Orient and Southend share the spoils after Bonne and Alabi goals

Action from Leyton Orient vs Southend United

Action from Leyton Orient vs Southend United - Credit: Archant

Pre-season friendly: Leyton Orient 2 Southend United 2

Macauley Bonne and James Alabi both netted to help Leyton Orient fight back from behind to draw 2-2 with Southend United at the Breyer Group Stadium.

The League One outfit twice went ahead, but Justin Edinburgh saw two of his forwards find the net ahead of the new season which starts on August 4.

It was another good workout for Orient and they used 19 members of their squad to ensure everyone is fresh and ready to go heading into the National League campaign.

The O’s head coach picked a strong team as predicted and it looked very similar to what might be selected at Salford City on August 4.

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Dean Brill remained as number one while Sam Ling, Josh Coulson, George Elokobi and Joe Widdowson made up the back four.

Captain Jobi McAnuff started on the left with James Dayton in a central attacking role and Alex Lawless out on the right while Charlie Lee was the deepest of the midfield four.

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Up front were Bonne and Alabi while Edinburgh named nine people on the bench with Josh Koroma carrying a slight niggle.

In the Southend team were former Orient players Jason Demetriou and Michael Turner and in the sixth minute the latter fouled James Alabi when he was running into open space.

The free kick came to nothing though, and the opening exchanges went by without little to note until the eighth minute.

Stephen McLaughlin threaded a through ball to Theo Robinson and he briefly got away from Coulson, but the O’s defender got back close to the forward and deflected his effort wide.

Chris Powell’s team were continuing to enjoy more possession at the Breyer Group Stadium and took the lead with 14 on the clock.

Demetriou brought the ball forward and looked to pass into a team-mate, but Elokobi intercepted well.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers centre back then backed off of the ex-Orient wide-man and he took a touch before rifling a fine effort into the top corner.

It was an excellent strike, from fully 25-yards, but one that could have been avoided had Elokobi not switched off slightly.

Edinburgh’s side did respond well to the early setback and McAnuff saw an effort go wide following a deflection in the 20th minute.

After the shot, Southend began to get back on top and looked quicker to most second balls than Orient.

Powell’s side went close again in the 32nd minute when Tom Hopper was played in, but Brill came out quickly to save.

Minutes later, O’s switched formation from a midfield diamond to traditional 4-4-2 with McAnuff on the left and Dayton on the right.

It had an immediate effect with Ling getting forward well from full-back and having an effort deflected wide.

From the resulting corner, Dayton produced a dangerous ball into the area, but at the back post Elokobi was unable to get significant touch.

The rest of the first half was played out without many more chances as it finished 1-0 to the visitors at the break.

Orient made two changes at half time with Craig Clay and James Brophy coming on for Lee and Dayton.

Southend introduced Simon Cox for Theo Robinson and young goalkeeper Nathan Bishop for Mark Oxley and it wasn’t long before he had to pick the ball out of his net.

Alabi turned well inside the area and was brought down by Harry Lennon leaving referee Alan Young no choice but to point to the spot.

Up stepped Bonne and Orient’s top goalscorer from last season slotted home coolly to make it 1-1 in the 50th minute.

The away side hit back three minutes later when McLaughlin turned well, but he could only fire wide from the edge of the area.

Powell watched his team go even closer with 56 on the clock when Ben Coker bombed forward from left-back.

The Blues defender crossed into the area and Elokobi sliced his clearance and it fell for McLaughlin, but the winger curled an effort against the crossbar from 14-yards.

Southend were beginning to dominate again and Turner should have done better with a headed effort just after the hour mark.

It didn’t come back to haunt the League One side too much as in the 63rd minute they went back in front.

Cox was given too much time on the ball and saw a chipped effort beat Brill and hit the crossbar, but fortunately for Southend Hopper was on hand to head home from close range with O’s custodian unable to get up quick enough.

Another was made by the visitors in the 65th minute when Demetriou was replaced by Bwomono and left the pitch to warm applause from the home faithful.

Both sides continued to make substitutions with David Mooney and Myles Judd coming on for Bonne and Widdowson.

In the meantime, Southend went close to scoring a third with 72 minutes gone when a long ball caused problems for Orient.

Brill could only punch a couple of yards away from his area and the ball was worked to Cox, but Coulson slide in superbly to deflect the effort over.

Then minutes later O’s were presented with an opportunity, almost from nothing, and they made the most of it.

A ball was knocked forward and Alabi showed great pace and awareness to get away from Turner and curl into the corner from 20-yards in the 77th minute.

The summer signing celebrated enthusiastically and it seemed clear his first goal on home soil meant a lot to him.

It was his last contribution of the match as Ruel Sotiriou replaced him two minutes later before Orient threatened again and McAnuff saw an effort blocked behind for a corner.

O’s introduced Marvin Ekpiteta and Dan Happe before the set-piece as the changes kept on coming.

Edinburgh brought on teenager Shadrach Ogie with seconds left to give him a home debut before the full time whistle was blown.

Although the flow of the second half had been disrupted by substitutions, Orient had fought back to finish the summer with a 2-2 draw.

Next up for O’s is the National League opener on August 4 at Salford City where they will look to start strongly.

Leyton Orient: Brill; Ling (Ogie 90), Coulson (Happe 82), Elokobi (Ekpiteta 82), Widdowson (Judd 74); Lee (Clay 46); Lawless, McAnuff; Dayton (Brophy 46); Bonne (Mooney 71), Alabi (Sotiriou 79).

Unused substitutes: Sargeant.

Southend United: Oxley (Bishop 46); Demetriou (Bwomono 65), Turner, Lennon (White 75), Coker; Kightly, Mantom, Hym, McLaughlin (Ba 75); Hopper (Klass 85), Robinson (Cox 46).

Unused substitutes: Kyprianou, Hendrie, Batlokwa, Gard.

Attendance 1,542 (269 Southend United supporters).

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