Ashworth strikes as Orient hang on for a replay

FA Cup first round Tranmere Rovers 1 Leyton Orient 1 LUKE ASHWORTH scored his first senior goal, but O s couldn t hang on to their advantage as struggling Tranmere hit back to force an FA Cup first round replay on Saturday. Chris Shuker bagged the levelle

FA Cup first round

Tranmere Rovers 1

Leyton Orient 1

LUKE ASHWORTH scored his first senior goal, but O's couldn't hang on to their advantage as struggling Tranmere hit back to force an FA Cup first round replay on Saturday.


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Chris Shuker bagged the leveller when his shot on 51 minutes took a wicked deflection off Sean Thornton and beat the impressive Glenn Morris.

But although his side were still in the competition, boss Geraint Williams was not happy with the display.

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"It was as poor a performance as we've had since I have been at the club and I'm very, very relieved that we have got a replay," he said.

"It was so poor after the first five minutes that I thought the best we could hope for was a draw.

"We work very hard on the training ground, but if you watched us, you'd be wondering what it was that we work on.

"It's disappointing because I look at what we do on the training ground and we play good football, look to get it down and pass and look to get into the final third - but I didn't see any of that on Saturday."

The one plus point for the O's boss was that being a cup clash, at least vital league points had not been frittered away.

"We'll go away and lick our wounds and the good thing today is that we haven't dropped two league points," said Williams.

"We're still in the cup and we'll prepare for our next game and look for a better performance."

Keeper Morris, far and away Orient's best player on the day, earned praise from the boss.

"We had nothing going forward and defensively we weren't the best either," he said. "It's thanks to 'The Cat' (Morris), that we're in the hat for the next round and still have a chance of getting through.

"Glenn has made some outstanding saves, but it is disappointing that he has had to, because we should be giving him more protection.

"We knew from the start that we had good competition for the goalkeeper's position and that's proving the case now. But it's unfortunate we're having to make him prove it every week."

Without injured defender Tamika Mkandawire, loan players Luke Summerfield and Andros Townsend, who their parent clubs did not want cup-tied, and JJ Melligan who was taken ill, it was a patched-up O's team that started the game.

Ashworth, Jason Demetriou, Thornton and Loick Pires all came into the starting 11 and O's could not have dreamed of making such a good start. On just seven minutes, former Tranmere man Thornton swung over a corner for Ashworth to power home a header at the near post.

After that, little was seen of Orient as an attacking force. Ashworth went close again from another Thornton corner and Charlie Daniels fired wide from distance.

But Morris was the busier of the two goalkeepers. First he denied Shuker and Michael Ricketts failed to connect with the rebound, then he saved a long-range shot from John Welsh.

The O's keeper thwarted Shuker again as he dived to his left, but he could do nothing with the leveller six minutes after the break.

Chris Curran released Shuker and his shot cannoned off Thornton and into the net.

After that there only looked to be one winner, but Morris pulled off a great reflex save from Curran and the same player sent another effort over the top, as O's held on for a replay.

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