FA Youth Cup heartache for Dereham Town youngsters
Leyton Orient U18s 4, Dereham Town U18s 3
DEREHAM Town manager Matt Henman paid tribute to the club's youngsters after they gave their counterparts from Football League side Leyton Orient a real scare in Tuesday evening's FA Youth Cup first round tie.
The Magpies pushed the Londoners all the way at Brisbane Road and forced an evenly contested encounter into extra time before eventually going down to a heartbreaking 4-3 defeat.
Henman was part of a large Dereham contigent who made the trip to the capital and was mightily impressed with the way the club's Under-18 side performed, even though they ended up missing out on a place in the second round.
'The lads gave absolutely everything tonight and every single one of them should feel proud of themselves,' he said. 'They went to a league ground and weren't overawed at all. They put in an excellent performance and could easily have won the game.
'Obviously there were a lot of disappointed faces in the dressing room at the end, that's only to be expected, but they were a credit to the club.
'They can only learn from this experience – and hopefully it will turn out to be an important night in their development.'
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The Magpies twice held the lead in normal time at Brisbane Road before eventually succumbing to an Orient winner early in the extra period.
They took a third-minute lead when Joe O'Donoghue's back pass sold keeper Yilmaz Aksoy short, allowing Callum White to find the bottom corner.
With 18 minutes gone the home side drew level, and it came with a large slice of luck as Sam Konway's rocket thundered against the crossbar and as it bounced down, defender Charlie Aulet and goalkeeper Andy Wilton managed to knock the ball into their own net between them.
Orient went ahead when Elyon Egbeku headed home, but Dereham hit back immediately, making it 2-2 on 27 minutes when Ryan Hawkins lashed a super 20-yard free-kick into the top right-hand corner.
The Magpies moved in front for a second time 11 minutes into the second half when Nathan Howard got the better of the Os centre-backs and finished smartly.
Again the response was swift as Orient levelled again seven minutes later through Affy Obafemi.
Daniel Bacon and substitute Ben Champion both went close to a winner for Dereham in the closing stages of normal time, but Joe Foley's strike two minutes into extra time decided the tie.
The Os will now face Stevenage or Tilbury.