Leyton Orient 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur U21s
Richie Wellens praised his injury-hit 0’s after recovering from a slow start against a decent Spurs U21 outfit, at Saturday lunchtime.
Wellens said: ”Although I don’t read too much into pre-season results, it’s a good confidence builder and I thought after we scored, we went on to dominate the game, after the first twenty minutes”
Goals by Ruel Sotiriou, new signing, Freddie Moncur and stalwart, Adam Thompson cancelled out the impressive Kion Etete’s tap-in, with Thompson saying: “Etete was just the sort of striker we needed to come up against, in pre-season”.
Former Orient schemer, Wayne Burnett’s men dominated the early stages and Sam Sargeant – in for Lawrence Vigouroux – justified Wellens’s faith to pull off a stunning 12th minute save to tip over Etete’s drive.
But, the hosts – fresh from a two-game Portugal trip – were out of luck on 14 minutes when Ekete gobbled up the loose ball, after skipper, Jamie Bowden’s drive had hit the base of Sargeant’s left post.
The hosts weren’t out of this entertaining contest for long and Connor Wood’s header hit the bar, with Daniel Nkrumah unable to net, before calmness was personified in the shape of another fine Sotiriou finish, close to the half-hour mark.
Nrukmah was soon replaced by Sonny Fish, and the former Redbridge FC, and now a Welsh under-18 international, soon won a stroke of half-free-kick inches outside the box. With the option of Archibald and Moncur to confuse an underworked Aaron Maguire, the former Colchester man, who recently signed a long-term deal netted with a finish that would be fitting on any Premier League ground.
Fish went close, seven minutes after the restart and it needed a brave Alfie Dorrington deflection to deny the livewire striker.
Soon to be subbed, Vago Santiago then got behind his marker. But with only Sargeant to beat, the winger completely missed the target.
Ten minutes after being subbed, Thompson returned to the fray and netted the winner, courtesy of a wicked deflection. The former Southend stopper added: “It’s my goal, my first for the Club – no matter how many deflections.”
There was almost a sting in the tail, when, five minutes from the end, the referee had after sub., Ethan Coleman pulled Etete back and the referee unhesitatingly pointed to the spot. However, the striker hit it well, but it went wide, with sub.keeper, Rhys Byrne beaten.
Having overseen an ultimately comfortable lunchtime clash, Wellens warned: “The injuries continue with Tom James and Daniel Nkrumah waiting to be assessed. Harry Smith and Aaron Drinan are still out, although Paul Smyth will train on Monday. And, Lawrence Vigouroux is ill.”
Wellens admitted “It goes without saying that it’ll be a tough division this season – especially with the likes of Stockport County under Dave Challinor’s management. Ideally we need another couple of signings – probably experienced loan signings. It hasn’t been a rebuild – squad-wise – this summer – but there are rebuilds with money and without.”
The former Manchester United youth schemer concluded: “It’s good to be starting here versus Grimsby Town (Saturday July 30, kick-off 3pm) – but we’ve got two more friendlies this week with Portsmouth on Tuesday (kick-off 7pm) and the short trip to Dagenham & Redbridge, this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).”
Thompson had the last word, echoing Wellens: “We’ll definitely be giving it our best shot. But, no one knows who will be there or thereabouts. It’s a hard league and there’ll be injuries along the way.”
At the end skipper, Darren Pratley was presented with the JE3 Foundation Trophy, by the late, Jason Edinburgh’s widow, Kerrie and son, Charlie, to cap a satisfying afternoon.
Leyton Orient: Sam Sargeant (Rhys Byrne 70), Tom James (Connor Wood 20), Dan Happe (Shad Ogie 62) (Thompson 72), Adam Thompson (Harrison Sodje 68), Omar Beckles, George Moncur (Jephte Tanga 68), Craig Clay (Ethan Coleman 68), Theo Archibald (Anthony Georgiou 68), Darren Pratley (capt), Ruel Sotiriou, Zech Obiero 68), Daniel Nkrumah (Sonny Fish 37).
Tottenham Hotspur U-21: Aaron Maguire (Luca Gunter 46), Kallum Cesay, Danny Rose, Maksim Paskotsi (Marcel Lavinier 55), Jamie Bowden (capt), Alfie Dorrington (Tyrrell Ashcroft 55), Vago Santiago (Roshaun Mathurin 65), Matthew Craig, Romaine Mundle (Brooklyn Lyons-Foster 70), Kion Etete.