U's fail at first hurdle

WINGER Jason Demetriou knocked Colchester United out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle, and it was no more than Leyton Orient deserved.

Carl Marston

WINGER Jason Demetriou knocked Colchester United out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle, and it was no more than Leyton Orient deserved.

The U's never really clicked out of first gear, and Demetriou secured the O's passage through to round two with a slick finish in the 80th minute. He turned to bury a low shot into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box.

Paul Lambert's men were well below par, although substitute Scott Vernon could have broken the deadlock just 60 seconds before Demetriou netted the winner. Vernon had just come off the bench, but he failed to beat keeper Glenn Morris with a close range header from Mark Yeates' cross.

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Mark Cousins was by far the busier of the two keepers, and he impressed with a number of good saves on his full home debut.

In fact, Cousins had been handed his ever start in the FA Cup, following three good displays in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy this season. He had kept three clean-sheets in these three games at Millwall, Gillingham and Bournemouth.

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While Cousins replaced Dean Gerken in goal, striker Clive Platt shrugged off a dead leg to start in place of Scott Vernon. Skipper Dean Hammond was suspended, due to five bookings, and it was Platt who led out the team for the first time as skipper.

It was a quiet opening. David Perkins earned the first corner of the game in the 13th minute, with a shot that was deflected wide, and the ensuing corner from Mark Yeates was caught by keeper Glenn Morris at the second attempt.

Yeates caused more a stir with his second corner, delivered with power in the 16th minute. The ball flew dangerously across goal and curled wide of the far post, with no one able to get a touch.

Cousins enjoyed a comfortable first quarter of the game, although he did well to catch a couple of swirling free-kicks from Sean Thornton. The U's keeper was also relieved to see Adam Boyd miss the target with a free header from JJ Melligan's cross on 23 minutes.

Boyd almost burst through on goal, after turning Pat Baldwin near the half-way line. However, Baldwin did well to recover and match Boyd stride-for-stride, before eventually blocking the O's striker's final shot.

Orient's purple patch lasted until the half-hour mark. The U's then stepped up a gear and Kem Izzet was not far adrift with a long-range shot, before Johnnie Jackson blasted over from Yeates' cross on 32 minutes.

Three minutes later and Matt Heath nearly got the end of Platt's downward header inside the six-yard box, following a free-kick routine.

The game's first shot on target did not arrive until the 42nd minute. Yeates cracked in a shot through a crowded penalty area that Morris smothered low to his right.

Two minutes later and Cousins was forced into a save of his own. The U's keeper impressed with a marvellous diving save to his left from Demetriou's curling shot.

Just before the break, Cousins was in the action again when clutching onto Boyd's flying header. But the first-half had in truth yielded very few chances.

Half-time: Colchester United 0 Leyton Orient 0

United registered their second effort on goal in the 51st minute. Skipper Platt met John White's teasing cross with a header that Morris clutched to his midriff.

At the other end, Cousins again came to the U's rescue by scampering off his goal-line to charge down Adam Chambers' shot. The O's midfielder had been put in the clear by Boyd's lay-off.

Skipper Platt was the first player to be booked, after he chopped down winger Melligan on the right edge of the U's box in the 66th minute.

Vernon came on as a 78th minute substitute for Williams, and he should really have scored with his very first touch. However, Vernon could not beat keeper Morris with a free header from Yeates' pinpoint cross.

And the U's were made to pay for this miss when DEMETRIOU blasted the O's ahead in the 80th minute.

Tricky winger Demetriou turned inside the penalty area and gave keeper Cousins no chance with a ferocious low drive that flew into the far corner of the net.

Orient nearly doubled their lead shortly afterwards. Cousins denied them by smothering defender Brian Saah's close-range effort from a corner.

The U's struggled to find a way back into the game. Substitute Medy Elito at least had a goalbound shot blocked, but otherwise it was up to Cousins to keep the visitors at bay. He beat away a rasping shot from Chambers, and then denied the same player again by diving bravely at his feet in the 90th minute.

The O's deserved this win.

Full-time: Colchester United 0 Leyton Orient 1


COLCHESTER UNITED: COUSINS 8, White 6, Baldwin 7, Heath 7, Jackson 6, Yeates 6, Izzet 6 (sub Wasiu, 87), Perkins 6, Wordsworth 6 (sub Elito, 64) Platt 6, Williams 6 (sub Vernon, 78). Unused subs: Ifil, J Hammond, Batchelor, Gerken.

LEYTON ORIENT: Morris 7, Purches 7, Mkandawire 7, Saah 7, Granville 6, Melligan 7 (sub Morgan, 68), CHAMBERS 8 (sub Jarvis, 90+2), Thornton 7, Demetriou 8, Boyd 7 (sub Terry, 89), Parkin 6. Unused subs: Thelwell, Jones, Dawkins, Palmer.

Referee: Mr Pat Miller (Bedfordshire) 6

Attendance: 4,600

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