Battling Reds give Orient huge scare before bowing out of Cup
JUST for a while, Alfreton Town were able to dream of a first-ever appearance in the third round of the FA Cup.
Paul Clayton gave them a fourth-minute lead at home to League One Leyton Orient – and the Reds hit the woodwork twice while it was still 1-0.
Getting their act together, Orient charged to 3-1 up by half-time – but the Reds hit back and, at 3-2 for much of the second half, they again had their visitors sweating until a late fourth goal settled the tie.
Clayton scored when he swept Nathan Arnold's pass low past keeper Ryan Allsop from 15 yards after Josh Law had sent Ben Tomlinson down the right flank.
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Tomlinson hit the foot of the post in the 15th minute from another Arnold cross then, two minutes later, Law's free kick looped up off the wall before rebounding off the crossbar.
A brilliant tackle by Theo Streete prevented former Derby County loanee Kevin Lisbie from scoring in the 20th minute as Orient began to get a foothold in the game.
The Londoners were level five minutes later, when Dean Cox curled an unstoppable shot past Jon Stewart from the edge of the area after being set up by David Mooney.
Only five more minutes passed before Orient were ahead.
A retaken corner was inadvertently headed into the path of Mooney by Tomlinson's near-post defensive header and the Orient player found himself unmarked six yards out to edge his team in front.
Suddenly, the O's were in the driving seat and they cruised 3-1 ahead after 36 minutes.
Mooney's powerful header bulged the back of the net from Lee Cook's astute cross.
The potential was there for the tie to become embarrassing for Alfreton but, instead of collapsing, they emerged in positive mood for the second half and began to push Orient back once again.
Allsop had to make decent saves from a Ross Killock header and a back-heel from Arnold before the Reds were rewarded with a second goal after 52 minutes.
A Law corner was nodded down by skipper Darran Kempson before Tomlinson, being grappled by two defenders, prodded the ball in.
The Reds' luck was out again two minutes later, as Tomlinson hooked a Law corner against the bar.
In the 61st minute, Kempson's header from yet another corner was hooked off the line by Moses Odubajo.
Law's 83rd-minute free kick was next to thud against the crossbar.
And Orient finally profited from their good fortune, putting the tie beyond Alfreton with four minutes left.
Cox took a return pass from Mooney and found the corner of the net from a tricky angle.
ALFRETON TOWN: Stewart, Law, Kempson, Killock, Franklin, Meadows (Emerton, 90), Streete, Bradley, Arnold, Clayton (Worsfold, 90), Tomlinson (Denton, 90). Other subs: Russell, Brown, Quinn, Barnes.
LEYTON ORIENT: Allsop, Chorley, Baudry, Cox, Lisbie (Brunt, 90), Odubajo, Cook (J Smith, 79), Rowlands, James, A Smith (Cuthbert, 86), Mooney. Other subs: Jones, McSweeney, Griffith, Symes.
REFEREE: R Madley (Ossett).