Three second-half goals help O’s earn another pre-season victory

Leyton Orient and East Thurrock players walk out at Rookery Hill (pic: George Sessions).

Leyton Orient and East Thurrock players walk out at Rookery Hill (pic: George Sessions). - Credit: Archant

Pre-season friendly: East Thurrock United 0 Leyton Orient 4

Leyton Orient secured a second pre-season win of the summer with a solid display in a 4-0 win at East Thurrock United this evening.

The O’s need over half an hour to break the deadlock at Rookery Hill, but once they did there was only ever going to be one winner.

Macauley Bonne, David Mooney and Josh Koroma all netted to give boss Justin Edinburgh a nice selection headache going into the season opener on August 4 at Salford City.

Next up for Orient is a trip to another National League South side, in the shape of Sammy Moore’s Concord Rangers, where they will aim to register a third pre-season win and give their supporters more encouraging ahead of the new campaign.

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Edinburgh was without Sam Sargeant and Sam Ling due to illness while Ruel Sotiriou couldn’t shake off the groin injury he picked up against Benfica B to feature.

The O’s head coach named a strong starting XI at Rookery Hill with most of the team first-teamers, but under-18 wide-man Charles Clayden earned another opportunity just like he did at Harlow Town on July 7.

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Orient got proceedings underway with Martin Ling, Matt Porter and Kent Teague all in attendance.

It took only three minutes for the visitors to have their first effort of note, but Bonne volleyed over.

Two minutes later and the east Londoners created another opportunity as they won a free kick right on the edge.

Charlie Lee’s shot was deflected up in the air, however, and it was an easy take for one-time O’s trainee goalkeeper Jack Giddens.

Orient continued to dictate possession and show their superiority and wasted another chance with 11 on the clock.

After a sustained spell of possession, Craig Clay thread the ball through to Mooney, but instead of looking to beat Giddens, he tried to square for Bonne and the opportunity was wasted.

The game settled down a touch after the aforementioned opening, but more good play occurred in the 21st minute.

Dean Brill’s pass asked a lot of George Elokobi, yet he kept the ball in and found Clayden on the left.

O’s academy ace crossed into the penalty area with Bonne the target, but the Orient forward poked wide on the stretch and the offside flag was raised anyway.

It was the start of another purple patch for Edinburgh’s team and their leading hitman last season was involved again three minutes later.

James Dayton was given too much space and he put Bonne through, but Giddens made himself big and denied the striker.

Orient had produced plenty of neat moves and yet were given a helping hand by East Thurrock in the 26th minute.

Sam Higgins passed back to his goalkeeper without looking and played the perfect ball to Mooney, but the experienced attacker drilled wide.

The chances continued to come and Clayden was the next to go close as he cut inside from the left and tested Giddens from 14-yards.

Still, with half an hour gone at Rookery Hill it remained goalless and O’s were starting to force the issue a tad too much.

Fortunately for the National League club they did finally made the breakthrough in the 34th minute.

Charlie Lee, captaining the side, floated a ball into the area and Bonne got away from his marker to head into the corner.

It was fully deserved for Orient and as half time approached, they were looking to add to their tally.

While doing that, East Thurrock almost levelled five minutes before the break when O’s back four was caught on their heels.

Paul Konchesky, formerly of West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, lifted the ball over the top for Higgins and he headed home.

Luckily for Orient the offside flag was up, but it boosted the home side and John Coventry’s team finished the half strongly.

Lewis Knight went close in the 42nd minute when he was picked out by Konchesky from a corner, but blazed over on the volley from a tight angle.

Higgins was the next East Thurrock player to try his luck moments later from 20-yards, yet he fired over and the half was brought to a close soon after.

The hosts got the second period underway and threatened first in the 51st minute when Higgins produced some textbook centre forward play.

He controlled the ball well and spread the play out to full-back Lee Burns, and he managed to get the ball back to Higgins who fired first time towards Brill’s goal, but the Orient custodian got down well to tip wide from 20-yards.

It was the start of an encouraging spell for East Thurrock, with Tom Derry causing the O’s back four a few problems.

Yet just as the hosts thought they were edging closer to a route back into the friendly, Orient doubled their advantage.

Bonne got up well to flick the ball on and Mooney produced another lob, after doing the same against Benfica B on Saturday, to make it 2-0 in the 58th minute.

Three minutes later, just past the hour mark, Edinburgh made a raft of changes and introduced 10 players.

One of those coming on was Marvin Ekpiteta, who signed for Orient in January after a successful couple of years with the Rocks.

Edinburgh also brought on youngsters Shadrach Ogie, Hector Kyprianou and Ernold Haxiu, who are all part of Peter Gill’s under-18 squad.

Ekpiteta’s first few touches were jeered by the East Thurrock supporters in jest before the stadium announcer urged home fans to give ‘the old boy a big cheer’ as the sun set at Rookery Hill.

It didn’t take long for some of the substitutes to make their mark as O’s grabbed a third in the 68th minute.

Ogie brought the ball forward well and played a neat pass into Koroma and his first touch was excellent to take him away from the defender and although Giddens got a strong hand to his effort, the ball still found the back of the net.

It was the teenager attacker’s fifth goal of pre-season from three matches and continued his superb start to the new campaign.

Four minutes later and Koroma almost grabbed another when Alex Lawless, in the unusual position of right-back, intercepted the ball well and played a quick one-two with skipper Jobi McAnuff.

Lawless then cut the ball back for Orient’s number 19 and after getting the ball out of his feet, he fired towards goal, but curled inches wide.

Koroma was threatening to run riot and in the 74th minute hit the crossbar after more good play by Lawless.

The auxiliary right-back got on the ball again and found Koroma, who cut inside and let fly with his left and skimmed the crossbar.

East Thurrock did nearly force Brill into action in the 85th minute when substitute Danillo Dadamo controlled a pass inside the area, but Lawless slide in to thwart the danger and continue his encouraging display in defence.

Three minutes late rand another goal did occur and it went to the O’s as McAnuff got in behind the home defence and his cross was diverted into his own net unluckily by Lewis Knight.

It was essentially the last action of the match as the full time whistle followed moments later to give Orient another win.

Edinburgh’s team will head to Concord Rangers next where they can expect to come up against a number of familiar faces.

Leyton Orient: Brill; Judd (Lawless 61), Coulson (Ekpiteta 61), Elokobi (Happe 61), Widdowson (Ogie 61); Dayton (McAnuff 61), Lee (Haxiu 61), Clay (Kyprianou 61), Clayden (Brophy 61); Bonne (Alabi 61), Mooney (Koroma 61).

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