Essam captains Orient on return

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 December 2015

Leyton Orient defender Connor Essam continued his comeback from injury by playing in a friendly against Bishop's Stortford (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient defender Connor Essam continued his comeback from injury by playing in a friendly against Bishop's Stortford (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

Friendly match: Bishop’s Stortford 1 Leyton Orient 1

Leyton Orient defender Connor Essam continued his return from injury by playing 45 minutes in a friendly match against Bishop’s Stortford last night (Tuesday).

Head coach Ian Hendon watched from the stands alongside academy director Andy Edwards with Andy Hessenthaler on the touchline.

They saw the O’s take the lead against the National League South opposition early on before being pegged back midway through the first half.

Weather conditions worsened after the break and in the end both teams had to settle for a hard fought draw.

Hendon included first team players Charlie Grainger, Alan Dunne and Essam from the off for the match at the ProKit UK Stadium.

Freddy Moncur and Victor Adeboyejo, two youngsters who have featured on the bench numerous times already this year, also began the game.

Alongside them was five trialists all looking to impress with the January transfer window just around the corner.

On the bench for the O’s was Sandro Semedo, Jack Humphrey and Montel Agyemang – three players that have been on-loan to non league teams this season.

While goalkeeper Sam Roach, who trained with England’s under-16s during the summer of 2014, was also among the replacements alongside Aron Pollock.

Orient took the lead with 11 minutes on the clock when predictably a trialist crossed in for another trialist to head past Stortford goalkeeper Tom Lovelock – who started his career with the Brisbane Road outfit.

The hosts levelled in the 25th minute when captain Essam gave away a penalty, which was converted by former West Ham United youngster Kieran Bywater.

And that was how it remained until half time with Humphrey coming on for Essam during the interval.

Orient made their second change of the night 13 minutes into the second period with Semedo replacing a Trialist.

Two minutes later and Pollock was introduced in place of Dunne with the scores still level with an hour played.

Agyemang was the next Orient player to come on seven minutes later, replacing another trialists.

By now conditions had deteriorated with the rain pouring down at the ProKit UK Stadium and making it difficult for both sets of players.

With 14 minutes left first year scholar Roach replaced Grainger in the O’s goal as the weather carried on getting worst.

Roach was called upon a couple of times and produced some fine saves to ensure it would finish level.

A good exercise for Hendon and his team with Essam getting 45 minutes on his return from injury and a number of trialists getting the chance to impress.

Leyton Orient: Grainger (Roach 76), Dunne (Pollock 60), Ling, Essam (Humphrey 46), Trialist, Trialist (Semedo 58), Moncur, Trialist (Agyemang 67), Trialist, Adeboyejo, Trialist.

Unused substitutes:

Attendance: 154.

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