The reserves travelled to the Bobby Moore Sports Ground in East Ham on Saturday eager to make amends for the 7-1 defeat in the reverse fixture at Rush Green earlier in the season. On that day, nine changes were made to the team that had beaten Enfield Town a week earlier as coach James Barry, standing in for the absent David Raven
, brought in a number of youth team players who struggled to deal with their older and more experienced counterparts.
It must be said that while the score had flattered the visitors on that day it was certainly deserved. The match was played at a terrific tempo and in a fantastic and sporting spirit and the same can be said of Saturday's fixture. We were well looked after by Bethnal Green and the match itself was one between two teams that wanted to play football on a good surface and in good conditions.
United's first team were without an Essex Senior League match so the club took the opportunity to field a number of first-team players in what promised to be a good game.
Blues have been on a good run recently and with a more settled squad have been playing some great football but struggling at times in the final third. That hoodoo was laid to rest against Cheshunt when the strikers found their scoring boots in a 7-2 win but the opening moments of Saturday's game had all the signs that we would see return of that wasteful finishing.
Michael Objion was the chief culprit, missing three good chances in the opening minutes including a howler after rounding the keeper and trying an elaborate finish when simplicity was needed.
Brothers Nick and Reece Barrett have not been employed together as out-and-out strikers before Saturday but with the promising Kevin Toonga snapped up by Harlow Town, Les Whitton
decided to pair the two former Orient trainees as a conventional attacking partnership. The brothers clicked and the gamble paid off with dividends as the Barrets scored five between them and had a hand in both of the other goals.
The match also saw a welcome return to action for skipper Charlie Brien
and midfielder Ollie Smith. Brien, fully recovered from injury didn't put a foot wrong for 90 minutes and delivered a commanding display alongside Jay Simmonds, marshalling the back line and showing us what we have been missing in his absence especially to protect 16-year-old 'keeper Lewis Green
who was making his 3rd appearance of the season for the reserves, his last match being that 7-1 reverse earlier in the season.
John Adebayo again looked solid in the middle and he and Smith combined well to make and argument to quite possibly cement their partnership for the next few games. Full-backs Musa and Mtyanda worked their lines well and linked up superbly with the players in front of them.
Micheal Objion made amends for his earlier miss and flying winger Luke McDonald added another goal to his tally which was celebrated in some style with a Beagrie-esque flip - don't try this at home kids!
With the game in the bag the concentration wavered and Bethnal Green were only to keen to oblige and showed they were not out of this game, scoring a couple of goals and threatening to make a fist of the closing quarter of the match. Frank Sinclair
, Joe Smallwood
and Ryan Spurge
were introduced to add some fresh legs and ideas into the mix to settle the side down and see the game out for a good win.
Coach Mick Wetherall
was delighted at the performance saying "another game with the team bonding well and coming together as a unit. We're working hard in training and we have great momentum and a strong, committed management team" he added before going on to say "I am delighted at the attitude shown by the players and they can see the difference in their football. Young Lewis [Green] in goal did really well. We will be back on the training ground Monday and we will continue to improve."