MARC-ANTOINE Fortune fired Southend United to a 1-0 win against Leyton Orient on his full debut for the Shrimpers tonight.

The experienced Frenchman turned to fire home an impressive left footed shot just eight minutes from time at Roots Hall.

And his decisive effort was also enough to seal Phil Brown’s side passage to the next round of the EFL Trophy.

Fortune’s strike settled an uneventful encounter which started slowly and was short of goalscoring opportunities.

However, the first half chance of the evening saw Orient’s Tom Parkes slice a 12 yard volley well wide of the right post before Blues hit back with ex Orient loanee Luke O’Neill firing wide of the right post from the edge of the penalty area.

With 35 minutes on the clock, the Shrimpers’ on loan defender Ryan Inniss saw his header from a deep Ben Coker free-kick smothered by O’s goalkeeper Sam Sargeant.

Moments later, Blues went even closer to taking the lead when Simon Cox’s well struck long range shot was parried out by Sargeant but the on-rushing Ryan Leonard could only volley the resulting rebound wide of the right post from close range but there was little else to excite the small crowd during a drab first 45 minutes.

Orient made a double change at the break in a bid to liven up the game with Alan Dunne and Jens Janse entering the action.

And, at the start of second half, the O’s almost netted with Ulrich Nnomo sending a powerful header over the crossbar from 10 yards.

With the visitors remaining on top, Jordan Bowery then had a curling 20 yard shot parried to safety Blues goalkeeper Mark Oxley In reply and, with 59 minutes on the clock, the Shrimpers made a double substitution of their own as Stephen McLaughlin replaced Anthony Wordsworth and Will Atkinson coming on for Adam King.


But Orient still threatened next with Nnomo wasting a golden chance to break the deadlock when he headed Alan Dunne’s right wing cross wide of the left post from six yards.

With play soon switching back to the other end of the field, Fortune – who was making his first start for the Shrimpers – failed to connect with an inviting left wing cross from McLaughlin when the Frenchman seemed favourite to reach the ball first.

In a further effort to improve going forward, Blues made a third change in the 82nd minute with Jack Bridge coming on to replace O’Neill.

And, just seconds after the youngster’s introduction, the Shrimpers bagged the only goal of the game, with Fortune on target.

The experienced striker held the ball up well after being picked out by Cox’s pass forward and then turned neatly to fire home a well struck left footed shot which flew into the back of the net via the inside of the left post to secure victory for Blues.