Home friendly match played on 28 August 2016.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

An underwhelming, goalless draw rounded off Orpington’s pre-season preparations as they put in a steady performance against league rivals, Green Street Green.

Orpington’s link with Green Street Green has become ever more diluted in the past three years and there is a sense now that the rivalry that once existed is now far enough removed that these teams can concentrate on the contest rather than the outcome. However Orpington, who had performed so well in their last two friendlies may have been guilty of trying everything they could to win this match, rather than focus on the football and tactics that had made them strong previously.

The game kicked off in scrappy fashion, with possession changing hands rapidly and GSG may have been slightly aggrieved not to have taken an early opportunity, when their new striker opted to take on the ‘keeper, rather than play a simple side pass for a tap in. Needless to say, the shot was comfortably saved by Matt Utton. GSG may have also had a shout for a penalty moments later when their midfielder was caught between Harry Utton and Matt Duggan, but the referee was unconvinced.

The game continued to produce little quality, with rushed passing, scattered clearances and a lack of dominance from either side in the air. At the back, captain Rob Utton attempted to compose the play and calm the game with shorter ground passes, but the approach did not translate across the team. Defensive midfielders Martin and Facer continued their hard work and were strong in the tackle but again, nothing seemed to come to fruition. Orpington’s best opportunities of the half fell to the captain who firstly ran through the midfield and opted to pass the ball rather than take on the shot followed by another bullish run that ended in a shot down to the ‘keeper’s right hand side that he managed to get hands to.

In the second half, the game started promisingly, with Orpington moving the ball around quickly and with purpose. Following a string of approximately 25 passes, substitute Danny White volleyed at goal and narrowly missed the target. Another one of the substitutes, Mike Adamou also came close with a curling effort that beat the ‘keeper and steered just wide of the top corner. GSG barely tested the Orpington defence in the second half and were kept well at bay, allowing for the full backs to push further forward and attempt to get balls into the strikers. A further chance fell to Rob Utton with only a few minutes left on the clock, but his half volley in the area was put over the bar. Facer rounded off the chances when a great long throw from Utton was almost converted by the midfielder in the air, his heder going just wide.

At the full time whistle, GSG would have been the happier of the sides, with Orpington knowing all too well that they did not perform to their best. Rob Utton said, “calm, build up play was key today and we had one move at the start of the second half. Other than that we played into their scrappy game rather than dictating.” However, a clean sheet and no fresh injuries (save for a knock to the jaw of Lucas Kendrick) should stand the men in red and black in good stead for their league opener against Duke of Clarence on Sunday September 25th and with the transfer window due to slam shut at 11:30 on Wednesday night, there is unlikely to be any joiners or leavers to and from Orpington Athletic.

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