Leyton Orients U18s came from behind to beat AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3-2 to qualify for the First Round Proper of the FA Youth Cup. Goals from Brendon Shabani and a late brace from Jaedon Phillips saw Orient snatch a deserved victory at Hayden Road.
The hosts twice took the advantage in the game, but Orient fought back to take the victory. Brendon Shabani’s equaliser saw the teams go into the break at 1-1. Jaedon Phillips then found the back of the net twice with his head to see Orient travel home with the victory.
Diamonds started the game on the front foot, whipping plenty of balls into Sean Campbell’s box, but never really forced the Keeper into a save. O’s slowly began to find their feet and take control of possession.
Against the run of play, the home side took the lead. A short corner came to Kyle Ansell, the left-back looks as if he is going to whip the ball into the box, but his delivery caught Goalkeeper Campbell by surprise, and dropped in just under the bar to give Diamonds the lead after 24 minutes.
Despite falling a goal behind, Orient were patient with their build up, and found a deserved equaliser after 36 minutes. Brendon Shabani tapped home after Rushby fantastically saved Bradley McClenaghan’s point blank effort, following Lawrence Hammond whipped a low cross into the box.
O’s continued to dictate possession as the half came to a close, but couldn’t find a goal to give them a lead going into the dressing room at half-time.
Clayden forced Rushby into save only a minute into the second half. The winger skipped away from multiple challenges, but with the angle against him, could only strike the ball against the keeper’s legs from just inside the box.
Harry Lamb re-established the home lead with a sensational effort from 30 yards. Lamb was first to a loose ball and hit a stunning half-volley into the top left corner.
Peter Gill’s side almost had the perfect response, as Jaedon Phillip’s saw his header cleared off the line. Lawrence Hammond floated a cross towards the strikers head at the near post, but the number 9’s header hit the keeper and was eventually cleared away by a white shirt.
Phillips turned the game on its head with two goals in quick succession. First, a lofted ball into the box from Alfie Fleming was cushioned down by Ernold Haxhiu’s header, and Phillips was on hand to put the ball into the net.
The striker put O’s ahead for the first time only minutes later. This time a superb looping header over the goalkeeper from the edge of the box. Clayden was the man who whipped the ball onto the forwards head.
Tensions were high in the closing moments of the game. The home side became frustrated as they couldn’t break down the O’s defence as they pursued an equalising goal.
However after five additional minutes, the referee blew the full-time whistle and the O's recorded anothe cup win.
The U18’s will now host Southend United at The Breyer Group Stadium, in the first round of the competition.
ORIENT: Sean Campbell, Kyrell Palmer (Jayden Sweeney 62’), Wynford Marfo, Hector Kyprianou, Alfie Fleming, Ernold Haxhiu, Brendon Shabani, Bradley McClenaghan, Lawrence Hammond, Charles Clayden, Jaedon Phillips (Jordon Adeyemi 85’)
SUBS: Jeremie Sivi, Tom Mulqueen, Anthony Papadopulous
GOALS: Shabani 36’ Phillips 72’ 74’
BOOKED: Sweeney 69’ Clayden 85’
AFC R&D: Sam Rushby, Ara Rhema, Kyle Ansell, Patrick Casey, Luca Purse, Rhys Kelly, Louie Barrett, Albert Mensah, Alex Nwafor (Ryan Reed 75), Harry Lamb(Louis Haynes 75), Ed Moyes
SUBS: Dalius Bryan, Bare Adan, Emmanuel Uwazie
GOALS: Ansell 24’ Lamb 50’
BOOKED: Ansell 59’
Referee: Corey Snuggs