Mooney earns 10-man Orient dramatic victory over Yeovil
Leyton Orient 1 Yeovil Town 0
Leyton Orient are one step away from Wembley after a last-minute winner from David Mooney sent Russell Slade’s side through to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy southern area final.
After midfielder Anthony Griffith had been sent off late in the second half the O’s looked certain to try and hold out for penalties.
But in-form Mooney popped up with a 90th-minute header to send Brisbane Road wild and set up a two-leg area final tie against rivals Southend United.
With Lee Cook only fit enough for the bench after picking up a calf strain in the 1-1 draw at Hull City, Scott Cuthbert came into the starting XI, pushing Moses Odubajo into midfield.
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Meanwhile, Griffith replaced Martin Rowlands in the centre of midfield and Gary Sawyer returned at left-back in place of Leon McSweeney.
Winger Dean Cox, who tormented the Hull defence in Saturday’s cup tie, created the game’s first chance, but his cross was glanced wide by Ben Chorley on seven minutes.
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Despite Yeovil’s high tempo start, Orient refused to deviate from their familiar short passing game and a fine move through the middle on 12 minutes culminated in Lloyd James shooting wide from 25 yards.
The visitors slowly were able to stamp their authority on the tie and were inches away from taking the lead on 27 minutes when Dominic Blizzard’s volley was pushed around the post by Jamie Jones.
Jones was proving to be the busier of the two goalkeepers as the half went on and was called into action again on 38 minutes to keep out a header from Yeovil skipper Jamie McAllister.
Shortly before half-time Chorley rose highest inside the box to meet an inswinging corner from Cox, but ex-West Ham goalkeeper Marek Stech was down quickly to push the ball away.
Odubajo had Orient’s first sight at goal in the second half, but the right-winger for the night saw his fizzing low effort strongly palmed away by Stech.
Orient’s task of progressing from the semi-final looked to become all the more difficult just after the hour-mark when star striker Kevin Lisbie limped off with a hamstring strain.
The home side’s rhythm was upset and two minutes later Jones was almost caught out by a speculative strike from substitute Gavin Williams who attempted to lob the goalkeeper from 40 yards, but saw his effort creep wide.
Orient regrouped and Odubajo almost squeezed a near-post shot past Stech, but the stopper was equal to the powerful drive.
On 77 minutes the O’s were reduced to 10 men when midfielder Griffith was sent off for a second bookable offence, penalised for kicking the ball away just a few minutes after having his name taken by referee Darren Sheldrake for a poorly-timed tackle.
With four minutes remaining a looping header from Blizzard tested the handling of Jones.
But it was the O’s who had the final say when Mooney headed in Cuthbert’s cross to spark jubilant celebrations inside Brisbane Road, including a full sprint down the touchline from Slade in delight.
Deep into second-half stoppage time the woodwork denied substitute Cook from doubling the advantage, but Orient had done enough.
Orient: Jones, Cuthbert, Chorley, Baudry, Sawyer (Cook 74), Odubajo, Griffith, James, Cox, Lisbie (Symes 62), Mooney. Subs not used: Allsop, McSweeney, J Smith.
Yeovil: Stech, Ayling, Hinds, Webster, Burn, Foley (Dawson 74), Upson (Dolan 49), Blizzard, McAllister, Williams (Ralph 78), Hayter. Subs not used: Stewart, Reid.
Attendance: 2,755 (815 away).