Leyton Orient U18s were held to a 1-1 draw by AFC Bournemouth but still maintained a four-point gap to their closest rivals for the Merit League 1 titleLeyton Orient lost their 100 per cent winning streak, but maintained their undefeated start to the league, and with three games to go look in prime position to win the Merit League 1.
Fielding an unchanged line up from last weekend’s win against Southend, the young O’s found themselves behind within the first 10 minutes, breaking the clean sheet run. A floated cross was headed home by Sam Sturridge past the outreached hand of Sam Roach, who was fingertips away from making a great save.
Orient didn’t let their heads drop though and started to ramp up the pressure on the Cherries goal. Sam Dalby glanced a great cross towards goal but Bournemouth keeper Mitch produced a stunning leaping save.
Just minutes later though Sam Alderson delivered a marvellous free kick which captain Michael Clark headed home for the equaliser for his first goal for the team.
Orient were probing but things wouldn’t fall their way, at least twice the ball was pin balling around in the box but nobody could get the decisive final touch. The best chance in the rest of the half fell to Alderson who robbed the left back and tried a lovely chip but it just didn’t have enough elevation to beat Stedman.
A returning Sam Sargeant replaced Sam Roach in goal at the half time interval, and in the opening 15 minutes of the second period Alderson volleyed over on a couple of occasions, before Josh Koroma saw a low effort easily held.
Up the other end, Sam Telling saved a certain goal with a great last-ditch block, while Alderson again had a good chance but his header failed to find the back of the net. Three straight corners then followed but on all three occasions the O’s were denied by good saves from Stedman, who then continued to frustrate Orient with two further good saves – First from an Alderson free kick, then a curling effort from Koroma.
Sam Dalby had the best chance late on lashing the ball straight across goal but was inches wide.
Coach Danny Webb thought the game could of gone either way, saying: “The second half was a much improved performance and I think we were unlucky not to nick it, but it was a very even game, and we’ll look to work on our finishing in training ahead of the game next week."
ORIENT: Sam Roach (Sam Sargeant 45) , Sam Telling, Dan Happe, Michael Clark, Rian McLean, Charley Barker, Henry Ochieng, Sam Alderson, Josh Koroma, Tristan Abrahams (Ruel Sotiriou), Sam Dalby.
SUBS: Teddy Perkins, Pat Adamson
GOAL: Michael Clark