Leyton Orient edged past Charton in a thrilling encounter decided by penalties, but Orient could have wrapped the game up in normal time. Scott Wagstaff opened the scoring for Charlton just before the half hour mark but debutant Mathieu Baudry levelled on the brink of half-time. The scoreline stayed the same throughout the rest of the match and extra time, taking the game to penalties. Ryan Allsop ensured the O’s got off to a good start by saving Johnnie Jackson’s penalty. Charlton then missed their next spot kick but scored their three remaining penalties. However, it was too late as Michael Symes, Gary Sawyer, Lloyd James and Ryan Brunt all converted penalties on their debuts to take Orient through to the second round.
Orient were the first to challenge when Kevin Lisbie’s shot forced Charlton stopper Ben Hamer to get down low and make a save. David Mooney also had a good chance for the visitors but his shot did not find the target. Danny Green responded by testing Ryan Allsop. A Charlton counter-attack led to the first goal of the game. Allsop was helpless as Scott Wagstaff’s shot deflected off Gary Sawyer and into the Orient net. Green then came close to doubling the home side’s lead just moments later. It seemed that Charlton would go in at the break ahead until the O’s equalised in the last minute of the half. Sawyer’s corner found Mathieu Baudry at the far post, and the Frenchman headed in a debut goal.
After the restart, Orient had a great opportunity to edge in front. David Mooney was brought down in the Charlton box and referee Gavin Ward awarded the visitors a penalty. Mooney stepped up to take the spot kick, but his effort cannoned off the crossbar. There were headed chances from corners at both ends but neither Jimmy Smith nor Leon Cort could put their team ahead. Former Dagenham & Redbridge winger Green then threatened again, this time hitting the post. Charlton boss Chris Powell was sent to the stands in the second half after arguing with referee Ward. Russell Slade’s side had competed well throughout and they could have sealed the win had Brunt managed to convert a good chance. The two London sides could not be separated after 90 minutes and so the tie went to extra-time.
The home fans thought they had scored a second towards the end of the first half of extra time, but Michael Smith had headed the ball into the side netting. Charlton pushed for the winner by bringing on Bradley Wright-Phillips and Johnnie Jackson. They came very close to grabbing a winner when Cort’s header was blocked on the line. Orient also forced a goal-line clearance with Cedric Evina making a vital intervention. The game remained deadlocked and so the tie would be decided on penalties.
Allsop introduced himself to O’s fans by saving Jackson’s penalty and Symes followed that up by scoring from the spot. Lawrie Wilson hit the crossbar from twelve yards, then Sawyer piled the pressure on the hosts by converting. Green scored Charlton’s first penalty and the home fans were given hope when Hamer saved Ben Chorley’s penalty. Wright-Phillips found the net, Lloyd James was also successful. Bradley Pritchard made no mistake but young striker Ryan Brunt marked his first O’s appearance by scoring the winning penalty
Russell Slade employed a diamond formation that has been used in the past as well as during pre-season. Jamie Jones missed out due to injury and Ryan Allsop came in and did well in his first appearance. Baudry and Clarke were very impressive and they could provide the defensive steel that was lacking last season. Sawyer and Griffiths also did well and they may prove to be useful additions. It was at the Valley in March that injury ended his season, so it was good to see Scott Cuthbert make a return to competitive action.
The O’s continued to play the direct style of football seen in pre-season, but they also played some passing football when the opportunity arose. Set pieces could be a source of goals for Orient this season as they looked threatening from corners as well as the long throws of Nathan Clarke.