Experienced O's side beaten at Luton
ORIENT fielded a strong side in their Final Third Development League game against Luton at Kenilworth Road.
The line-up was scattered with first team players as Gary Sawyer and Mathieu Baudry lined up in defence, whilst Jack Price on loan from Wolves started in midfield with Shaun Batt on the wing and last season’s top scorer David Mooney making a first start in any form since September after returning from an ankle injury.
Orient almost got off to a flyer when Scott Kashket picked the pocket of Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu inside a minute and had a low shot well saved by Elliot Justham.
The O’s looked the stronger side and dominated the early possession as Batt and skipper Harry Lee both flashed shots wide.
Mooney was next to go close when he collected a Sawyer cross and got a shot away that was charged down before at the other end, Charlie Grainger did well to parry away a Shaun Whalley shot.
It settled into a relatively even affair with both sides looking to play but it was the home side that grabbed the lead with half an hour played. Whalley whipped a corner in from the right and Charlie Walker rose highest to head home.
The O’s almost levelled just before the interval when Mooney set Victor Adeboyejo free but the first year scholar saw his effort well palmed away by Justham but it was the home side who doubled their lead on the stroke of half time.
Ruddock Mpanzu slipped in Walker for his second as he slotted past Grainger though the Orient defence were aggrieved that no flag for offside was given.
Jerome Martelli – who played for the Orient U18s last season and is now on trial for the Hatters – went close with a sliding effort shortly after the restart as the home side looked to put the game to bed.
O’s ‘keeper Grainger was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the early stages and made a stunning save to deny Miller his hat-trick before Mooney went a whisker away from pulling one back with a curling effort from a tight angle.
The O’s looked more dangerous as Mooney exerted more of an influence going forward and his quick free-kick two minutes later saw Baudry head wide.
Mooney and Price departed shortly after with 58 minutes gone as Batt moved into a striker’s role to partner young Adeboyejo.
Orient were indebted to Grainger again with 20 minutes to go when he made a first class double save to deny substitute Ricky Miller as he continued to look sharp from his loan spell at Farnborough.
Whalley was next to go close for the home side when he cut in from the left flank and rattled a wonderful curling effort off of the crossbar as the Hatters looked to switch the play at every opportunity.
It finished 2-0 though despite the scoreline the watching Mauro Milanese would have been pleased to see some of his senior players get valuable minutes on the pitch.
LUTON TOWN: Justham, Williams (Longden 73), Ruddock Mpanzu, Franks, Lacey, Connolly, Rooney, Stevenson, Martelli (Miller 49), Whalley (Maguraushe 78), Walker
SUBS: King, Galliford
Goals: Walker 30, 45
ORIENT: Grainger, Humphrey, Sawyer, Price (Agyemang 58), Nikolaou, Baudry, Kashket, Lee, Adeboyejo (Oladipo 72), Mooney (Moncur 58), Batt
SUBS: Sargent, M Clarke