Thriller at the Lamex as Stevenage progress to JPT semi-finals

Filipe Morais scores Stevenage's third goal from the spot

Filipe Morais scores Stevenage's third goal from the spot - Credit: Archant

An evening full of drama at the Lamex Stadium saw 10-man Stevenage defeat Leyton Orient 3-2 in their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area quarter-final.

Lucas Akins celebrates scoring Stevenage's second goal

Lucas Akins celebrates scoring Stevenage's second goal - Credit: Archant

Five goals, two penalties and a red card was the story of the day on a cold night in Hertfordshire.

Stevenage made a super start to the game with a goal after just over 90 seconds in. Luke Freeman received the ball out wide on the left, and his cross found its way to in-form frontman Francois Zoko, who looped an effort off his thigh and into the goal.

The hosts had made an energetic start to proceedings, snapping away at in-form Orient. And they were rewarded for a vibrant start when Lucas Akins made it 2-0 on 10 minutes.

Receiving the ball infield, he passed out wide to Filipe Morais before bursting into the box and getting his head on the end of the ex-Chelsea man’s cross.

Two minutes later however, Orient were back in the game.

The ball was worked out wide to Shaun Batt and he swung a teasing cross in and the man-in-form Mooney volleyed past Day

Most Read

With next to no time to take a breath, the game had taken another frantic turn.

Another Morais cross into the box fell to Luke Freeman 15 yards out. He took a touch and blasted towards goal, only to see it charged down by Omozusi, with his hands according to referee James Adcock.

Up stepped Morais who made no mistake as the ball squirmed under and inside the left hand post.

Stevenage had another shout for a penalty in the 33rd minute - and to most watching it was a lot clearer than the one that went for Boro earlier.

Zoko wormed his way to the byline, and fired a cross that Scott Cuthbert appeared to stop with his hands, yet referee waved play on.

Stevenage were then reduced to 10 men on 36 minutes. A punt upfield by Orient keeper Jamie Jones caught Roarie Deacon out of position on the left, and in attempting to halt a burst by Batt, slid in missing the ball and catching the man.

However with Peter Hartley providing the cover, the red card issued to Deacon was harsh.

The action didn’t end there. In injury-time at the end of the first half and with Orient having advanced into the Stevenage box, the referee adjudged Stockley to have been fouled in the area. Up stepped Lloyd James to sneak the ball past Day.

Orient were always likely to come out all guns blazing the second half, but Gary Sawyer’s lunge on Morais probably wasn’t what Os boss Slade expected, Sawyer collecting a yellow after only 20 seconds of the restart.

Boro keeper Day was called into action in the 54th minute as he made a terrific diving save to tip Mooney’s header around the post.

And Orient stepping up the pressure, the veteran stopper was again called on to push a sidefoot volley from Marvin Bartley out of danger.

Stevenage continued to show a terrific workrate against the odds. Orient tried to liven things up introducing all three permitted substitutes, but grit and determination saw Boro scrap for every ball.

Orient’s best chance to level things up didn’t arrive until the 90th minute, but new-signing Robbie Simpson’s header from Moses Odubajo’s cross flew wide.

Stevenage managed to see out five minutes of injury-time to secure an impressive victory against their League One counterparts and progress into the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy semi-finals.