Orient recorded their second win in a week against non-league opposition as they beat Welling by four goals to one. Like Monday night, they recorded all of their goals inside 45 minutes but this time the O’s started much earlier.
The Orient side that started the match was comprised almost entirely of first team players, with only youth team graduate Harry Lee and trialist Michael Clarkson lacking in experience.
The visitors were quick to display their League One credentials, with David Mooney opening the scoring after just four minutes. A corner was recycled to the right flank by Moses Odubajo and Dean Cox had enough space on the wing to send in a cross. Mooney was alert enough to beat his marker to the ball and the Irishman firmly headed the ball beyond Welling stopper Sam Mott.
The O’s were looking lively already and Shaun Batt had a couple of good opportunities to extend the lead soon after the opener. The ex-Millwall forward went on a powerful run, leaving most of the home defence in his wake. However, just as Batt was about to pull the trigger Blaine Hudson managed to get back and block the shot. Orient’s new signing was then played through on goal by Cox. Batt managed to use his skill to take the goalkeeper out of the equation and slid the ball towards goal, but again Hudson was in the right position to deny a goal, this time by clearing the ball off the line.
Welling had really struggled to settle in to the game and Orient were in the mood to exploit that fact. Romain Vincelot won the ball in the middle of the pitch and his through ball found Mooney on the edge of the Welling box. Mooney found the corner of the net with cool precision, taking his and Orient’s tally to two.
The hosts had barely made it out of their own half such was Orient’s level of control, however they almost reduced the deficit mid-way through the first half. The O’s defence failed to clear the ball convincingly and Welling centre back Fraser Franks hit a sweetly struck half volley that only narrowly missed the target.
That moment of quality was soon followed by an attacking move of real quality from the away side. Vincelot fed Batt on the edge of the area and his neat flick left Cox one-on-one with Mott. The Orient winger capped off the attack with a clever chip over the goalkeeper to put Slade’s side three goals up.
Goalkeeper Sam Mott was forced off due to injury and he was replaced by Welling trialist Jakime Vernon. Vernon’s clean sheet did not last long. Harry Lee’s direct pass played Batt in behind the home defence and this time the striker made no mistake as he dinked the ball over the on-rushing keeper.
Orient had controlled possession well and caused problems with fluid and incisive attacking play. As a result, Welling had offered little threat, however they did go close with a rare attack just before the interval. Former Orient trainee Loick Pires moved in from the wing and tried his luck from outside the box, but his shot drifted wide of Jamie Jones’ goal.
Orient were missing a number of senior players for the trip to Park View Road. Matthieu Baudry, Gary Sawyer, Lloyd James and Anthony Griffith were all absent, meaning the O’s XI became increasingly inexperienced as changes were made. Larkins, Sherratt and Vanderhyde were introduced at the break along with veteran striker Kevin Lisbie. As the second half progressed, youngsters Uzun, Finney and Georgiou were brought on alongside trialists Alex Addai, Chris Gadi and Joe Kizzi.
Welling came out a lot stronger after the restart which made life difficult for Orient’s youthful side. Five minutes in to the second half a cross from the right flank afforded Pires a simple tap-in against his former club.
The hosts had the better of the play in the second half, however the visitors still looked dangerous on the break, particularly on the left flank where trialist Alex Addai was operating.
It seemed certain that the O’s would extend their advantage even further when Lisbie pounced on a failed clearance from Welling stopper Vincent. With the goal at his mercy, Orient fans would have backed last season’s top scorer to add a fifth, however Hudson came from nowhere to block another shot on the goal line.
The Wings almost pulled another goal back when Kurtis Guthrie had a shot from a tight angle, but Jake Larkins was able to make the save to ensure another win for the O’s.
The strong side that Orient fielded in the first half controlled the game and created various chances with some neat passing. Batt and Cox linked up well, just as they had against Chelmsford and they also combined well with Mooney and Vincelot to cause problems. The hosts did not play well in the first half; which undoubtedly made things easier for the O’s; but Russell Slade’s side still deserve credit for their clinical attacking play.
Vincelot continued to look at both ends of the pitch, suggesting he will continue to be a key player for the coming season. He took a knock during the game and was soon substituted, however it did not look too serious.
Alongside him in central midfield was Michael Clarkson. The trialist did not see a great deal of the ball, but when he did he seemed almost too keen to impress. He attempted a number of through balls and passes over the top, but unfortunately the majority of those were too short. He clearly has the vision for a pass, but on the night his execution let him down.
Gary Sawyer was ruled out with a fracture in his hand and as a result Harry Lee was again played out of position at left back. Despite this, he gave a good account of himself in the first half. He was pretty solid defensively and as a natural midfielder he got forward well, providing the assist for Batt’s goal. The second half was more difficult as Welling looked better going forward. It will be interesting to see whether Lee features at left back or in midfield during the season. In my opinion he would be more effective as a midfielder.
Vanderhyde, Finney and Uzun all benefited from more playing time. Vanderhyde looked as if he could act as cover if needed this season, though competition at right back may prevent him from breaking through. Finney and Uzun could be players to watch in the future.
However, Harrison Georgiou was the pick of the youth prospects in the second half. He looked comfortable on the ball and tried to pull the strings from deep as well as higher up the pitch. He looks good technically so hopefully his size won’t count against him.
Alex Addai was the best trialist on show. Most of Orient’s attacking threat came down the left flank in the second half, as the former Blackpool winger used his pace and skill to break forward. His end product was lacking at times, but he would be worth another look if the manager is interested in adding a winger to the squad. Chris Gadi was also quick, but he was less effective than Addai.
Orient travel to Tamworth on Wednesday night. For the full pre-season schedule click here.