Carl Fletcher felt Leyton Orient took “a step in the right direction” and praised his players for “having a go” after they beat Brighton & Hove Albion on penalties following a 1-1 draw in their final Leasing.Com Trophy group game last night.

The hosts fell behind to a Danny Cashman goal just before the break, but Louis Dennis’ header took the game to a penalty shootout which the O’s won 4-2 to take two points and ensure their progress in the competition will now depend on the outcome of AFC Wimbledon’s game with Southend United next week.

The Orient boss had suggested he would shuffle his pack beforehand and he ultimately decided to make eight changes from the side that was beaten at Morecambe at the weekend.

Hector Kyprianou made his full debut in central midfield alongside Craig Clay, who was captain in Josh Coulson’s absence, while the fit-again Jamie Turley made his first start since last season’s FA Trophy final.

Reflecting on his side’s performance, Fletcher told the club website: “From a defensive point of view the lads put in a shift, we just needed a little bit more intensity in certain areas and definitely in our transition from what we did in the first half which we got in the second half which was good. We had to impose ourselves and I think that’s a good thing going forward.

“I’m pleased for the lads and thought there were some really good performances tonight. Obviously Hector gets a special mention for his debut. He did really well, very composed, very calm and I’m really pleased for him because he’s been training well since I came in and obviously Sam [Sargeant] playing in goal as well.

“But it was really good to see the lads have a go. We want to do things in a certain way and if we get that intensity and that application within the game that’s a positive. We’re still a long way from where we need to be, definitely, and there’s still things to improve on but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Ben Wilson had a goal ruled out for offside and Sargeant made a good save from Peter Gwargis before the young Seagulls took the lead when Ted Jenks played in Cashman who finished high into the net.

Orient responded well to going behind though, with Jordan Maguire-Drew extending former O’s goalkeeper David Button from a free-kick before half-time, while the home side went even closer to an equaliser in the 53rd minute when Dennis saw an effort cleared off the line by Archie Davies.

Orient’s efforts were to be rewarded though, when some nice build-up play ended with Maguire-Drew crossing for Dennis to head home.

The home side came closest to finding a winner in the closing stages when Maguire-Drew hit the woodwork from the edge of the box, Dennis and Maguire-Drew then saw efforts cleared off the line before a James Alabi shot hit the post.

The shootout saw James Dayton convert the decisive spot-kick to earn the home side the bonus point.