McCallum scorcher settles close pre-season affair at SouthendPaul McCallum’s first-half wonder strike was enough to hand Leyton Orient a 1-0 win at Southend United in the O’s final pre-season fixture.
The 22-year-old scored the only goal of the match with a rasping drive from 30-yards before the O’s weathered a tough second half to win at Roots Hall.
Ahead of the tie Orient Head Coach Ian Hendon named a completely different starting XI to the team that won at Bishop’s Stortford, as Sean Clohessy captained the side against another of his former teams.
Following a quick start to the match it was Orient winger Dean Cox who had the first chance for Orient as he tried his luck from distance only to see his effort fly over the bar.
It was the O’s who definitely started the brighter of the sides and Ian Hendon’s side nearly opened the scoring in spectacular fashion on the eighth minute.
After regaining possession just inside their own half, Orient hit Southend on the counter and Sean Clohessy delivered a ball to the far post for Paul McCallum who headed it back across goal for Jay Simpson but the O’s striker was unable to apply the finishing touch.
Having maintained the early pressure, the O's then had the ball in the back of the net on the 21st minute when McCallum fired a left footed effort beyond Dan Bentley in the Shrimper’s goal but the flag was raised for offside.
Moments later however McCallum was not to be denied however as he opened the scoring in spectacular fashion to register his sixth goal of pre-season.
Having collected a loose pass inside the Southend half, the O’s striker brought the ball forward before unleashing a wonderful strike from distance that dipped at the last second to drop just under the crossbar.
It was the hosts who responded strongly after the goal however as Cian Bolger first sent a header narrowly wide before former Orient striker David Mooney and midfielder Jack Payne fired shots wide.
After weathering the brief storm Orient soon regained control of the tie and Simpson saw an effort deflect just wide for a corner which was the final chance of the first half.
Straight after the restart Orient goalkeeper Alex Cisak pulled off a wonderful stop to deny Southend an equaliser as he reacted superbly to keep out Payne’s close range effort.
Cisak was then called into action moments later as Southend substitute Noel Hunt drilled a low shot which the O’s stopper managed to gather at the second attempt.
The O’s were then dealt a blow early into the second half as goalscorer McCallum was forced off with a slight injury, resulting in a change in formation as Scott Kashket came on to line up on the right of a 4-5-1 with Simpson leading the attack.
As the match approach the 60th minute Hunt then had a great chance to level the score as he ghosted in at the back post but the forward was unable to get anything on the cross.
Unlike the first half it was the hosts were looking much more in the ascendancy and it was Michael Timlin who came close for Southend next as he curled a left-footed effort just over the bar.
Moments later Mooney had a great chance for Southend when Bradley Pritchard was then caught on the ball deep inside his own half and Payne picked out the run of Irishman who looked odds-on to score but could only roll a shot wide of the far post.
The Southend chances showed no signs of easing up as the half wore on and with just over ten minutes remaining Southend’s David Worrall broke away down the left before cutting inside the penalty area and seeing a low shot parried away by Cisak before Frazer Shaw cleared the danger.
Despite being pegged back inside their own half, Orient were managing to perverse their narrow advantage and with six minutes remaining Luke Prosser rose highest to direct a corner towards the bottom corner but Lloyd James was well positioned to clear off the line.
Southend continued to throw bodies forward but the O's remained resolute and held on for the clean sheet to wrap up their pre-season campaign with four successive victories.
SOUTHEND: Bentley, White (C), Barrett, Bolger, Coker (Prosser 75), Atkinson (Leonard 75), Payne (Worrall 71), Deegan (Wordsworth 75), Hurst (Timlin 61), Mooney, Weston (Hunt HT)
ORIENT: Cisak, Clohessy, Baudry, Essam, Shaw, James, Moore, Pritchard, Cox, Simpson, McCallum (Kashket 50)
SUBS: Grainger, Parkinson, Ling, Agyemang, Moncur, Semedo, Turgott, Palmer
GOALS: McCallum (24)