Leyton Orient gave Fulham a late scare as they fought back from three goals down to make it 2-3, but they didn’t manage to equalise to take the game beyond 90 minutes as the Championship side progressed.
Andy Hessenthaler made five changes to the side that drew with Cheltenham Town on Saturday. Sam Sargeant replaced Alex Cisak in goal, Yvan Erichot was the only player to keep his place in defence as Nicky Hunt, Aron Pollock and Callum Kennedy all came into the team. Liam Kelly was included in a reshaped midfield in place of Nigel Atangana.
Hessenthaler opted to switch from 4-4-2 to a more conservative 4-4-1-1 with Kelly and Robbie Weir protecting the back four, Gavin Massey on the right flank, Sandro Semedo on the left. Harry Cornick played off of Ollie Palmer who was the lone front man for much of the night.
Fulham boss Slaviša Jokanović fielded an entirely different starting lineup to the one that defeated Newcastle United on Friday night. Four players were handed their senior debuts for the Cottagers. Scott Parker provided the experience in midfield and talented young players Lasse Vigen Christensen and Cauley Woodrow provided the attacking threat.
From the start of the match, it was clear that Fulham were intent on controlling possession but Orient pressed energetically in a bid to unsettle their opponents.
The away side were the first to threaten. Scott Parker fired a powerful shot from the edge of the box following a corner but Sam Sargeant managed to claim the ball.
At the other end, Harry Cornick managed to get in behind the Fulham defence but he scuffed his shot and the ball travelled harmlessly wide. Orient were enjoying a good spell and they threatened again thanks to Ollie Palmer’s persistence. The O’s striker battled his way into the penalty area and squared the ball to Gavin Massey who saw his shot blocked. The ball eventually fell to Sandro Semedo but the Fulham defence managed to get in the way again.
Despite Orient’s attacks it was the Cottagers that took the lead on the half-hour. Dennis Adeniran managed to lose his marker Aron Pollock and the Fulham youngster headed the ball past Sam Sargeant unchallenged.
The away side were passing the ball around well and were starting to put real pressure on the O’s as they searched for their second goal of the game. The visiting fans were appealing for a penalty after Cauley Woodrow went down in the box with Nicky Hunt nearby but the referee didn’t see anything in the challenge.
Soon after, Ryan Sessegnon delivered a dangerous cross from the left flank but no one could get on the end of it.
Orient had the final opportunity of the first half and it was a very good one. Palmer was again involved as he moved carried the ball from the left flank and played a pass into the path of Liam Kelly, the former Oldham midfielder hit the target but he didn’t make it difficult enough for Fulham stopper Jesse Joronen.
The first half was then brought to a close by referee Andy Davies.
The O’s had produced a strong finish to the first period, but they made a poor start to the second half and the cup tie got away from them.
Just six minutes into the second half Fulham doubled their lead. Scott Parker laid a free-kick off to Woodrow who powered the ball beyond Sargeant and into the Orient net from 35 yards out. It was a stunning strike from the 21-year-old striker, but he wasn’t finished there.
Three minutes later Woodrow made it 3-0. He muscled Pollock off the ball on the left flank and cut inside before curling the ball into the far side of the Orient net.
That goal prompted Andy Hessenthaler int making a double substitution. Dean Cox and Paul McCallum returned to competitive action following their cruciate ligament injuries, replacing Sandro Semedo and Harry Cornick as Orient switch to an out-and-out 4-4-2.
Less than ten minutes later the duo combined to pull a goal back. Dean Cox delivered a corner towards the far post and Paul McCallum rose to head the ball just under the Fulham crossbar.
Orient captain Robbie Weir was replaced by Nigel Atangana following the post-goal celebrations.
The O’s had the momentum and they pushed to get back into the tie. Fulham, however, were now trying run the clock down.
Ollie Palmer came close to making to 2-3 when his deflected shot headed for the bottom-right corner of the visitors’ goal but Joronen got down low to make the save.
However, nine minutes from time the O’s did manage to move within a goal of their Championship opponents. Cox played a sublime, first-time cross across goal where McCallum was on hand again to head home.
Andy Hessenthaler’s men pushed for an equaliser until the end and Cox almost grabbed an equaliser as he hit the target with a first-time shot but Joronen was equal to the effort. Almost immediately after the match came to a close.
In the end, it was a decent performance and creditable result against a superior Fulham side.
Fulham passed the ball well and controlled much of the game. Orient worked hard to try and regain possession and they were disciplined in keeping 10 and at time 11 men behind the ball.
Andy Hessenthaler’s plan was clearly to keep things tight, frustrate Fulham and play passes over the top of the Cottagers defence to use the pace of Cornick and Massey on the break. This worked reasonably well, however after conceding the first goal the O’s continued to sit off the opposition a bit too much. As a result, Fulham controlled proceedings largely thanks to the work of Scott Parker, who ran much of the game. It often looked like the former Tottenham man had the freedom of Brisbane Road.
That pattern continued into the second half and the O’s fell further behind due to a moment of brilliance from Woodrow and defensive mistake.
In order to get back into the game, Orient had to take more risks and show more ambition. The introduction of McCallum and Cox changed the game and gave the O’s greater attacking threat, while Atangana’s cameo appearance also brought energy in the latter stages.
In the last half-an-hour, the O’s showed some fight and came close to forcing extra-time which left a feeling of positivity ahead of Saturday’s game.
It was a big night for the young goalkeeper and he gave a decent account of himself. There was very little he could have done about any of the goals. He did look uncertain at times.
Hunt had a reasonably solid game. He also tried to get forward late on when Orient were chasing the game.
He showed great confidence for someone his age and level of experience in the early stages and even brought the ball forward on a couple of occasions. However he lost his man for Fulham’s opener and as a result, he lost confidence and his performance deteriorated. He is still a talented young player learning at senior level so night’s like this are to be expected. He’s possibly lacking match fitness and sharpness too after missing much of pre-season.
A decent, all-around performance from Yvan. He looks strong and quick. He played a couple of nice, long range passes.
Kennedy didn’t look entirely comfortable and he was beaten for pace on a few occasions. Perhaps hasn’t got that match sharpness just yet.
Harry Cornick (off after 62 minutes):
Cornick was quite involved in Orient’s attacks in the first half and he tried to be positive and take players on. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite come off for him on the night but he showed promise.
Robbie Weir (off after 74 minutes):
Weir operated as the deepest midfield and he tried to screen the back four. He didn’t have a great game but he played some nice passes forward.
A similar performance to Weir’s. At times he sat off too much and wasn’t always combative enough. He tried to break forward on occasions and perhaps should’ve done better with his chance at the end of the first half. Continued to work hard throughout.
Sandro Semedo (off after 62 minutes):
A quiet night for the Orient youngster but he worked hard to close down and track back. Showed some good flashes in the second half before being substituted. Very good at keeping the ball when under pressure.
Swapped between right wing and just behind Palmer,interchanging with Cornick. Both had the difficult task of helping out in central midfield whilst supporting Palmer. He tried to use his pace on the break and give Orient an outlet. He looked more comfortable out wide. He made a nuisance of himself late on down the right.
Plenty of effort as always and he was heavily involved in Orient’s attacks . Still, he often lacks conviction which at times leads to a poor final product. He fares far better with a partner up alongside him.
Dean Cox (on after 62 minutes):
Along with McCallum, Cox’s introduction lifted the team and he had a profound impact, providing two assists to put Orient back in the contest. A strong contender to start on Saturday based on that showing.
Paul McCallum (on after 62 minutes):
Like Cox, the game changed after he came on. He caused problems for a tiring Fulham back-line and he did well to get on the end of the deliveries to score his brace. Really pushing for a start now.
Nigel Atangana (on after 74 minutes):
Broke up play well and provided energy in the latter stages. Orient looked better in midfield with him on the pitch. Firmly in contention for a start.