Lee Angol 75
Mesaque Dju 5
Dan Kemp 11
Sam Ling (o.g.) 36
Leyton Orient FC v West Ham United U23
Leyton Orient 1-3 West Ham United U23s
West Ham United U23s recorded a second win over Football League opposition in the space of five days as they overcame Leyton Orient 3-1 at the Breyer Group Stadium.
The Irons made a confident – and enthralling – start at their senior opposition’s home, going two goals up after just ten minutes through Mesaque Dju and Dan Kemp.
They continued to create chances at will and added a third when Kemp’s cross was turned in by Orient defender Sam Ling, but a raft of changes at half-time saw the home team in turn dominate the second half, netting through Lee Angol.
Lead coach Dmitri Halajko will nevertheless have been delighted to see his young charges once again test their mettle against senior Football League opposition in pre-season – and, after Friday’s 3-2 win over Cambridge United, once again succeed.
With a number of the Irons’ players having enjoyed their non-competitive first-team debuts the day before, the incentive was there for them at Breyer Group Stadium to double down on the week’s achievements.
Double down they duly did, taking the lead within five minutes when No9 Sean Adarkwa – amongst those to make their senior bows against Wycombe Wanderers – nicked the ball high from Orient's centre-back.
Bearing down on goal, the striker opted against shooting and instead laid it off to the advancing Mesaque Dju, who had plenty of time inside the area to slot into the bottom corner for his second goal in two pre-season games.
The home team attempted to assert themselves in the game, but it was from the Hammers’ next attack that they doubled their advantage. Oladapo Afolayan, playing in central midfield, spotted a gap in the ranks of red shirts and drove forwards, being brought down by a late challenge from Jobi McAnuff.
25 yards out and with plenty of work to do, Dan Kemp swiftly stepped up and curled an inch-perfect, flat free-kick in off the right-hand post.
Confidence was surging and the boys in Claret and Blue nearly trebled their advantage soon after when a superb ball from Manny Longelo carved its way through to Adarkwa. Sam Sergeant did well to save the subsequent effort with his legs, before a red shirt smothered our trialist’s follow-up.
Adarkwa’s movement was causing Leyton Orient all sorts of problems, and another slick run in behind afforded him space for a rising drive from a tight angle which flashed just past the top corner.
West Ham deservedly trebled their lead before half-time. Some deft footwork gave Kemp space to whip a ball into the fabled 'corridor of uncertainty' and, facing his own goal, Orient defender Sam Ling diverted in.
Moments later, a flowing right-to-left move saw Dju feed Longelo overlapping inside the area, but Sergeant was equal to the No3’s rising drive.
Lead coach Dmitri Halajko shuffled his pack at half-time to grant his whole squad valuable match minutes, with Leyton Orient going even further by introducing a whole new XI for the second half.
With fresh legs on their side, Orient admittedly had the better of the second 45, creating their first chance when Lee Angol’s attempted chip sailed harmlessly wide of Nathan Trott’s far post.
Josh Okotcha was then forced into a fine recovery challenge as Angol bore down on goal after running down the channel, moments before Trott kicked away the same striker’s fizzing cutback.
If Trott hadn’t had too much to do up to that point, he soon after demonstrated his excellent reflexes with a point-blank save from an Orient header, after a free-kick was well recycled at the far post.
Halajko may have been disappointed with the way the Hammers eventually did concede with fifteen minutes to go. A long ball over the top freed Angol in behind, and the striker had plenty of time to stroke past Hammers’ substitute goalkeeper Krisztian Hegyi.
Hegyi excelled moments later, however, as another direct pass led to Angol volleying acrobatically from inside the penalty area. The Hungarian, however, sprung to his right to tip it onto the bar, moments before Harrison Ashby made a fine last-ditch challenge with an Orient forward closing in on goal.
The home team were on top and their greater physicality showing as Josh Coulson missed a glorious chance for Orient. The Irons struggled to deal with another in-swinging set piece, and Coulson, unmarked, nodded over when he should have scored.
Hegyi was then forced into an excellent save moments later, turning Conor Wilkinson’s dipping drive onto - and over - his bar.
That was the last chance of another highly satisfactory night for Halajko and the U23s, who furthered their preparations for their return to Premier League 2 Division 1 with an impressive victory in another tough test passed with flying colours.
West Ham United U23s: Trott (Hegyi 70), Ashby, Akinola, Cardoso (Okotcha 45), Longelo (Greenidge 65), Trialist (Lewis 74), Rosa (Watson 45), Afolayan (Chesters 45), Kemp (Diallo 65), Adarkwa (Swyer 65), Dju (Odubeko 45)
Goals: Dju 5, Kemp 11, Ling (o.g.) 36
Leyton Orient XI First Half: Sargeant, Ling, Widdowson, McAnuff, Maguire-Drew, Papadopoulos, Sotiriou, Turley, Ogie, Johnson, Wright
Leyton Orient XI Second Half: Sargeant, Cisse, Happe, Coulson, Clay, Wilkinson, Dayton, Judd, Brophy, Ifeanyi, Angol
Goal: Angol 75