Orpington Athletic FC played their final friendly of pre season against GSG FC and walked away worthy winners.
With goals from Rob Utton, summer signing Karl Turner and a fortunate own goal early in the match, OAFC managed to put into practice what they have been working on for the majority of their pre season. However, countless other chances went begging throughout the game, and they could have left the field with a much greater scoreline.
Orpington started the game strongly, clearly fired up and ready to deliver. An early chance fell to Rob Utton after a great through ball from Turner, however, the newly established left winger was unable to convert and shot just above the crossbar. However, it wasn't long until Orpington were on the attack again, and with Turner hauled to the ground, 30 yards from goal, an early free kick was awarded. Confidence in Turner was high following his success from a set piece in the previous friendly and he delivered a great ball into the box which was inadvertantly turned into the top corner, with the 'keeper flapping, by a GSG defender. 1-0 to Orpington.
The game continued in similar fashion, and Orpington were starting to get a good foothold in the game. However, in the 22nd minute, the defensive line was caught too high upthe pitch and GSG broke down the left hand side. The counter attack lead to a one on one with 'keeper, Matt Utton, and the GSG attacker was able to confidently slot the ball into the far corner, levelling the score.
Previous games may have suggested that Orpington would crumble under the leveller and lose their composure, but the team have looked stronger in pre season and were able to immediately respond. A corner delivery from Haden was cleared straight back to him and he lofted the ball back into the box. Rob Utton was on hand to nod the ball into the path of Turner, who finished clinically into the bottom corner.
Half time beckoned, but Orpington did not want it to come too soon, as they were very much on top of their sometimes tired-looking opposition. However, the whistle blew and manager, Matt Utton, made 3 half time substitutions.
The second half once again started well for Orpington, and on the hour mark, they were able to make their dominance pay. Another corner from Haden perfectly picked out the capatain, Utton, who met the ball powerfully in the air and headed the visitors into a deserved 3-1 lead.
A few moments later, against the run of play, the referre awarded GSG a foul in the penalty area, with both teams unsure as to why it had been given. With no one in the GSG ranks seemingly confident enough to step up and take the resulting spot kick, it was left to captain, Craig Trueman, to test his nerves against Utton. The keeper came of the better with anoutstanding save to his right, but there was yet more drama as the referee demanded the penalty be retaken due to encroachment from the Orpington players. Trueman stepped up once again, but in superb fashion, Utton repeated his earlier feat and saved the set piece.
With new found vigour, and something of a let off, Orpington pushed forward and close chances from Downs, Utton (both Harry and Rob) and most notably, Leach, they were unfortunate not to more than double their haul.
At the final whistle, there was an obvious calm over the players, not letting their first win in almost 10 matches go to their heads. But still, inside, the team were more than celebrating.
With the new season fast approaching, there is every hope (and possibly expectation) that the team can go on to achieve success in Division 5 of the Metropolitan Sunday Football League.