Battling Orient stung by Speed

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The Independent Online

Newcastle showed how seriously they are taking the Worthington Cup last night, their line-up proving too strong for Third Division Leyton Orient.

Newcastle showed how seriously they are taking the Worthington Cup last night, their line-up proving too strong for Third Division Leyton Orient.

Striker Carl Cort returned from a hamstring injury to partner Alan Shearer and saw plenty of action as United made the visitors work hard with their slick passing game on a rain-soaked pitch.

Midfielder Gary Speed was just wide with a right-foot drive from 25 yards four minutes into the game after Cort laid back Nolberto Solano's cross, and Wim Walschaerts had to clear another Solano ball inside his six-yard box four minutes later as Shearer and Cort closed in.

Shearer drove a free-kick a yard wide a minute later as Newcastle took charge, and Speed was not too far off target with another long-range effort on 13 minutes.

But the closest the Premiership side came to the opening goal in the early stages was defender Alain Goma's 16th-minute header from a Solano corner which flew wide.

Shearer and Cort kept goalkeeper Ashley Bayes busy as United laid siege to the Orient goal but it was the visitors who went close to taking the lead on the half-hour, Harper just scrambling back in time to tip over Ahmet Brkovic's 30-yard dipping effort.

Newcastle finally broke the deadlock when Cort ran on to Goma's through-ball and held off David McGhee before shooting low into the left corner.

Clearly buoyed by their first-half effort, Orient emerged for the second period intent on getting back on equal terms, and Harper was forced into a testing clearance to deny Carl Griffiths reaching John Martin's 48th-minute cross.

Newcastle, though, were soon back on the attack and it took some sharp work from McGhee and Bayes to keep out Speed and a sterling attempt from Laurent Charvet.

The hosts started to up the tempo in a bid to kill the tie off, Walschaerts turning up inside his own box to cut out Kieron Dyer's cross and Bayes bundling Cort's close range effort out for a corner.

However, McGhee had an opportunity to pull Orient level at the other end on 64 minutes after Harper could only half-clear Berkovic's corner, but the defender missed his kick in front of goal.

But there was no stopping the inevitable and it was only a matter of time before Speed finally found the back of the net, his 77th minute goal ending Orient's hopes.

Newcastle United: Harper; Goma, Charvet, Griffin, Hughes, Solano, Speed, Dyer, Gallacher, Shearer, Cort. Substitutes not used: Given (gk), Domi, Lee, Cordone, Gavilan.

Leyton Orient: Bayes; Joseph, Lockwood, Smith, McGhee, Harris, Griffiths, Brkovic, Garcia, Walschaerts, Martin. Substitutes not used: Barrett (gk), Downer, Christie, Shorey, McElholm.

Referee: A Leake (Darwen).

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