Orpington continued pre-season this weekend with another resounding performance, winning 6-3 against old rivals, Inter Cross FC. A brace from last season’s top goal scorer, Mike Adamou and goals from Harry Utton, Ben Blyghton, Oral Graham and Tejiri Kode saw the team comfortably secure victory, although not without conceding along the way.
Orpington set up with a 4-3-3 again, with manager Matt Utton looking to attack from the outset. Tom Butler made his first appearance of pre-season at left back, with Tom Braithwaite starting in the middle of the park. Graham was also handed his first start, up front alongside Adamou and Kode.
The attacking threat was quick to show promise, firstly with Kode shooting just wide and Graham seeing a shot cleared off the line in the opening 10 minutes. And it was Graham who opened the scoring, a long ball over the top from Blyghton confused the defence and the ‘keeper, allowing Graham to smash the ball into an empty net. Blyghton nearly doubled the lead with a great effort from long range and a few minutes later made no mistake with a thunderous strike which was too powerful for the ‘keeper to hold on to.
Inter were not completely put to the sword and presented their own attacking threat, especially through the middle of the park. However, it was a long throw which helped them halve the deficit. The ball into the box was not dealt with and Inter’s attacker latched onto the ball to poke home from close range. VAR was inconclusive as to whether Utton had his hands on the ball.
Both teams pressed each other toward the end of the first half. Graham twice tested the ‘keeper, forcing some great saves and Inter were unlucky not to draw level when a blistering shot cannoned off the upright. Joe Haden was brought on to replace the injured Graham with a minute to go to the half time whistle and immediately made an impact, forcing the ‘keeper into yet another save. At half time, the 2-1 lead was finely in the balance.
In the second half, Orpington tweaked their shape to a recognisable 4-2-3-1 and were able to sure up the midfield and create a lot more through the middle. Adamou was getting closer with every attempt, but it was a run from Kode which drew a free kick right on the edge of the box. Harry Utton stepped up and dispatched the set piece in familiar style, leaving the ‘keeper rooted to the spot.
The goals continued to follow in rapid succession. Firstly with Inter pulling out an audacious overhead bicycle kick which flew into the top corner, before a minute later when Adamou calmly finished in the box after being played in by Kode. Within 10 minutes, Orpington put themselves out of sight, with Kode thumping home from a tight angle and Adamou firing home again inside the box.
The tireless Blyghton was brought off to a round of applause with 10 minutes to go and Orpington could have added 2 or 3 more goals if not for some fine goalkeeping from Inter’s man between the sticks and the inconvenience of a post! Inter had one final opportunity to score from the penalty spot, which was tucked away, sending Utton the wrong way.
Another good showing at the full time whistle saw Orpington run away with the victory, although the score line did not necessarily reflect the balance of play throughout the match. Orpington, for all their attacking prowess, still need to ensure the door is more firmly shut at the back as the season continues.
Orpington continue pre-season next Sunday when they play Green St Green at home. Tickets on general sale.