Cray Wanderers 2-2 Leyton Orient - It was better than any training session that we could put on, says Tony Russell

Tuesday 26th July 2016
Cray Wanderers 2 – 2 Leyton Orient
Location Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF
Kickoff 26/07/2016 19:45

Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday 26th July 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

CRAY WANDERERS manager Tony Russell says he’s feeling reasonably happy with his side’s unbeaten start to their pre-season campaign.

The Wands opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Welling United, before they defeated Aveley (2-0), Bearsted (2-1), Erith Town (3-0) and Lordswood (1-0).

League Two outfit Leyton Orient sent a talented young side to Hayes Lane and a crowd of 157 witnessed an entertaining game.

Leyton Orient opened the scoring inside the opening six minutes through winger Steven Alzate, before Cray Wanderers equalised in the second half through Karl Dent’s finish.

Leyton Orient regained the lead within three minutes through striker Tristian Abrahams but former Erith Town striker Ben Mundele ensured the game finished  all-square in Bromley.

Russell said: “There were three young pros in their as well. I think it was a really good game and probably for the first pre-season game we got loads from that because for the rest of them we had quite a lot of the ball. There were times tonight where we got pulled about a bit and it gave us something to work on and talk about so loads of positives out of that.

“It was a real good work-out as well.  Their manager said both sides were pretty knackered at the end. It was a high tempo and I thought some real high quality in there. It was better than any training session that we could put on.”

Cray Wanderers, who finished in the top-four in the Ryman League Division One North last season, going down to a 3-0 defeat at Harlow Town in the play-off Semi-Finals, created the first chance after 96 seconds.

Grant Basey slammed his free-kick into the base of the wall and Lea Dawson looped his left-footed shot over the crossbar.

Leyton Orient opened the scoring with five minutes and 18 seconds on the clock.

The O’s linked up well down the right and Charley Barker played the ball into Patrick Adamson, who dinked a pass through to Alzate, who danced past advancing keeper Nick Blue to steer his shot into the bottom far corner.

Russell said: “It was a shame because we came out of the blocks fast. It was all us wasn’t it? We pinned them in, Bluey’s disappointed with that.  I think he half thought he was going to get smashed. I thought he half pulled out of it. Sometimes in pre-season you have that mind-set where you don’t want to get injured for the season. If that was a league game he would’ve won that 50-50 rather than hall pull out of it.”

Cray Wanderers were struggling to touch the ball at times as Leyton Orient outclassed their part-time opposition.

Abrahams was in the eye of the move down the left as slick passing involved Adamson and Barker, before Abrahams played the ball inside for central midfielder Henry Ochieng to flash his shot past the left-hand post from 22-yards.

Cray Wanderers took 16 minutes to create their first opening, calling visiting keeper Sam Roach into making a comfortable save.

Joel Ledgister roamed down the left wing and played in a low centre for Sean Roberts, who stroked his 25-yard drive towards goal, saved comfortably by the Orient keeper.

Basey played a suicidal back-pass from his left-back position, which gifted the ball to Abrahams inside the Cray Wanderers penalty area, but Jai McKinlay saved the day with a fine block.

“Basey, to be fair, he’s had a knee problem,” explained Russell. “He played 45 minutes against Lordswood and that’s all he’s done really. He ain’t done no running or nothing. He’s only just coming back from a knee problem so he’s a little behind everyone else in terms of fitness, he’s a bit rusty.  He was disappointed to come off at half-time because he wanted more minutes but what I didn’t want to do was get him knackered and strain that knee again. We’ve got a game on Friday so hopefully he’ll have 90 minutes.”

Goalkeeper Nick Blue saved a driven shot from Sam Dalby, which deflected off Jay Leader,  before the Cray keeper palmed over Abraham’s left-footed drive from 25-yards.

“It was a decent save, but a keeper of Bluey’s quality, I expect him to save that,” added Russell.”

Cray were chasing shadows and Leyton Orient’s left-back Toby Stevenson played the ball into Abrahams’ whose pass went to Dalby, but he hit his shot straight at Blue from 20-yards.

Cray Wanderers squandered an excellent chance to grab an equaliser in the 34th minute.

Danny Haynes raced down the left and his low centre flashed across the face of goal towards an unmarked Ledgister at the far post but he steered his first time shot agonisingly past the near post from four-yards out.

“I thought we came out of the traps well and started playing and the goal sort of knocked us for six a little bit,” admitted Russell.

“Then it was like they switched formation and we wasn’t really doing anything and then we started getting into the game again.

“It was a lovely move, we got it out wide. You’ve got a better angle than me but I didn’t know if he should’ve done better than that but it looked a great ball and I thought he was just going to side-foot it in but it’s hard to tell from my angle if it was a tight angle or not.”

Cray Wanderers finished the first half on the front foot.

McKinlay played the ball out of defence and Dent’s flicked pass went to Haynes (who has signed following his release from National League South side Ebbsfleet United) and the pair exchanged passes but Haynes first time shot ballooned over the crossbar from 16-yards.

A sublime through ball from makeshift right-back Taylor McDonagh put Haynes through on goal but all he could do was steer a low shot which was saved by Roach in the Leyton Orient goal.

When asked his thoughts at the break, Russell added: “I thought we didn’t cope very well when they switched formation halfway through the first half so we spoke about that really.  We just spoke to them, more about the game management really so we worked on different ways of how we’re going to play in terms of positioning and movement.”

More slick passing from Leyton Orient down the left saw the ball come out to substitute Sam Alderson, whose right-footed shot was hit straight at Blue from the edge of the penalty box.

But Cray Wanderers were to be denied an equaliser when Haynes cut in from the right and played a one-two with sub Seedy Njie (Sid to his mates) before his right-footed drive from 18-yards kissed the top of the crossbar before going behind for a goal-kick.

Russell said: “Good move, nice and sharp.  We were playing the diamond formation and we were saying it’s so congested in there, suck them in and try to switch the play.

“That was the first time we started to manipulate their formation and caused them a few problems. I was happy with the reaction.”

Haynes swung in the home side’s third and final corner, which was hit deep and Dawson looped his towering header over the crossbar.

Cray Wanderers’ central defender Leader gave the ball away to Abraham, who took a touch and drove a left-footed drive towards the far corner, which forced Blue to dive to his left to tip the ball around the post for one of Orient’s ten corners of the night.

Alderson swung in the resulting corner from the right which came out to Harpe, the central defender’s drive bringing a comfortable low save from the keeper.

But Cray Wanderers levelled things up with 59 minutes on the clock.

Haynes sprinted down the right and played the ball to Njie, who ran into a brick wall on the edge of the penalty area.  He cut the ball to Dent, who drilled his left-footed angled drive past a struggling Roach, the ball nestling inside the bottom near corner.

“We call him Sid because I’m like you, I don’t want to keep on saying it (Seedy).

“It was nice. Sid gives you that, he’s so strong. He was at Southend as a young pro, lost his way a little bit and we got him here. He’s a beast of a man.  He’s really strong, but I was talking to him about peeling centre halves and we play off him.  We brought him on second half and that’s exactly what he was doing. He was pinning them and giving a platform for the boys to come onto.  You’ve seen Denty over the years, get him in and around the box and he’s very dangerous and duly he took his goal.”

Roach, however, made amends when he held onto Haynes’ low angled drive as it skidded off the lush playing surface.

But Leyton Orient took the lead for the second time through Abraham’s fine strike in the 62nd minute.

Central defender Harpe was allowed to venture over the halfway line before playing an inch-perfect through ball, which was hit perfectly by Abraham, flying into the far corner of the net.

Russell said: “Disappointed form our point of view because Sid let their centre half just walk into midfield and we always have our jobs and when someone comes in whose an overload it caused us all sorts and to be fair we let him go. They’ve got some really good players and it was a lovely move and it was an excellent finish as well.”

Blue was called into action again as Dalby hit a shot from outside the penalty area, but Cray Wanderers deservedly claimed a draw with 11 minutes left.

Cray Wanderers hit Leyton Orient on the break and Roberts played an even better inch-perfect through ball which was swept first time by substitute Mundele, underneath the advancing substitute keeper Artur Janata, rolling into the bottom right-hand corner of an empty net from 22-yards.

“I just think the goal, it came from their corner and we broke. One touch out from the full-back into Sean, lovely ball, weight of pass, first time finish. It was very clinical and it was probably the goal of the match,” said Russell.

“We opened them up really well, we opened them up with movement and with a lovely weight of pass.  The surface helps, they’ve put a bit of water on for us as well so it made for a good game as well so I was pleased with that.”

Leyton Orient were to be denied by Blue’s brilliant save in the last minute following a short corner.

Adamson played the corner short to Alderson, who floated in the cross into the middle of the six-yard box and substitute central defender Michael Clarke planted his header over Blue’s right-shoulder, the keeper pulling off a brilliant save to prevent the ball crashing into his net.

“He’ll be disappointed he ain’t scored but from Bluey’s point of view, brilliant it was, very Schmeichel-esque. He spread himself point-blank header.

“Poor from us, the marking, but by that stage I don’t think half of them were thinking. They were shattered, we;ve got some tired bodies in there and just switched off.  That’s the levels, if you switch off usually you get punished. Luckily enough we’ve got a goalkeeper in Nick Blue who kept it out.”

Orient had one more chance to claim the victory, Dalby dragging his shot past the far post after cutting in from the left.

Russell added: “If you look at it, I think we’ve had more chances than them. Bluey’s made a couple of saves but I think we’ve had more chances in the first half.   I wouldn’t say they had most of the ball. I thought they probably edged it. We gave as good as we got if I’m honest. It was a good game of football but the good thing is we’ve got six missing.”

Russell takes his side to Glebe on Friday; Cray Valley (3 August) and Lowestoft Town (6 August), before kicking off their league campaign with a home clash against Sittingbourne on 13 August.

Russell said: “We’re in Thursday because I want to get them used to working on things, getting habits, so we’ll train on Thursday night and work on what we’re going to do at Glebe. It will be a lot different at Glebe. They’re going to have a game plan and we’ve got to try to come out and try to negate that.

“Cray Valley game will be good. James Collins is one of my best mates in football so looking forward to seeing him. He’s got a good side down there. I have a lot of faith in him and he’ll have a really good side and Leigh Bremner’s down there, one of our old boys, so it will be nice to see him as well.”

Russell revealed he is keen to bring in a new striker after Bremner decided to drop down a division.

“I think we need to bring one in, I’m desperate to try to bring a forward in.  At this time club’s cut the numbers and a good forward may be available, I don’t know. We’re not panicking about it. I’m more than happy with everything else but I am looking out for a forward.”

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Taylor McDonagh, Grant Basey (Timi Osibodu 46), Jay Leader, Jai McKinlay, Lea Dawson, Sean Roberts, Solomon Taiwo, Joel Ledgister (Seedy Njie 46), Karl Dent (Ben Mundele 64), Danny Haynes (Anthony Adesite 64).
Sub: Paul Lorraine

Goals: Karl Dent 59, Ben Mundele 79

Leyton Orient: Sam Roach (Artur Janata 74), Andrew Tayaca, Toby Stevenson, Henry Ochieng (Victor Adeboyago 64), Rian McLean, Dan Harpe (Teddy Perkins 63), Steven Alzate, Charley Barker (Sam Alderson 46), Tristian Abrahams (Michael Clarke 63), Sam Dalby, Patrick Adamson.
Sub: Ruel Sotirloo

Goals: Steven Alzate 6, Tristian Abrahams 62

Attendance: 157
Referee: Mr Peter Killip (West Norwood, London SE27)
Assistants: Mr Ronald Albert (Catford, London SE6) & Mr Andrey Lashchikov (Clapham Junction, London  SW11)