several young first-teamers got valuable minutes under their belt, including Jayden Sweeney, who captained the O’s.
Rhys Byrne started in goal for Orient, and the shot-stopper was called into action five minutes in. Byrne spectacularly pushed Kazeem Olaigbe’s close range strike onto the crossbar, after the visitors had worked the ball into the area.
— Leyton Orient (@leytonorientfc) August 18, 2021
The chance was an early wake up call for the home side, and they responded by creating a couple of opportunities themselves. The first of which fell to Matt Young, who received the ball on the edge of the area, before forcing Ollie Wright into his first save.
Southampton’s ‘keeper was up for the next test – diving well to his left to keep out the Trialists’s bending effort.
Chances were few and far between after the opening ten minutes, but the team in yellow did craft an opening on goal after half-an-hour – however, Craig Clay’s vital challenge denied Ramello Mitchell a shot on goal, after the number nine was slotted in behind.
Orient threatened one more time before the break. Young’s ball over the top of the deference found Dan Nkrumah, who raced into the penalty area before rifling a low shot against the post.
HALF-TIME: Leyton Orient 0-0 Southampton U23
The match followed the same pattern in the second-half, but after a couple of Southampton changes, the away side took the lead an hour in.
Rhys Byrne did fantastically to save a powerful Teddy Davey strike at goal, but he could only palm it to the feet of Mitchell, who tapped home the opener.
Southampton brought on goalkeeper Jack Bycroft for the last half-hour and it wasn’t long before he was forced into a stop. A floated cross into the area was met by Zech Obiero, but the lack of pace on the delivery made it difficult to generate enough power to truly test Bycroft with the header.
Jephte Tanga looked to take matters into his own hands with a silky solo run, but the eventual effort was easily saved.
With ten minutes left, the O’s upped the tempo in search of an equaliser, but with men committed to attack, the Saints were able to catch the O’s on the break right at the death. A searching up field pass found a man in yellow, who forced Byrne into another diving stop – but yet again, the ball fizzed to the feet of an attacker, this time Jayden Smith, who tapped home.
FULL-TIME: Leyton Orient 0-2 Southampton U23
ORIENT: Byrne, Clay, Sweeney, Papadopoulos (Clements 72’), Eaton (Apat 59’), Ogie, Tanga, Young, Trialist (Pegrum 76’), Obiero, Nkrumah
BENCH: Campbell, Sodje
SAINTS: Wright (Bycroft 62’), Payne, Carson (Davey 55’), Tizzard, Lancashire, Chauke, Smith, Finnigan, Mitchell, Watts (Rodriguez 55’), Olaigbe
BENCH: Otseh-Taiwo, Tshaka, Smales Braithwaite
GOALS: Mitchell 62’ Smith 90’