The O’s U18’s were defeated 0-1 at home to Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday morning in their second Merit League fixture this campaign.
Hector Kyprianou came closest for the O’s 10 minutes from time but was brilliantly denied at the far post, before James Turvey scored the opener and secured three points for the visitors five minutes from time.
Orient fielded a young side including starts for Will Sanders, Wynford Marfo and Lukas Rolfe while Ernold Haxhiu captained the side.
Sam Amedu was called in to action early on when Dagenham & Redbridge broke in to the box on their left side and fired a shot towards goal forcing Amedu to dive low to his right to palm away from danger.
Eric Lopes then struck a 25-yard free-kick towards goal, which forced a low dive to his left from the Daggers ‘keeper who touched the ball around the post and out for a corner.
Dagenham & Redbridge’s striker picked up the ball in the centre of the field and drove forward before he blazed an effort high and wide of the target as the away side began to build some momentum.
Moments later, a floated cross from the right was met by the head of a Dagger’s man but the header lacked power and allowed Amedu to gather with ease.
Smart combination play between Jaedon Phillips and Brendon Shabani saw the latter thread a through ball in to the box for Trialist A to connect with, but the forward was just beaten to the ball by the Daggers ‘keeper who cleared the ball out for a throw in.
Orient had to stand firm in defence once again when a cross from the right was cleared only to a Dagger’s player on the edge of the box whose shot at goal was defected wide for a corner by Wynford Marfo.
On the stroke of half-time, Trialist A fired at goal from distance but the shot wasn’t able to trouble the ‘keeper in the Daggers net.
After the break, both sides started offensively, the Daggers saw a chance wasted when their winger cut on to his right foot to open up space but failed to beat Amedu with the shot that followed.
The O’s began to improve on the ball and create chances worthy of a goal when Lopes saw an effort fly wide of the net after he charged forward from midfield.
Lopes’ corner dropped at the feet of Trialist A who swung an effort at goal but saw the ball blocked by a sea of Dagenham & Redbridge bodies inside the box.
Orient went close again, this time through Will Sanders whose near post glancing header almost caught out the visiting ‘keeper but he managed to scramble across the box to push clear just in time.
As the game opened up the Daggers saw a chance go begging when they countered with their winger one-on-one with Amedu, but the shot that followed failed to test the Orient ‘keeper.
A quick counter attack saw Phillips denied by the Daggers’ ‘keeper from wide right of the box. That happened to be the winger’s last contribution as he was replaced by Lawrence Hammond after the attack.
Hector Kyprianou then had the best chance of the game 10 minutes from time when Lopes’ free-kick was met by the midfielder’s head and was bouncing towards the bottom corner of the net before an excellent save from the Daggers’ ‘keeper denied the chance.
Dagenham & Redbridge took the lead moments later when James Turvey embarked on a counter attack which ended in the midfielder smashing home from a tight angle, just inside the box which saw the visitos snatch the lead right at the death.
After the game, U18’s Coach Pete Gill said: "I was really pleased with the team performance, the attitude and application of the boys. It was a young side with no second-year scholars. There were 4 or 5 U16/15 so I can’t fault the effort against a strong and much older Dagenham & Redbridge team."
"At half time, we felt we could go and on and win, it wasn’t the greatest game in the world and was played in tough conditions. At the break, we asked the boys to be brave and go out and dominate the ball more than they did in the first. The message was positive one, we believed we could go and win."
"It was a tough loss to take, when you get close to securing a point after playing well and having chances to score, to lose so late on in the game is disappointing. I feel for the players more than anyone else, because they deserved more from that game. There were a lot of positives to take from the performance and it’s about taking those positives and developing them for next season."
ORIENT: Sam Amedu, Alfie Fleming, Will Sanders, Hector Kyprianou, Wynford Marfo, Ernold Haxhiu (C), Brendon Shabani, Jaedon Phillips (Lawrence Hammond 75), Eric Lopes, Lukas Rolfe (Antony Papadopoulos 62), Trialist A
SUBS: Kyrolle Palmer