Leyton Orient U18s kept their fantastic start to the second half of the season going with a classy 4-0 victory on the south coast, as a Josh Koroma (pictured) brace in-between Steven Alzate’s opener and Christian Owusu’s late goal made it three straight wins and a third clean sheet.
Michael Clark also made his long awaited return to the team after a lengthy injury spell, completing the first half as management are adamant at taking it slow. Clark commented at half time: “It felt great to be back out there, I was a bit nervous at the beginning but once I got going I felt like I could of played the full 90 minutes”.
It didn’t take long at all for Orient to take the lead, although against the run of play, Alzate cut in from the right hand side and drove a low shot towards the near post, finding its way under the goalkeeper.
Once the lead was established it appeared a weight was lifted off the shoulders of the players, as Koroma, Owusu and Alzate started expressing themselves with some fantastic foot work and free flowing football.
They were causing havoc around the box with Koroma inches wide from outside the box. Charley Barker then had a marvellous 20 yard volley tipped wide.
It could have been 2-0 before the half was out, but an amazing recovery from the Pompey keeper denied Koroma a simple tap in.
Dan Happe was brought on at the half for Clark, and continued the good form alongside Aron Pollock in the middle of defence.
Koroma got his first less than two minutes into the half. Collecting the ball on the left, he bamboozled the defender with fantastic step overs down the edge of the 18-yard box and produced a great finish into the far corner.
Tristan Abrahams was brought on to add some more pace upfront replacing Sam Dalby and was involved almost instantly. He managed to rob the defender of possession before charging towards goal and seeing his shot deflected wide.
A third goal was inevitable and a perfectly-timed ball from Barker through to Koroma was lashed into the back of the net before the keeper could move. A fourth soon followed as Koroma finessed his way through the defenders, laying it across for Owusu who dinked the keeper with precision.
Sam Telling nearly scored his first ever goal for the club in the dying moments, with the left back striking a bullet shot off the bar.
Academy coach Danny Webb was once again full of praise for the players, but is wary of the remaining games, while also admitting his happiness at Clark being back in the fold.
“If were still up there in seven games time then it’s been perfect,” said Webb. “We haven’t conceded a goal in three games which means it’s going very well, and its great having Clarky (Michael Clark) back in the dressing room because he is a great lad and a good player.
“Alongside Aron Pollock, Dan Happe and Rian McLean, you’ve got not just good players, but excellent players at this level.
“It’s not too difficult to keep their heads on the ground, we’ve had a lot of these lads since they were 13-14 years old and they don’t get bored of winning or take it for granted.”
ORIENT: Sam Roach, Sam Telling, Aron Pollock (Henry Ochieng 87), Michael Clark (Dan Happe 45), Rian McLean, Charley Barker, Sam Alderson, Christian Owusu, Steven Alzate, Josh Koroma, Sam Dalby (Tristan Abrahams 65)
SUBS: Pat Adamson
GOALS: Josh Koroma (2), Steve Alzate, Christian Owusu