Leyton Orient U18s started the 2016-17 season as they left off the last, as Richard Thomas’ side recorded a 3-0 victory over Cambridge on Saturday morning.
Cambridge had the first chance of the game, coming extremely close to taking an early lead. The young O’s gave away a cheap free kick which resulted in Adam Chapel having a free header in the box but a brilliant reaction save from goalkeeper Sam Roach kept the score at 0-0.
Thomas’ side grew in confidence as the half went on, with intricate one touch passing around the box. The side deservedly took the 1-0 lead on 35 minutes, the goal coming through great individual play and the referee correctly awarding a penalty.
First year scholar Sam Dalby did brilliantly on the right hand side of the box, having the ability to turn his man, drive into the box and force a handball from a Cambridge defender.
Tristan Abrahams took on the responsibility of the spot kick and he slotted it calmly into the bottom corner.
As the second half drew on Orient became more dominant and influential in possession.
With 15 minutes to go Myles Judd crossed the ball from the right flank and substitute Andrew Tayaca timed his jump well in order to meet the cross, getting good contact on the ball but the keeper made an important save to deny him a goal.
Tayaca really made an impact after coming on in the 52nd minute for Ruel Sotiriou.
Cambridge had a chance to equalise as Rian McLean mis-timed his jump on the half way line allowing Matthew Foy to break through on goal. It seemed surely to lead to a goal but great recovery from the O’s defence, first from a Henry Ochieng tackle then excellent covering from Toby Stevenson to block the shot.
With eight minutes to go Orient doubled their lead, a well-timed ball across the box from captain Charley Barker was met perfectly by Abrahams who finished strongly giving the keeper no chance from five yards out.
Steven Alzate completed the scoring with a beautiful goal late on in the second half, the midfielder placed the ball perfectly into the top corner. A goal to top of an impressive performance on the day.
It was a deserved victory for Orient, scoring three goals and keeping a clean sheet, but coach Omer Riza knows there is more to come from this group of players.
“I think it went well today, but there’s still lots to work at. I think the first game we were a little bit nervous and a little bit rushed in our decision making. But in general we’ve broken them down and scored three goals but there’s still lots to work at.”
He admits there’s more work to do in training to improve the defensive set plays in order for the boys to have more confidence.
“We showed good resilience in respect of not letting a goal in but there were too many occasions where they could have scored a goal, on another day we could have been in trouble. It’s still early on and we need to make sure the boys are drilled a little bit more in the set pieces.”
The U18s play again next Saturday as they travel away to Barnet. Kick off at 10.30am
ORIENT: Sam Roach, Myles Judd, Toby Stevenson, Henry Ochieng, Dan Happe, Rian McLean, Steven Alzate, Charley Barker, Tristan Abrahams, Sam Dalby, Ruel Sotiriou (Andrew Tayaca 52)
SUBS: Teddy Perkins, Arthur Janata, Charles Clayden, Aaron Rowe
GOALS: Abrahams (2), Alzate