Hadleigh United 3
Leyton Orient XI 0
HADLEIGH United manager Stuart Crawford was left delighted after watching his side cruise to a comfortable 3-0 pre-season victory over professional outfit Leyton Orient.
The Brettsiders welcomed a youthful Orient side to the Millfield for their stand-out encounter of the pre-season campaign and dominated throughout, controlling and dictating play with a host of new arrivals catching the eye.
In particular striker James Blades, making the step up from Suffolk and Ipswich League level, who had a hand in every goal, firstly winning a penalty after 20 minutes, which Neil Calver confidently dispatched, before getting on the score sheet himself, with two almost identical strikes, getting on the end of slick passing moves to tap home from all of a yard in the 25th and 33rd minute to cap off a devastating first half display.
Crawford hailed the display of his players and revealed his new additions will enable him to take a new direction in their style of play.
“I was delighted with how we played, we rose to the occasion and proved how well we can compete,” he said.
“They gave us the test we wanted. Our first two games we beat Ipswich Wanderers and Cornard and no disrespect to them but they don’t play football in the way that Leyton Orient would do.
“I was delighted for James Blades he looked really bright, had some goods touches, looked strong and had the willingness to get in behind and was rewarded with winning a penalty and scoring twice.
“I think because we have added a few lads with that added quality on the ball it is now the time where we can play football in the right way and be able to play that passing game, moving it quickly and keeping it simple.
“We have got potential to be a strong side but we need to keep on working hard and improving.”
The hosts started brightly and were rewarded for their early dominance after 20 minutes when Blades raced onto Calver’s flick on before being upended by the visiting custodian, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
Calver stepped up confidently and made no mistake, smashing his spot kick into the bottom left corner to break the deadlock.
Just five minutes later Hadleigh doubled their lead with Blades grabbing his first. A slick passage of passing saw the impressive Oliver Brown feed Liam Jennings down the right hand side and he made the most of the time and space afforded to him, drilling the ball across the goal mouth, leaving Blades the simple task of tapping home.
At this stage it was all one way traffic and before long the hosts added a third. Jamie Cowen picked up the ball in space on the right hand side and just as Jennings had beforehand, teed up Blades with a delivery across the goalmouth, to finish from close range to send Hadleigh in at the break in a commanding position.
The second half was less of an eventful affair, but there was still chances for Calver and substitute Ben Deacon, who both came close to extending the home side’s lead while at the other end goalkeeper Dan Heath kept his clean sheet intact with a flurry of smart saves to round off an impressive display from Crawford’s side.
Hadleigh: Heath, Brown, Wardley, Jennings, Gaisford, Donnolly, Canfer, Cowen (Deacon 72), Calver, Blades (Barwick 45), Allen (Rose 65)