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Leyton Orient begin pre-season campaign with high-scoring victory over Sutton United
Leyton Orient enjoyed victory in their first pre-season friendly of the campaign as they overcame Sutton United 5-3 at Gander Green Lane.
Kevin Lisbie handed the O’s the lead just two minutes into the contest but his effort was swiftly cancelled out as Sutton striker Stefan Payne duly won and converted a fifth-minute penalty.
Ryan Brunt marked his first start in Orient colours with a goal midway through the first half but United again restored parity immediately as Kyle Vassell netted.
But the O’s secured the advantage at the interval as Dean Cox latched onto a ball from Lisbie to convert.
Sutton levelled through Gareth Gwillim’s penalty after the break but Afolabi Obafemi immediately restored Orient’s lead.
And the O’s youngster got himself on the scoresheet again minutes later as he first won a penalty before dusting himself off to score.
Russell Slade chose to name a different side for each half and handed five of his new recruits debuts from the off.
Mathieu Baudry and Gary Sawyer started in defence for the visitors while former Port Vale man Anthony Griffith and today’s new addition Lloyd James joined Cox and Jimmy Smith in midfield.
Jamie Jones started in goal while last season’s top scorer Lisbie was partnered up front by Stoke City loanee Brunt.
The second half team saw Marc Laird as the only recognised first team player from last season while Ryan Allsop was handed a debut in goal.
Slade also took the chance to run the rule over three trialists, with George Saunders, Joe Turner and former Queens Park Rangers midfielder Martin Rowlands handed the chance to impress.
It was a dream start for the O’s as a new-look strike force combined to good effect after just two minutes.
A long throw in from Brunt on the right flank found Lisbie in the box and the former Charlton Athletic man was able to turn and beat keeper Kevin Scriven.
The lead was short-lived though as the home side immediately pushed forward and levelled from the penalty spot.
Payne was brought down under the challenge of Baudry and the striker quickly collected the ball and dispatched the spot kick himself.
It proved to be his last meaningful contribution of the contest as he was forced to limp off injured shortly after.
Both sides were looking to press but with no real penetration, chances were at a premium all round. With the game just over 20 minutes old however, the O’s re-established their lead as Brunt latched on to a poor back pass.
The loanee was retreating from an offside position but made the most of the opportunity, seizing the moment to turn and fire in a low strike from 25 yards.
But as at the beginning of the match, the advantage lasted just a matter of minutes as the home side quickly got themselves back on level terms.
Leon McSweeney was caught in possession and Vassell was left free to charge in at goal and pass the ball beyond the despairing dive of Jones.
Orient were looking the most likely to net again and came close when Sawyer combined with Cox in a swiftly taken free kick move but the winger’s cross was unable to find an Orient shirt in the penalty area.
Moses Odubajo, playing at right back, then linked well with Lisbie to set up Brunt for a strike but the 19-year-old was unable to get over the ball for a clean strike.
But the O’s did eventually get the third goal their attacking threat merited as they caught the home defence napping.
Lisbie snuck in to dispossess Osa Obamwonyi and neatly played in the onrushing Cox who applied the finish to hand Orient the advantage at the interval.
It was all change at the break as Slade made 11 changes as expected.
Rowlands and Laird offered the experience in the middle of the park for the O’s and it was the former who went closest early on, striking a free kick wide of the post after Billy Lobjoit had been brought down.
The U’s were looking to fight their way back into the contest and came close with a free kick from Sam Rents but his strike was deflected wide for a corner.
At the other end, Obafemi showed great skill and strength to turn his man before seeing his effort saved by former Orient youngster Tom Lovelock for a corner.
The resultant set piece was well delivered to an unmarked Lobjoit but he was unable to hit the target with his volley.
As in the first half though, Sutton got themselves back on level terms as the O’s defence conceded another penalty.
Sean Grace was the guilty party this time around but it was the same result for the hosts as Gwillim fired in beyond Allsop.
The roles of the first period were immediately reversed though as this time it was the O’s who struck within minutes.
Obafemi pounced on some slack defending from skipper Jamie Stuart and he was able to run in at goal and beat Lovelock at his near post.
And it was a quick-fire brace for the youngster, who made his senior debut in the final game of last season, as he won a penalty minutes later and stepped up to convert from 12 yards.
Kezie Ibe wasted a glorious chance to pull one back for the home side but with both keepers holding firm late on, the O’s came out on top in an eight-goal match.
Sutton: Scriven (Lovelock46); Riviere (Dundas 46), Gwillim, Stuart, Obamwonyi (O’Connell 65), McCrae (Jones 46), Kavanagh (Abnett 46), Vassell (Reece 65), Payne (Ibe 7), Beautyman, Rents.
Orient 1st half: Jones; Odubajo, McSweeney, Baudry, Sawyer; Smith, Griffith, James, Cox; Lisbie, Brunt.
Orient 2nd half: Allsop; Egbeku, Van der Hyde, Grace, Lee; Rowlands, Laird, Saunders, Turner; Lobjoit, Obafemi.
Subs: Foley, Georgiou, Nash, Wickings.
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