A hard-grafted win for Leyton Orient U18’s saw them stretch their winning streak to five games as Josh Koroma bagged the only goal of the game.
Under-16 goalkeeper Arthur Janata was once again in goal with both regular number one Sam Sargeant and Sam Roach sidelined through injury. But any signs of pre-match nerves were quickly quelled as Janata was confident early on, claiming crosses and long balls with ease.
The first few efforts fell to Orient. A wonderful counter from a Gillingham corner led to a fine shot from Owusu who tried to beat the keeper at his near post, then Rian McLean accidently stopped Barker from finding the back of the net with a block.
McLean nearly then redeemed himself by playing a fabulous one two with Owusu who hit the post. The game was being controlled by Orient who were just lacking the final product. Judd then went close with a side foot shot just before Gillingham had their first chance of the game when they hit the bar.
The deadlock was broken when Koroma weaved his way through defenders before finishing the rebound from his original shot. Just before the half ended Owusu had two more chances to cement a controlled first half but both were well saved.
All the hard work though was nearly undone early in the second half as Gillingham hit the bar, and then the O’s just managed to clear their lines from a corner.
Tristan Abrahams and Henry Ochieng were brought on to add more pace in the middle replacing Owusu and Barker. Abrahams was instantly dangerous as he found space down the wings, while Ochieng laid down the gauntlet with some crunching tackles in midfield.
In the dying minutes both teams cracked the bar and post before Sam Alderson stroked a free-kick over the bar, however, the O's picked up another solid win ahead of their visit to Luton Town on Friday.
On the win, Academy Director Andy Edwards said: “We’ve been playing well, the players have been working hard, taking on board the information they’ve been given. Full credit must go to the lads because fundamentally they’ve been working hard and the organisation has been great. We were very good in the first half, but maybe rode our luck in the second half.
“We hope that Michael Clark and Sam Sargeant should be training with us next week, so we hope they should be available next game. It will be interesting to see how far we’ve come since we last played Luton, and we hope to play with a lot more positivity and can get a result.”
ORIENT: Arthur Janata, Myles Judd, Dan Happe, Aron Pollock, Sam Telling, Charley Barker (Henry Ochieng 65), Sam Alderson, Steven Alzate (Pat Adamson 81), Rian McLean, Josh Koroma, Christian Owusu (Tristan Abrahams 65).