Shoot-out win for Dons as they progress in Papa John’s Trophy
A forgettable night at the Breyer Group Stadium saw precious few opportunities for either side - both hit the frame of the goal in somewhat fortunate circumstances, Orient through Ruel Sotiriou and Dons in second half stoppage time through Hiram Boateng.
Stoppage time also saw Troy Parrott shown a straight red card for appearing to headbutt Theo Archibald seconds before the final whistle. But after Sotiriou blasted the first penalty over the crossbar for Orient, Dons netted all five, with Aden Baldwin firing in the decisive penalty to send Dons into the last 16.
After their fine 4-0 win over Morecambe on Saturday, Liam Manning made eight changes to the side. Only Harry Darling, Josh McEachran and Ethan Robson kept their place.
The first half though showed those eight changes perhaps were too many. Dons lacked impact and impetus in the opening 45 minutes, struggling to get anything going forwards for Charlie Brown or Troy Parrott to feed off. Brown did get Dons' only effort on target though, stinging Rhys Byrne's gloves.
At the other end, Orient looked quick and eager to get on the front foot, and it meant Frano Racizzoli was by far the busier of the two keepers, but he too was hardly troubled - though the Argentine had to be on his toes to tip Ruel Sotiriou's effort from 18-yards onto the crossbar.
The second half followed a similar pattern with chances coming at a real premium but there seemed to be a lot more intent from both sides, with Dons in particular looking far more lively.
Fairly anonymous in the first half, Brooklyn Ilunga really came out of his shell and was a problem for Orient on the left-hand side, showing some really clever touches as he began to press forwards, and helped carve out a decent opportunity for Brown to head over Dons' best chance of the half.
Stoppage time then seemed to spark the game into life, with Josh Martin heading an Orient effort off the line, Hiram Boateng's effort taking two deflections before bouncing off the bar and then Parrott was shown a straight red card after appearing to headbutt Theo Archibald.
And so it went to penalties. The first spot-kick was blazed well over the bar from Sotiriou and Dons were ruthless thereafter, converting all five of their kicks from Mo Eisa, Hiram Boateng, Josh Martin, Harry Darling and Aden Baldwin with the decisive kick.
Referee: Craig Hicks
Leyton Orient: Byrne, Wood (James 76), Happe, Thompson, Archibald, Mitchell, Omotoye (Tanga 62), Sotiriou, Young, Kyprianou, Nkrumah (Smith 76)
Subs not used: Pratley, Beckles, Ogie
MK Dons: Ravizzoli, Jules, Darling, Baldwin, Ilunga, Watson, McEachran (Martin 57), Robson, Boateng, Parrott, Brown (Eisa 77)
Subs not used: Fisher, O’Hora, Twine, Gyamfi, Harvie
Booked: Sotiriou, Archibald
Sent off: Parrott