Bristol Rovers 1 Leyton Orient 1
(Rovers won 4-2 on penalties)
leasing.comTrophy, 2nd Round
Leyton Orient suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak, on Wednesday night, after Josh Wright and Ruel Sotiriou were the fall-guys, despite Matt Harrold and George Marsh on-target efforts. Rovers enjoyed 100% success from their allotted kicks.
An action-packed opening period saw the host’s Alfie Kilgour opening the scoring, before the opportunist, Lee Angol put the O’s back on level terms.
On an increasingly slippery surface, Rovers almost went ahead on nine minutes, from Jonson Clarke-Harris’s audacious lob.
The enterprising O’s then had legitimate penalty claims waved aside, on 13 minutes, when Conor Wilkinson took a tumble from Rollin Menayese’s careless challenge.
But, referee David Rock, showed the Orient striker a yellow card – only for video replays suggesting there had been contact.
Barely three minutes later the Gas were ahead when Kilgour rose highest, from Liam Sercombe’s set-piece, and saw his deflected header nestle in the Orient goal.
However, the east Londoners hit back and from a long Jamie Turley 20th minute free-kick, Jordan Maguire-Drew crossed for Angol, who bundled home from a yard out.
With their tails up, the O’s nearly went ahead, halfway through the half, when former loanee, Tony Craig, nearly own-goaled from Maguire-Drew’s driven cross.
Rovers were quicker out of the blocks after the turnaround and sub., Lucas Tomlinson missed two excellent chances, minutes after his introduction.
Orient then restricted their hosts to mainly long range efforts, with the lively Tomlinson again wasting good opportunities.
Ending the tie on the front foot, on 89 minutes, sub., James Dayton’s wickedly in-swinging corner saw the industrious Turley force an excellent save from Jordi Van Stappershoef.
A further three minutes stoppage time failed to separate these sides, with the match going to spot kicks.
With the hosts going first, Clarke-Harris fired home, before Wright’s weak kick was easily stopped by Jordi Van Stappershoef. Rovers’ Alex Rodman, Craig and Sercombe were then all on target. Ultimately, Harrold and Marsh efforts for the O’s were in vain as Sotiriou’s effort was blocked.
Despite the late disappointment, Interim Head Coach, Ross Embleton, said: “I told the lads that I was very pleased with the performance – despite the penalties’ loss.”
“We came through a period – in the second-half – when we were under considerable pressure. But, we showed resilience and came strong at the end of the match – I think the rest at the weekend helped.”
Embleton paid tribute to home-grown Sotiriou: “I’m delighted for Ruel. I have been asked a lot of questions about him. It was always the plan that he went out on loan and did well during his spell at Dover.”
With the O’s making the long trip to Oldham Athletic this Saturday (kick-off 3pm), he concluded: “Such is life having to play Bristol Rovers on a Wednesday night – but I’m delighted we put in such a good performance and that we went toe-to-toe against Rovers tonight.”
Rovers’ coach, Joe Dunne, admitted: “Penalties is what it took. I am just pleased that we’re through to the next round. It’s all about momentum, but we needed to have been more clinical in the second half. We now face Southend this Saturday (kick-off 3pm) in a match that will no doubt attract interest with Sol Campbell in charge of the visitors.”
Bristol Rovers: Jordi Van Stappershorf, Rollin Menayese, Tony Craig,Alfie Kilgour, Alex Rodman, Liam Sercombe, Ed Upson (Lucas Tomlinson 58), Ollie Clarke (captain), Tarieq Holmes-Dennis (Michael Kelly 76), Tyler Smith (Victor Adeboyejo 46), Jonson Clarke-Harris. Subs (not used): Anssi Jaakkola (gk), Mark Little, Cam Hargreaves, Tom Nichols.
Leyton Orient: Sam Sargeant, Sam Ling, Jamie Turley, Marvin Ekpiteta, Joe Widdowson, Jordan Maguire-Drew (James Dayton 82) .George Marsh, Hector Kyprianou, Josh Wright, Lee Angol (Matt Harrold 73), Conor Wilkinson (Ruel Sotiriou 60). Subs (not used): Dean Brill, Dale Gorman, Dan Happe, Louis Dennis.
Referee: David Rock
Assistants: Kevin Morris, John Flynn
Fourth Official: Scott Jackson.