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Leyton Orient v Ebbsfleet United – Emirates FA Cup first round – Breyer Group Stadium – Report
Leyton Orient 1-0 Ebbsfleet United
Leyton Orient enjoyed rare FA Cup success after Aaron Drinan’s first-half strike ensured there were no cup upsets – for a change – on Saturday.
After a nervy start, with former Exeter City man, Lee Martin bringing out a smart Lawrence Vigouroux, the hosts – mindful of another home cup shock after being eliminated by Maldon & Tiptree two years ago – settled, but had to wait until midway through the opening period to assert their authority.
A fine Theo Archibald pass found Drinan – hat-trick hero seven days ago. The former Ipswich man drew Ebbsfleet keeper, Josh Gould, and slotted home a fine, angled drive.
Harry Smith and Archibald then went close, before good Craig Clay work – at centre-half to avoid loanee, Alex Mitchell getting cup-tied – denied Lee Martin, with Fleets’ Rakish Bingham denied by a smart Omar Beckles block.
Playing to their boisterous 860-strong following, co-striker, Dominic Poleon nearly caused an upset, straight after the turnaround, but shot inches wide, before Bingham headed wastefully wide – on the hour – from a rare Vigouroux gaffe.
The O’s – never comfortable at one-nil – should have been out of sight, on 66 minutes – with Drinan missing his kick, from close range, and Smith had an effort superbly blocked by Sefa Kahraman, before the top scorer headed wide with the goal beckoning.
A nervy ending saw the O’s survive a Fleet onslaught, but are in the hat for round two.
Boss, Kenny Jackett admitted: “Aaron’s goal was a ‘key’ goal, which proved the winner, which got us in the draw for the next round.”
He added: “I’ve got a lot of respect for Ebbsfleet and I knew it would be a tough game today. They’re going well in their league and it was a tricky tie – particularly with them bringing almost a third of the crowd, today.
“On the footballing side, we could have made things more comfortable, if we had been more clinical in and around their penalty area.”
Leyton Orient entertains Charlton Athletic in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday, November 9 (7pm), before making the long trip to Rochdale next Saturday 13 (3pm).
Leyton Orient: Lawrence Vigouroux, Tom James, Omar Beckles, Craig Clay, Shad Ogie, Theo Archibald, Darren Pratley (Capt), Dan Kemp, Harry Smith, Aaron Drinan Subs not used: Rhys Byrne (GK), Connor Wood, Dan Happe, Paul Smyth, Tyrese Omotoye, Ruel Sotiriou, Matt Young, Antony Papadopoulos, Jayden Sweeney
Ebbsfleet United: Josh Gould, Chris Solly, Ben Chapman (Alfie Egan 72′), Safa Kahraman, Joe Martin, Greg Cundle, Lee Martin (captain) Michael West 90′), Jack Paxman, Craig Tanner (Kreshnic Krasniqi 86′), Rakish Bingham (Elliott Romain 72′), Dominic Poleon (Kieran Monlous 86′) Subs not used: Craig Haigh (GK), Sido Jombati, Christian N’Guessan, Kieran Monlous
Referee: Will Finnie
Assistants: Christopher Wade and Leigh Crowhurst
Fourth Official: Lloyd Wood