Greenwich Borough 0-4 Leyton Orient - It's been challenging but I'm really looking forward to the challenge and I can't wait for the first game of the season, says Greenwich Borough boss Luke Medley

Monday 30th July 2018
Greenwich Borough 0 – 4 Leyton Orient
Location Badgers Sports Ground, Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, London SE9 5HT
Kickoff 30/07/2018 19:45

Pre-Season Friendly
Monday 30 July 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Middle Park Avenue

GREENWICH BOROUGH manager Luke Medley says his side will look at the video of tonight’s game and put in the work on the training ground ahead of his first league game in charge of the club on 11 August.

The Borough, who finished in fourth-place in the table last season, are much-changed with a new manager working under new owners with a mainly young squad of players and Medley knows his side must improve ahead of their Bostik South East opener against Cray Wanderers here on the opening day of the season.

Leyton Orient, who finished in thirteenth-place in the Vanarama National League last season, comfortably raced into a 3-0 lead inside the opening 29 minutes, courtesy of strikers Ruel Sotiriou and David Mooney (who scored twice).

The O’s kick-off their new campaign with a trip to big-spending title favourites and newly-promoted side Salford City on Saturday.

Medley cast his eye on 19 of the 22 players that were available to him tonight and the O’s notched a fourth goal at the death through substitute Brendan Shabani.

“Coming up against a team that’s full-time, you’re going to find yourselves coming unstuck at times due to fitness and the technical aspect of the game when they train every day, but I thought we applied ourselves well,” said Medley, 29.

“I think the first three goals are from our mistakes.  They didn’t really carve us open. We gave the ball away especially in midfield where they had some good players in there, technically good, who looked to unlock the opposition.

“We done ok. Four-nil is a good result for the away team but I thought we applied ourselves well, especially in the second half.  I made a few changes and people showed what they can do and that’s what I’m looking for.”

Greenwich Borough kept the ball on the deck during a frenetic opening part of the game but their defensive frailties were punished by full-time opposition.

Shadrach Ogie threw the ball to Amin Benyoucef, who set up Alfie Fleming, whose first time shot was dragged past the far post from 25-yards.

Poor defending from Greenwich Borough left-back Connor Peters was punished as Ross Embleton’s side took the lead with 10 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock.

Peters was pressed by Fleming, who played a first time pass to release Mooney down the right and he swept the ball across the face of goal towards the far post for Sotiriou to turn the ball in past Jordan Carey.

“It was a bit out of character.  Connor is a good player on the ball, possibly nerves,” said Medley.

“I stress to my team the importance of ball control. When a player has the ball he needs options very quickly especially with this team today. They’re not going to give you time on the ball and any mistakes you’re going to get punished and that’s exactly what happened.

“But moving forward it was a good test for our boys and we’re not going to come up against an opponent like that in the Bostik, so if we can go out with that mindset like we’re playing against a team like that, we’ll be ok.”

Leyton Orient were clinical in front of goal as they doubled their lead with 19 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock.

The O’s dominated the middle of the park as Greenwich’s Laurent Mendy often strode forward and left gaps in behind and Amin Benyoucef exploited the space left in behind and played the ball into Sotiriou who teed up Mooney, whose dink over Carey from 12-yards was sublime and dropped in at the far post.

“Fantastic finish,” hailed Medley.

“I thought we were too far off.  I think with teams like that they are going to move the ball, you’ve got to be switched on and tight. We gave them too much respect in that regard and possibly a bit lazy but they were quick in there and they found space very well and found pockets and we just didn’t match them with that one there.”

The home side offered very little in attacking threat in the first half. Despite Mendy’s regular run’s forward, striker De’Jaune Taylor-Crossdale struggled to trouble a resilient Leyton Orient back four, well-marshalled by man-mountain Marvin Ekpiteta.

The home side created a half-chance when Malachi Field threw the ball into the box for Mendy to flick his near post header wide.

Medley called for “end product” from left-winger Ryan King-Elliott, whose burst of energy took him to the by-line before running the ball out of play.

Greenwich Borough centre-half Mo Kamara endured a poor first half and his poor defending cost his side a third goal, timed at 28 minutes and 50 seconds.

Kamara lost the ball some 35-yards from goal to Sotiriou, who strode into the box and was denied by Carey making a smart block by sticking out his left-leg.  The rebound was tucked home by Mooney eight-yards from goal.

“It was a fantastic save from Jordan, that’s the positive that I’ll take from that situation,” said Medley.

“Young naïve decision making from Mo.  Yes, I want my centre halves to play but he’s got two Leyton Orient strikers pressing him there and he’s trying to bring the ball down there.  Unfortunately, Mo made the wrong decision at that time.

“The positive I took from that was Jordan made a good one-on-one save and Mooney’s there to tuck it in.

“A poor decision from Mo, another learning curve but because it will be similar in the Bostik, you make decisions like that you’ll get punished and I take the positives from that, Jordan’s save and hopefully Mo will learn from that.”

Kamara escaped punishment from referee Jack Bonnick after putting one on Benyoucef close to the right by-line five minutes before half-time, before Greenwich Borough created their only shot on target.

Amadu Warity cut inside and swept his low 20-yard shot towards goal, which was comfortably picked up by visiting keeper San Sargeant.

“I said to the boys we lacked creativity throughout the whole game today,” admitted Medley.

“I thought the boys (at the back, Kamara and Jahmal King) dealt with headers well because they’re going to get that in the Bostik and they done well.

“In midfield, we showed glimpses of what we can do. Leyton Orient were very good pressing us, they gave us no time. The front three that’s the end part of the game we’re looking for end product.  Possibly nerves, it just didn’t work for us today but we’ll go back to training and we’ll work on things. There’s good players, a bit of coaching.  I like my front three to be free and express themselves in the final third.”

Reflecting on his half-time thoughts, Medley said: “Firstly, I said how did they score? Possibly three mistakes and I stressed you miss-control the ball and when the moves are over you get punished at any level.

“I said keep your confidence, let’s keep glimpses of good possession. 

“Yes, we went a goal down but I want the players to stay together and you find yourselves 3-0 down at half-time, what’s your character like now? Are you going to fight or are you going to carry on and that was the message.

“I said we’ll take the positives from that, they’re full-time, I had to stress that to them but some of them want to be in that place so what are they doing away from the club to be able to match them?”

Daniel Happe came up from the back to head into Carey’s hands for a comfortable save after Ernold Haxhiu’s deep corner inside the opening six minutes of the second half.

Greenwich Borough’s holding midfielder Solomon Taiwo drilled his right-footed free-kick high over the crossbar from 25-yards from the left-hand side, before creating their best chance in the 57th minute.

Right-back Malachi Field reached the right-channel before cutting the ball back for substitute right-winger Teshuane Walters, who swept a dipping left-footed shot just over the crossbar from 20-yards.

Walters impressed for the 28 minutes that he was on the pitch before being forced off through a bad back.

“TT was bright when he came on, fantastic! He’s only a young boy, only 18-years-old, great player, great potential,” said Medley.

“He came on and showed a lot of positivity. He was dropping in, taking players on, making things happen and that’s what I want from players like that. He’s young, energetic and he done himself no harm today with his performance.”

Leyton Orient substitute Jaedon Phillips cut in from the left wing into the penalty area but his shot rolled into Carey’s hands.

The introduction of holding midfielder Xavier Vidal strengthened Greenwich Borough’s defensive shape and there were not many further chances created as Medley kept making substitutions during the course of the half.

Charles Clayden swung in a deep free-kick from the left wing towards Mooney, whose chip was palmed away by Carey, high to his right in the final 10 minutes of an uninspiring half.

Erin Bitsi came off the bench and drilled a powerful drive from 30-yards, which deflected past the left-hand post for the home side before they were denied a second half clean sheet as Leyton Orient wrapped up a comfortable night’s work with 44 minutes and 17 seconds on the clock.

Substitute Brendan Shabani’s shot from the corner of the penalty area trickled across Carey and nestled into the bottom far corner to rattle in their fourth goal of the night.

“They played a long ball in, effective. Their striker was good.  We had tired legs right at the end.  Again, their going to get that,” added Medley.

“It’s a shame. We wanted to keep a clean sheet in the second half. They were in control and they knew what they were doing but we showed glimpses of what we can do.  It’s such a shame we conceded so late but they’re going to learn. We’ll watch the video back and see where we went wrong and try to fix it.”

Greenwich Borough welcome Heybridge Swifts to Middle Park Avenue on Thursday night, before travelling to Chipstead (Surrey) next Tuesday 7 August.

Greenwich Borough then host Cray Wanderers on the opening day of the new season and Medley needs to work with his young players to ensure they are ready to play Tony Russell’s side.

“I’ve been at this level playing for the last four years so I know this standard,” said Medley, as he prepares to face his former club.

“I’ve got a certain way of ethos and philosophy and the club shares that so it’s been challenging getting players to do what I want them to do and possibly they might not be at this standard but we need to coach them and see where they’re weak and where their positives are and work on the positives as well so that’s important.

“It’s been challenging but I’m looking forward to the challenge and I can’t wait for the first game of the season, it’s exciting.”

When asked what is missing from his current squad, Medley replied: “What’s missing? Possibly a number nine – I’m injured so I can’t play – one more centre half so that’s where we need to strengthen.”

There was a huge gap between full-time footballers and their part-time counterparts in this game.

Medley said: “I think it was a great run out for our boys today, a fantastic test.  Some of them want to be full-time. They want to be professional footballers and that’s the standard, they’ve seen it and been up against it, what they have to do away from the club when we’re not here because we are part-time. We have to educate these boys to help them push on and give them that platform to perform.”

Greenwich Borough:  Jordan Carey, Malachi Field (Cameron Reardon 63), Connor Peters, Solomon Taiwo (Xavier Vidal 56), Jahmal King, Mo Kamara, Ryan King-Elliott (Germaine Ofori 56, Kayne Roberts 61)), Laurent Mendy, De’Juane Taylor-Crossdale (Erin Bitsi 69), Amadu Warity (Teshuane Walters 56, Jordan Slama 84)), Andrew Sesay (Dante Samuels 88).
Subs:  Justice Owusu, Michael Oshin, Allesandro Rochi

Booked:  Jordan Carey 36, Malachi Field 49, Teshuane Walters 78

Leyton Orient: Sam Sargeant, Alfie Fleming, Shadrach Ogie, Dale Gorman (Jaedon Phillips 46), Marvin Ekpiteta, Daniel Happe, Hector Kyprianou, Amin Benyoycef (Brandan Shabani 46), Ruel Sotiriou (Charles Clayden 61), David Mooney, Ernold Haxhiu (Will Shabani 71).
Sub: Charlie Grainger

Goals: Ruel Sotiriou 11, David Mooney 20, 29, Brendan Shabani 90

Booked: Ruel Sotiriou 37, Shadrach Ogie 80

Attendance: 250
Referee:  Mr John Bonnick (Clapham, London SW4)
Assistants: Mr Dan Proctor (Halling) & Mr Daniel Gallagher (Eltham, London SE9)
Fourth Official:  Mr Chris Myatt (Dartford)