The O’s youngsters drew 0-0 with Stevenage Borough on Saturday morning in a mid-season friendly.
Amin Benyoucef, Eric Lopes and Trialist A came closest for the O’s but neither were able to break the deadlock while a Arthur Janata save and Jayden Sweeny clearance off the line kept the hosts at bay.
The O’s got the game underway in Stevenage but both sides were quiet in the opening encounters, until Luca Carter-Henry broke down the left and drilled a low cross in to the path of Eric Lopes but the midfielders shot was held well by the ‘keeper.
Orient attacked again minutes later when defender Shadrach Ogie embarked on a pitch long run in to the box only to be taken out by the ‘keeper but the referee waved play on as the O’s penalty protests were harshly dismissed.
Trialist A then watched his header miss the target after excellent play down the left from Amin Benyoucef and Alfie Fleming.
Trailist A was involved again when he won the ball back in midfield and played Jaedon Phillips through on goal but the winger was forced wide and his shot was easily gathered by the Stevenage ‘keeper.
A rare Stevenage attack was well defended by Ogie whose deflection took the sting out of the shot from 18-yards for Arthur Janata to hold.
Orient continued to look a threat with every attack and almost took the lead when good footwork form Benyoucef saw the midfielder lose his man and slide in Trialist A who placed a shot against the outside of the post.
Stevenage broke forward down the left and flashed a cross in front of Janata’s goal that only missed a touch from a hosting player to divert the ball goal-wards
The host sent another warning shot the O’s way when a deep free-kick gave the Stevenage front man the chance to stroke in to an open net but for the assistant to flag for offside as the half came to an end.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first, it took Orient ten minutes to adapt to Stevenage’s changed shape but when they did Lopes forced a brilliant save from the host’s ‘keeper at his near post to keep the score level.
On 65 minutes four changes were made as Orient looked to regain a hold of the game, youngsters Bradley McClenaghan, Wynford Marfo, Jayden Sweeny and Trialist B came on in place of Fleming, Carter-Henry, Phillips and Sanders.
Continued pressure form Orient kept the hosts at bay and saw them struggle to play out of their own half but Stevenage stood firm in defence to deny chances from Benyooucef, Lopes and Trialist B.
That was until a rare Stevenage attack required Jayden Sweeny to race back and head off his own line to keep a shot from wide crossing the line and with that the game drew to a quiet close.
After the match, Youth Team Coach Pete Gill said: “I was pleased with the team and individual performances. It was a good chance for the younger players to show what they have got to offer as it was mainly an U17’s fixture. There was some good team play in the first half and we certainly created enough chances to score.”
Gill continued: “Stevenage changed their shape in the second half and it took us some time to get used to it but once we did we went on to dominate the game and we were unlucky to not go on and win.”
On why the friendly took place Gill said: “We wanted to get a fixture in because at this point in the season we are having a push on the first year’s physical development. It’s important for them to play as many minutes as they can. We are changing the programme to make the first years train harder before a game so that they are playing under fatigue which will in time build robustness and endurance in to the boys.”
On upcoming Merit League fixtures: “It’s obviously an exciting time we will be a young side as the first and second years will go on loan, it’s very much about building for next season. These games are a chance for youngsters to get game time. We are excited and looking forward the league ahead.” Said Gill.
The remaining Youth Team fixtures for the 2017/18 Merit League will be announced in due course.
ORIENT: Arthur Janata, Alfie Fleming (Jayden Sweeny 65), Shadrach Ogie, Will Sanders (Bradley McClenaghan 65), Luca Carter-Henry (Wynford Marfo 65), Ernold Haxhiu, Hector Kyprianou, Eric Lopes, Amin Benyoucef, Jaedon Phillips (Trialist B 65), Trailist A