PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Att : 438
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Watkins 24]
LEYTON ORIENT – 2 [Tudor 33. Alexander 47]
With Tuesdays less than enthralling encounter, we all hoped that the visit of Leyton Orient today would lead to a stronger starting 11 and if we were really lucky, a half decent game of football.
The East Londoners were in town to help boost the benefit fund of ex-U and recently ex-O Andy Scott, who’d been forced to retire due to a serious, but rare heart condition. One where any kind of exercise could be fatal. Which as you can understand, isn’t good when you play football for a living.
Although, I would like to know just how rare this condition really is. Mainly as it could explain the performances of some signings over the last few years! Seriously though, good luck for the future Scotty.
Again, I’ll sum up the match in points rather than do a full report. Much easier!
10 min – Orient have the first sight of goal when a cross in from the left is headed wide of the far upright.
22 min – After a quiet start, a ball out to the left finds the overlapping McDonald. His cross catches out everyone and hits the outside of the near post.
25 min – GOAL 1-0 . A long ball forwards from deep sends Watkins clear of the defence. With ex-Lewes man Luke Cornwell in support, he squares the ball. The O’s ‘keeper does enough to force Cornwell away and prevent a shot, but the triallist keeps his nerve and clips the ball back across goal for Watkins to head home.
26 min – The visitors response is swift. Play down the left resulting in a shot from a narrow angle flashing just wide of Emberson’s near post.
33 min – GOAL 1-1 . Orient level with a dipping effort from the left beating Emberson at his near post. The U’s stopper seemingly caught completely by surprise by the strike.
38 min – Emberson redeems himself with a super reaction save, tipping over a fierce drive from the edge of the box following some patient build up around the penalty area. The resulting corner in from the left is flicked on at the near post, resulting in a header at the far post. But the ball comes back off the upright and is hurriedly cleared.
All in all, the first half has been a huge improvement over the Tonbridge match. With Craig Watkins lokoing very sharp and triallist Luke Carnwell looking useful. Midfielder Stuart Castledine (I think we’re allowed to mention his name now!) showed some good touches, but looks a little short of fitness. McDonald looks a decent find as well.
The U’s emerge from the break with 6 changes. Wilson, Akuamouah, Steve Douglas and Chris Nurse all appear, along with ex-Bobbin striker Dale Marvell and trialist from Tuesday, Victor Doutzer.
47 min – GOAL 1-2 . The changes seem to unsettle the U’s and it’s again the left side where the visitors find too much room. A simple ball from midfield finding an O’s man in acres of space and he lifts the ball over the advancing Wilson.
60 min – Gray corner delivered well from the right, headed away. Doutzer collects & strikes a dipping effort just over the crossbar.
62 min – Quick break forward & a pass out right finds Gray. His first time ball is whipped in, just evading the head of Douglas in the centre.
75 min – JR brings on Craig Howard & Luke Adam.
78 min – Gray quick free-kick from left drops fraction over the bar with ‘keeper scrambling.
81 min – Corner from the left is met in the centre by ex-U John Mackie, but Wilson reacts well and tips his header over the bar.
84 min – New face, Duzan Dugan replaces Matt Gray.
Overall, a pretty solid performance with a plenty of positives. Chris Nurse looked lively and we’ve got to hope Colchester don’t decide to pick him up. Gray looked sharp as ever, Akuamouah did ok. Doutzer is tidy, but unspectacular and makes Honey look like a 100m sprint champion! Marvell looked ok, but needs more match time as he seemed a little rusty. I’d say Dugan is worth a run out against Molesey on tuesday, just for a better look.
Seems we’re getting things together better than at this stage last summer, with at least a settled core of a side. That if anything, has got to be a good sign!
Right, time we headed off to the pub I think!
TEAM : Carl Emberson, Ryan Palmer, Jon McDonald, John Scarborough, Lewis Gonsalves, Stuart Castledine, Matt gray, Paul Honey, Luke Cornwell, Craig Watkins, Nigel Brake SUBS : Phil Wilson (GK), Chris Nurse, Eddie Akuamouah, Steve Douglas, Dale Marvell, Craig Howard, Victor Doutzer, Duzan Dugan, Luke Adams