The O’s under-18s kept up their unbeaten start to the season with a 5-0 victory over Gillingham on Saturday, as Tristan Abrahams continued his rich vein of form with a hat-trick.
Abrahams produced another clinical display to make it seven goals in three games, whilst a Steven Alzate strike and an own goal capped a fine day for Richard Thomas’ side.
For the visit of Gillingham the O’s were without two second-year scholars as regular goalkeeper Sam Roach missed out due his loan move to Essex Senior League side Barkingside, along with forward Josh Koroma who had been called up for the first-team’s trip to Grimsby Town.
From the off Orient had a handful of chances, with Pat Adamson having the best opportunity one-on-one with the keeper who made a good save.
Gillingham came very close to going 1-0 up, and had the ball in the back of net but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Tristan Abrahams then opened the scoring on 29 minutes after intelligent team play. A quick free-kick was delivered into Sam Dalby who showed great strength to control well and hold it up for captain Charley Barker to collect the ball and pick out Abrahams, who took a touch and set himself up for the volley, which the keeper had no chance of saving.
Minutes later the O’s made it 2-0. Dalby came close to scoring himself after great play down the right hand side with Steven Alzate, turning the defender and sliding the ball into the box towards the far post which was subsequently turned in by a Gillingham defender.
After the break the young O’s wasted no time in adding to their lead. Dalby’s hold up play was key once again to the attack, as the first-year scholar played in Abrahams who was able to double his tally with a simple finish.
Richard Thomas’ side then scored another two goals in quick succession. Barker drove into the box but was challenged before he could get a shot away, though fortunately the ball fell to the feet of Alzate who kept his composure to calmly place a shot into the back of the net.
The O’s and Abrahams then rounded the match off in style as the striker added a fifth to completed his hat-trick.
Having a dominant lead, Orient brought on 14-year-old Bradley McClenaghan for his first appearance at U18s. The young midfielder came off the bench for the final 15 minutes and held his own.
Yet again Orient dominated their opposition, with the boys growing in confidence as the game progressed and they took their chances well to make it three wins in as many games.
Following the victory Academy Manager Richard Thomas expressed the importance of the team settling their nerves early on and getting into their style of play.
“We played very good and relaxed football at 3-0 but my big challenge for them is for them to play that way and that style of football at 0-0,” he said. “I’ve been very pleased with the boys throughout pre-season and up until now.”
With 12 goals scored in three games, Thomas can see the work in training is paying off for his team. “The goals are a reflection of a lot of time spent on the training ground and I am really pleased to see that work coming out in the games. That’s a big progression for us.”
ORIENT: Arthur Janata, Myles Judd, Toby Stevenson (Andrew Tayaca 70), Henry Ochieng (Ruel Sotiriou 68), Dan Happe (Teddy Perkins 68), Rian McLean, Steven Alzate, Charley Barker (Bradley McClenaghan 75), Tristan Abrahams, Sam Dalby, Pat Adamson
SUBS: Sam Amadu
GOALS: Abrahams (3), Alzate, own goal