Woking 0 Leyton Orient 2
19th July 2016
After an encouraging start to their pre-season campaign with a draw against Premiership Watford and an away win at Gosport Borough at the weekend, Woking welcomed Division Two Leyton Orient to the Laithwaite Community Stadium.
The ‘Os’ fielded a strong “first team” squad following their 2-0 defeat away at Dover on Saturday. Woking generally held their own in the first half creating most of the few chances on offer. Orient’s second half formation looked stronger and they eventually broke the deadlock with two well taken goals.
Garry introduced a number of new triallists most of whom featured in the first half. Nathan Ralph caught the eye playing on the left side of midfield and Ben Gordon, who has already featured in the side, looked comfortable at left back.
Throughout the first period the Cards defence looked solid and well organised. Hall had little to do in goal apart from palming a deflected shot from Korona around the post. The Cards created rather more opportunities. Early on a Caprice free kick fizzed past the Orient post and Murtagh played in Sam-Yorke but a defender’s legs blocked his shot.
Sam-Yorke showed his strength in holding up the ball well and also after twenty minutes bursting through the Orient defence but his shot was scuffed and easily dealt with by Cisak.
Saraiva combined well with the classy Murtagh and one delicious left foot free kick from the new signing evaded everyone in the Orient box when a touch might have seen the ball in the back of the net.
Woking had a further opportunity when a great ball in from the left by Gordon again missed a couple of lunging Cards attackers only to find its way out to Caprice. His shot from the right was smashed well over the bar when a cross back into the box might have been more dangerous.
Half Time: Woking 0 Leyton Orient 0
The visitors having made seven changes started the second period on the front foot. They posed a much greater attacking threat and as Garry made the necessary changes to give all his squad some game time so it became more difficult for the Cards to retain their foothold in the game.
On sixty-five minutes Orient took the lead with a fine strike from the right edge of the box. Dean Cox’s shot flew past Hall and into the far corner giving the Cards keeper no chance.
Woking could and possibly should have equalised immediately. A fine through ball from Kandi put his strike partner one on one with the Os’ keeper but Penny’s effort scraped agonisingly past the far post.
That was to be Woking’s only real opportunity in the second half and Orient doubled their lead with a well-taken goal from Paul McCallum on seventy-four minutes.
Charlie Carter, a second half substitute did well and saw his headed effort from a corner fly over the bar. Another triallist who looked well worth a second opportunity was Onovwigun who played in a holding midfield position – always looking for the ball, breaking up attacks and linking defence and midfield in an unfussy manner.
Before the end the visitors had a couple of chances to extend their lead but Hall saved well with his legs and a McCallum headed effort flicked the Cards’ cross bar.
This was another good work out for Garry Hill’s squad on a hot and humid evening. He has plenty of interesting decisions to make as he reflects on which triallists to retain and how to best set up his side.
Defensively the Cards first choice looks strong and well organised with Yakubu getting back to full fitness – he and Saah looked comfortable in the first half. Murtagh is already pulling the strings and looked fit and assured. Possibly the key dilemma is the lack of a goal threat. As has already been reported Sam-Yorke will cause defences problems but needs players around him to take advantage of his flicks and lay offs. No doubt Garry will work something out as he drives back to Essex!
Woking: Brandon Hall*; Jake Caprice; Ben Gordon* (Aaran Smith-Joseph* 75); Fabio Saraiva (Michael Onovwigun* 56); Brian Saah; Ismail Yakubu (Joey Jones 56); Denon Lewis* (Charles Banya* 69); Kieran Murtagh (Charlie Carter* 75); Delano Sam-Yorke (Chike Kandi* 56); Zac Ansah* (Charlie Penny 56); Nathan Ralph* (Max Kretzschmar 69)
* indicates Triallist
Substitutes not used: Michael Poke; Gozi Ugwu
Leyton Orient: 1st Half – Alex Cisak; Sean Clohessy; Nicky Hunt; Tom Parkes; Callum Kennedy; Robbie Weir; Sammy Moore; Gavin Massey; Sandro Semedo; Jordan Boery; Josh Korona
2nd Half – Charlie Granger; Sean Clohessy; Callum Kennedy; Nicky Hunt; Liam Kelly; Yuan Erichot; Nigel Atangana; Dean Cox; Armand Gnanduiillet; Paul McCallum; Josh Korona
Substitues: Freddie Moncur; Josh Doherty
Goals: Dean Cox 65; Paul McCallum 74
MOTM: Always difficult to single out a player in a friendly with so many changes of personnel and formation. However Brian Saah is my man of the match. He played for the full ninety minutes, had an excellent game in the centre of the defence, was strong in the air and generally looked untroubled, particularly in the first half.