Leyton Orient lost 3-2 to Gateshead away in the North East in another fascinating game involving the two sides in the FA Trophy on Tuesday night in a corker of a game.
This quarter final replay went ahead despite there being plenty of water on the pitch from the overnight rain but blaming the weather conditions is no excuse for the O’s as they drop out of the FA Trophy in the quarter finals at their very first attempt.
Gateshead came back from three down at Leyton Orient to force a replay and the O’s came back from two down in the rematch. It was edge of the seat stuff but Richard Peniket had the final say with an 80th-minute winner to break the hearts of the travelling away fans up for the day from London.
A Danny Johnson’s double had set the boys from the North East on their way but Orient recovered well. A 90th minute goal from Peniket snatched a replay for The Heeds at Brisbane Road in the original tie and he was around to slap Orient in the face once more after the East Londoners had fought so hard to get back into the game after going 2-0 down. Goals from James Brophy and an equaliser from David Mooney appeared to have turned the tie on it’s head as the East London team looked to take the initiative. A victory would have taken the O’s just one game away from a date with Wembley. However Peniket had other ideas and Gateshead will now play either Bromley or local rivals Spennymoor Town in a two-leg semi-final.
For the Gateshead manager it couldn’t have started better. Steve Watson’s men got off to a dream start, and it was Johnson’s sharpness that opened up an early two goal lead.
There were just 95 seconds on the clock when the striker got in front of O’s defender Josh Coulson to sweep home Wes York’s low cross. Scott Barrow’s driven effort from near the goal line was then deflected onto the outside of the post as Orient began to look all at sea.
Orient were struggling to match their counterparts in all areas as Neill Byrne put a close range header from Barrow’s free kick wide as a rampant Heed poured forward at every opportunity.
It got worse for the O’s when they were delivered a knock out punch. A second goal just 16 minutes into the match. Johnson was confident and lively, picking Dan Happe’s pocket inside the box and inducing a foul and a penalty it was. Johnson sent O’s keeper Dean Brill the wrong way from the spot. Gateshead could have had a second penalty six minutes later as Joe Widdowson went into the back of York but the referee waved play on.
Orient had to find a way back as they went in at half time 2-0 down and after 52 minutes it was the visitors who were back in it.
A loose ball broke to to James Brophy and the midfielder shot into the far corner. Another 25 yard effort from Brophy was then saved by James Montgomery, with Johnson inches away from his hat trick at the other end as the game opened up and Orient were level on 70 minutes.
Fraser Kerr gave away a free-kick that saw Brophy pick out the unmarked David Mooney, who headed home from close in. 2-2 and the away fans were hysterical.
However Barrow rescued a lost cause and the Heed’s Wembley dream was back alive. The defender’s pull back saw substitute Jordan Burrow’s side-footed shot parried into the path of Peniket, whose goal was enough to put the Tynesiders into the last four of the FA Trophy for only the second time.
For the O’s it was a decent first run in the FA Trophy but the mindset must now be to focus entirely on the National League and ensure safety away from the relegation area.
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