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Leyton Orient 1 Brighton U-21 1 (Orient win 4-2 on penalties)
Leasing.com Southern Group K
Carl Fletcher enjoyed his first victory in the Orient hotseat after James Dayton successfully converted in a dramatic penalty shoot-out, to win this final group stage match, on Wednesday night.
Having seen O’s Jordan Maguire-Drew fire inches over, on seven minutes, it was the plucky visitors who called the shots, and having seen Cashman’s 12th minute effort hit a post, Ben Wilson’s rebound was chalked out for offside.
But, the O’s – with several first-team regulars on the bench – a line-up with at least four youngsters – struggled.
So, it was no surprise that Albion should take a 33rd minute lead, when the unmarked Cashmam netted with a lofted drive, which sailed over a helpless Sam Sergeant.
A more purposeful O’s threw men forward after the turnaround, and having gone close minutes beforehand, Dennis levelled with a fine downward header, on 62 minutes.
Having brought on Dan Happe for a tiring Jamie Turley, the sub rattled one-time Spurs loanee, David Button’s bar with a powerful 75th minute header, with fellow sub., Dayton grazing the base of a post, ending a fine, flowing move.
In the dying stages, Jordan Maguire-Drew was inches away from a clincher, but his rasping effort landed the wrong side of Button’s far post.
Deep into stoppage time Happe met Maguire-Drew’s free-kick, only for Button to make a smart, clean catch.
With the bit between their teeth, the O’s went for broke and Antef spectacularly cleared off his own goal line from Maguire-Drew, James Alabi hit a post from a tight angle.
Penalties then followed, with Maguire-Drew, Craig Clay, Alabi successful and – the clincher – Dayton. Only Archie Davies and keeper, Button converted for the visitors.
Only playing for second spot in the group, Orient are relying on Southend to beat AFC Wimbledon next week.
Leyton Orient: Sam Sargeant, Myles Judd, Jamie Turley (Dan Happe 60), Marvin Ektipeta, Shadrach Ogie, Jordan Maguire-Drew, James Brophy ,(James Dayton 60), Craig Clay, Louis Dennis, James Alabi. Subs: Arthur Janata, Joe Widdowson, Josh Coulson, Jayden Sweeney, Josh Wright.
Brighton U-21: David Button, Archie Davies, Antef Tsoungui, Haydon Richards (Marc Leonard 89), Alex Cochrane (captain), Peter Gwargis, Taylor Richards (Romaric Yapi 85), Tudor Baluta, Ted Jenks, Ben Wilson (Stefan Vukoje 70), Danny Cashmam. Subs: Thomas McGill, Bojan Radulovic Samoukovic, Luca Cocoracchio, Jack Leahy.
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistant Referees: Christopher Kidd, Samuel Ogles
Fourth Official: Joel Mannix.