Leyton Orient defeated Sutton United in a lively pre-season opener. Kevin Lisbie scored for the O’s after just two minutes, but the home side quickly pegged the visitors back thanks to a Stefan Payne penalty. Ryan Brunt marked his first game for Orient with a goal mid-way through the first half, but Kyle Vassell equalised almost immediately. Dean Cox put the O’s ahead again shortly before the break. Russell Slade elected to field a completely different line-up comprised of a mix of trialists and youngsters for the second-half. Sutton won another penalty in the second period. Gareth Gwillim duly converted from the spot but a brace from youngster Afolabi Obafemi ensured a victory for Orient.
It was a new-look Orient side that lined up against Sutton as five new signings made their Orient debuts. The away side were missing a number of regular team members due to injury, but that did not prevent them from making a flying start to the match. Just two minutes into the match, the O’s took the lead. Kevin Lisbie providing the finish from a Ryan Brunt long throw. However, Orient’s superiority was short lived as new man Matheiu Baudry gave away a penalty just three minutes later. Stefan Payne placed his penalty just beyond the reach of Jamie Jones, putting Sutton back on level terms. Ryan Brunt had provided the chance for Orient’s first and he took advantage off a defensive mistake by the home side to put his new club back in front. The Stoke loanee picked up a loose header and unleashed a shot from range which beat Sutton stopper Kevin Scriven. Once again Sutton were quick to cancel out Orient’s advantage. Kyle Vassell found himself through on goal, and he managed to keep his composure to beat Jones one-on-one. It seemed as if the game would remain all square as the match approached half time, but a late goal from Dean Cox gave the O’s the edge. Lisbie was the architect, dispossessing a Sutton defender before laying the ball off to Cox,who was on hand to provide the finish.
It was all change for the second period, as Russell Slade gave a mix of youngsters and trialists the opportunity to impress. The second Orient XI came close to adding to the scoreline, trialist Rowlands saw his freekick drift just wide of the post and soon after Affy Obafemi forced a save from Ex-O’s goalkeeper Tom Lovelock. Sutton had created chances too and they equalised for the third time after winning a second penalty. On this occasion Gwillim was successful from the spot beating new signing Ryan Allsop. However, Obafemi seized his chance to make an impression on O’s boss Russell Slade by scoring two goals which secured the win for the away side. Obafemi took full advantage of slack defending by Sutton’s backline to score his first. He was then brought down inside the area, and he kept a level head to beat former teammate Lovelock from 12 yards.
Orient had achieved the result they would have wanted, but the defending from both sides left a lot to be desired at times. However, the O’s were not at full strength, missing first team regulars such as Scott Cuthbert, David Mooney and Ben Chorley, as well as new signings Michael Symes and Nathan Clarke. Fitness rather than performance is always the focus of early pre-season games, yet Obafemi’s impressive second half display was the highlight of the evening.