Orpington produced a less than inspiring performance and succumbed to a disappointing 1-0 defeat against old rivals, Green Street Green.
Having faced off against each other in pre-season, with Orpington having come out 3-1 winners, belief amongst the players was high and there was an air of expectation that the team’s first win was within touching distance. Manager Matt Utton stuck with the 4-5-1 formation that has proven to be effective over the past few weeks, even if results have not necessarily matched. As expected, the game began with both team’s scrappily trying to get a foothold and possession changed hands rapidly. Orpington have shown glimpses over the past few weeks that they can play very well as a unit, but it was evident from the outset that this would not translate for the majority of this match. Weak challenges, casual play and an inability to string multiple passing moves together hampered Orpington’s start, and it was Green Street Green who showed a better control of the game in the opening exchanges.
Green Street Green scored the only goal of the match just after 20 minutes played. Good wing play by York down the right hand side was finished off with a good cross towards the back post. Knott was caught out by the flight of the ball and it was struck on the half volley. Orpington could only watch as the ball drifted over the line and into the back of the net. GSG deservedly went in front and Orpington restarted from the centre.
Whilst Orpington’s desire to get forward and score goals should perhaps be commended, it is the lack of patience, understanding and timing that undoes the team every week. Immediately from the restart, the ball was lost and for the remainder of the half they were left chasing the game. Whilst GSG didn’t necessarily create any obvious goal scoring opportunities, they were quickly back to defend, putting 10 men behind the ball and they protected their lead comfortably. Orpington lack the movement required to push a team back and really create pressure, with most of their attack based on countering on the break. However, this proves fruitless when the passes are not sharp enough and poor touches see the ball fly off in all manner of directions. Patience and composure must be implemented on a much greater scale otherwise, despite their obvious individual talents, the team will fail to produce winning performances.
The second half was hardly different from the first. GSG were more comfortable and Orpington were rushed in their approach. York had a shot cleared off the line by Rob Utton and ‘keeper Matt Utton was forced into a couple of stretched saves. But the biggest disappointment of the match was the gilt edged opportunity that fell to the feet of Mogridge. After great wing play by Hart on the right of midfield, the resultant cross was delivered perfectly across the ground to Mogridge, the goal at his mercy, only for his shot to be fluffed and the ball cleared by the rigid GSG defence. It speaks volumes that Orpington’s best attack (and probably only one of note) came in the 89th minute of a game that lacked any real creativity or purpose.
Orpington have improved vastly on their previous and debut season. At this point last year they had already conceded 36 goals in 6 games, so to see that they have only conceded 5 in their last 4 league games is a positive sign. But all the time Orpington fail to score and, more importantly, create scoring opportunities by playing patient, progressive football, oppositions will quite happily settle for one goal in order to beat them. Manger Matt Utton will now, more than ever have his work cut out to get the team winning games and only time will tell if it can be turned around, but with a 74% loss record in the league, have the team really got what it takes? We can only hope for a stirring response and quality performance this coming Sunday to prove the doubters wrong.
Orpington’s next match is against South London Doves on 8th November 2015 at home, kick off 10:30. Tickets on general sale.