Leyton Orient left stunned by Gateshead’s three-goal comeback in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy
PUBLISHED: 17:15 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:15 24 February 2018
Simon O'Connor Photography
FA Trophy quarter-final: Leyton Orient 3 Gateshead 3
Leyton Orient let slip a three-goal lead to only draw 3-3 with Gateshead at Brisbane Road in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy.
The O’s appeared in dreamland when Josh Coulson made it 3-0 in the 57th minute after earlier goals from Josh Koroma and Ebou Adams.
But Heed produced a magnificent comeback with Richard Peniket equalising in the 90th minute to force a replay on Tuesday night to decide who reaches the last-four of the competition.
Justin Edinburgh was still missing two key players in Jobi McAnuff and George Elokobi, who missed out with shoulder/neck and hamstring injuries respectively.
The O’s made one change from the team which won 1-0 at Chester on Tuesday as the cup-tied Dan Holman dropped out of the squad and was replaced by Matt Harrold.
David Mooney returned to the bench as a result and was joined by teenage forward Ruel Sotiriou as Edinburgh packed his match day squad with plenty of attackers.
Both teams came into this last-eight clash with confidence, with Orient losing just once since the turn of the year and Gateshead suffering only three defeats during the same period and all of them to play-off chasing sides.
The hosts got proceedings underway at a chilly Brisbane Road with this game also being streamed live to non-UK supporters.
Unfortunately a dull start occurred with the only real excitement in the opening 10 minutes when Dan Happe’s clearance impressively cleared the East Stand and when Scott Barrow curled a free kick wide from 25-yards in the eighth minute.
Gateshead were boosted by that chance and began to dominate possession, but they were unable to test Dean Brill and O’s took confidence from their solid defence.
Slowly but surely Orient grew into the contest and won five corners in quick succession between the 16th and 21st minute.
Although they were unable to do anything with the first five, from the sixth James Brophy picked out Craig Clay and he forced James Montgomery to tip his header over the crossbar.
O’s went on to win two more corners soon after, but Gateshead continued to defend strongly and the game reached the 25th minute without a goal.
It took until the half an hour mark for either side to create a genuine chance of note and when Orient did, they should have taken the lead.
Macauley Bonne latched onto a long ball forward, he played in Brophy down the left and he cut back for Bonne, but the forward scuffed his effort from five-yards and Heed goalkeeper Montgomery made a decent save.
Two minutes later and the Gateshead custodian was called into action again, as Joe Widdowson got forward and let fly, but the away stopper parried well.
Orient were getting closer and closer and with 35 on the clock, they did take the lead and in some style.
Koroma drifted inside and received the ball and despite the close attention of a Heed player, he dribbled forward and unleashed a superb curling effort into the corner from 25-yards.
It was a wonderful goal for the teenager and his second in the competition after his extra-time winner at Bognor Regis Town in the second round.
Orient pushed for a second straight after with Brophy having a cross-cum-shot deflected over before Koroma’s cross caused Montgomery problems.
Half time approached at a bad time for O’s as Edinburgh men scented blood and were seeking another goal as one minute of stoppage time was added on.
In the end they had to settle for a 1-0 lead at the break, but there was plenty to be positive about heading into the second 45.
Edinburgh’s team picked off where they left off after the restart and doubled their lead in the 52nd minute.
Jake Caprice produced a stunning pirouette skill inside the area and teed up Adams and he drilled into the top corner from 20-yards to make it 2-0 with his first goal for the club.
With the Orient fans singing about Wembley, they were treated to another goal in the 57th minute.
Koroma curled a free kick in from the left touchline and Coulson got the faintest of touches to score his third goal in O’s colours.
The hosts’ confidence was sky high now with Clay trying his luck from range, but dragging his effort wide in the 66th minute.
Heed boss Steve Watson reacted by introducing Danny Johnson and Rees Greenwood for Wes York and Jordan Burrow.
Orient were then guilty off switching two minutes later and it proved costly with Gateshead pulling one back.
Barrow bombed forward from the left and got past Caprice too easily before his cross was missed by Happe and Johnson curled home at the back post.
Memories of the game in the last round at Dover Athletic, where O’s threw away a three-goal lead before scoring in stoppage time to win, soon came flooding back.
Gateshead had the bit between their teeth again now and Peniket and Jordan Preston tested Brill in quick succession after.
Nerves were already present amongst the Orient fans and they increased with 12 to go when Johnson grabbed his second.
The substitute raced onto a through ball and produced a smart finish from a tight angle to make it 3-2 in the 78th minute.
Edinburgh reacted by bringing off Koroma for Mooney and switching to a 5-2-1-2 formation, but panic was setting in now in east London.
Chances were still coming for both teams with Mooney playing Bonne through on goal, but Montgomery raced out to block his effort before Peniket tested Brill.
With 90 on the clock the sixth goal of the game occurred and it went to the visitors much to the bemusement of the home fans.
Jordan Preston produced a superb cross into the area and Peniket ran in unmarked to nod past Brill and level the scores.
Orient were stunned and when the fourth official signalled for five minutes of stoppage time it was Gateshead who were happiest.
The Heed couldn’t produce any more late drama though and it ended 3-3 after a breathtaking last half an hour at Brisbane Road.
Some of the fans booed at the full time whistle as for the second round in a row, O’s had thrown away a three-goal lead in the FA Trophy.
The two clubs will have to do battle all over again on Tuesday night at Gateshead with snow and minus temperatures predicted, but unfortunately this is all of O’s own doing.
Leyton Orient: Brill; Caprice, Coulson, Happe, Widdowson; Koroma (Mooney 82), Adams (Lawless 73), Clay, Brophy; Harrold, Bonne.
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Sotiriou, Reynolds.
Gateshead: Montgomery; Vassell, Kerr, Byrne, Barrow; Penn (McNall 89), Preston, McLaughlin; York (Johnson 58), Burrow (Greenwood 58), Peniket.
Unused substitutes: Hanford, Williams.
Attendance: 3,771 (65 Gateshead supporters).