Pre-Season Friendly Report: Harlow Town 1-6 Leyton Orient

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Leyton Orient kicked-off their pre-season preparations with a comprehensive 6-1 win over Isthmian League Premier Division side Harlow Town. The hosts

The hosts took the lead midway through the first-half as Junior Dadson found the net. However, the O’s fought back to go in at half-time ahead thanks to goals from David Mooney and Tristan Abrahams.

Orient made 11 changes at the break and they swept the Hawks aside during the second 45. Trialist B also grabbed two goals. Steve Davis named the number 24 as Josh Taylor and it would appear that the midfielder was previously in the USA with Oklahoma Energy Under-23s.  New man Macauley Bonne also bagged a brace to help the O’s to a strong start.

Trialist B also grabbed two goals. Steve Davis named the number 24 as Josh Taylor and it would appear that the midfielder was previously in the USA with Oklahoma Energy Under-23s.

New man Macauley Bonne also bagged a brace to help the O’s to a strong start.

 

New O’s head coach Steve Davis had nearly all of his new signings in the squad, only George Elokobi missed the trip. Orient’s squad also included three trialists. Trialist A, who played during the first-half, is thought to be former Manchester United and Fulham youngster Kayne Diedrick-Roberts. Trialist B (rumoured to be Josh Taylor) and Trialist C (believed to be former Barnet striker Michael Gash) played in the second half.

 

 

It was the home side who made the better start to the game. Harlow looked sharper and were often quicker to the ball in the early stages. The Hawks’ Junior Dadson had the first attempt on target, forcing Charlie Grainger to push the ball behind the O’s goal.

Orient’s blend of young players and new additions had started to settle and Tristan Abrahams was the first to threaten the hosts’ goal. David Mooney played Abrahams in behind the Harlow defence but Abrahams’ low shot was held by Hawks’ stopper David Hughes. Shortly after, the young O’s striker had another opportunity, but he didn’t manage to hit the target.

Harlow took the lead with just over twenty minutes gone as Dadson fired the ball beyond Grainger and into the Orient net.

The O’s continued to improve despite falling behind. The likes of Mooney, Lawless, Ochieng and Alzate were beginning to control the play in central areas and Abrahams and Trialist A were also looking bright on the ball going forward.

Orient managed to equalise when Mooney slotted the ball into the Harlow net from Christian Scales’ low cross from the left flank.

Mooney then played a part in Orient taking the lead. Right-back Jake Caprice chipped a ball towards the far post where Mooney was waiting. The Irishman headed the ball towards goal, Hughes made the save but Abrahams reacted quickly to put the ball into the net to make it 1-2 at the break.

 

 

The O’s fielded an entirely different XI for the second half.

The visitors were on the front foot from the restart, with Josh Koroma on the right flank looking particularly bright.

Orient’s pressure told as the away side extended their lead through Trialist B Josh Taylor, who recieved the ball just inside the area, produced a neat turn and fired a left-footed shot past Harlow ‘keeper.

It was all Orient in truth as Koroma continued to cause problems, but his end product wasn’t quite good enough to put him on the scoresheet.

The O’s did manage to make it 4-1 when Trialist C (thought to be Michael Gash) dug out  a cross, and his strike partner Macauley Bonne headed home.  The former Colchester striker then added to his tally soon after as Bonne ran in behind the Harlow defence and coolly slotted the ball into the far corner.

Harlow responded, with some pressure at the other end of the pitch. Sam Sargeant was called upon to make a couple of saves during the last ten minutes.

Orient were not finished however. As the clock ticked down, Josh Taylor capped a good performance by scoring his second of the game. The number 24 powered the ball into the Harlow net from long range, and that sublime strike wrapped up a 6-1 win for the O’s.

 

Harlow Town: Hughes (Lee 53), Shepherd, Pope (C), Baker (Dickens 53), Wilkinson, Muguo, Gordon, Small (Thompson 63), Dobson (Blair-Cornwall 68), Dadson ( Martin 71), Read (Toby O 81)

 

Such a win was a nice a way to start the new era and it was also pleasing to see Kent Teague in attendance. The new O’s vice-chairman had plenty of time for Orient supporters and showed plenty of enthusiasm as he watched the match.

It is obviously too early in pre-season to form concrete judgements regarding players or indeed the manager.

In the first-half, the O’s started out in a 4-2-3-1 with Alzate in the hole, Mooney up front and Abrahams out wide. There was some nice link-up play among Orient’s attacking players and it was interesting to see some players switch within that shape. In the latter stages of the half, Alzate moved to the left, Mooney moved back slightly and Abrahams moved up front. This worked pretty effectively. Mooney looked more comfortable playing off of Abrahams rather than as a lone frontman and Abrahams benefitted from the Irishman’s incisive passes in behind.

Trialist A (thought to be Kayne Diedrick-Roberts) looked good on the ball and tried to take defenders on but drifted out of the game a little as the half progressed.

In central midfield, Henry Ochieng and Alex Lawless were an energetic pairing. Ochieng received some rough treatment from some of the Harlow players but he continued to get stuck in and break up play. Lawless appears to be a fairly well-rounded player who tackles and covers well and can pick a pass. Unfortunately, he picked up a head injury.

At the back, Jake Caprice and Christian Scales were keen to get forward from their full-back positions and both contributed to Orient’s first-half goals. Pollock and Happe coped pretty well as partnership and both looked comfortable on the ball when the O’s were playing out from the back.

 

For the second-half, Orient lined-up in a 4-4-2. Despite the introduction of a more traditional target-man in Trialist C (believed to be former Barnet striker Michael Gash), Orient did not resort to playing high balls towards the striker. Instead, the O’s made good use of the wings, with Koroma and Taylor (Trialist B) particularly involved.  Orient also sought to get Macauley Bonne in behind the opposing defence and this yielded one goal as well as a couple of other chances.

Trialist C performed well in the second-half, holding the ball up and he looked fairly effective with the ball at his feet. He also assisted Bonne’s first goal. He really should have got on the scoresheet himself, but his shot from close range was saved. It is thought that he has been with the O’s since the beginning of pre-season and he is likely to feature in upcoming pre-season fixtures.

Josh Taylor (Trialist B) really caught the eye with two great goals. In his post-match comments, head coach Steve Davis stated that Taylor impressed and he also set to get another opportunity to shine against Burnham Ramblers on Tuesday night.

In the second-half, the O’s defence had little to do. Judd got forward well on the right and on the left Widdowson provided some defensive balance. Like, the first-half central defensive partnership, Clark and Perkins performed well and looked composed.

Charlie Lee provided defensive stability in central midfield and picked out a couple of long range passes. Lee’s discipline allowed Rian McLean to be a little more adventurous and he linked up well with Judd and Koroma.

The battle for the number one shirt looks set to be an interesting one, as Sargeant and Grainger appear quite evenly matched. Grainger was the busier of the two today, but Sargeant made saves when called upon.

Charley Barker and Sam Alderson did not get off the bench today. It will be interesting to see whether they will be loaned out to continue their development.

 

Overall it was a promising start for the O’s, but it is still only pre-season. The feel good factor around the club is fantastic to see after a few miserable years, but it is important to keep expectations realistic. Steve Davis will take his side to Leslie Fields to face Burnham Ramblers on Tuesday night.

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