Date: 20th July 2006 at 10:55am
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Orient came from two goals down to record their first victory of their pre-season campaign with a 3-2 win at Conference side, Grays Athletic.

Having performed poorly in their previous two games, Orient looked far brighter and assured as they took on the F.A. Trophy winners of the past two years. At last Orient started to look like the side that played some of the best football in League Two last season, however, their incapability to defend came back to haunt them.

The O`s dominated the opening stages with Donny Barnard and Lee Steele engineering a great chance but the O`s the striker prodded wide from fifteen yards. Jabo Ibehre was the next to have an effort at goal, but having turned his man quite beautifully, his shot was well saved by the Grays ‘keeper.

The hosts had barely threatened and yet it was they that grabbed the lead after the Orient rearguard fell asleep as it had done in both previous friendly games. New signing, Lee Boylan, flicked the ball on for former Orient man Aaron McClean to race through and slot past Glenn Morris.

Orient looked somewhat shocked at falling behind and it was only to get worse for the O`s as Grays doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time. More indecision by the O`s defence allowed McClean to run unopposed towards goal and after the O`s failed to clear his cross, Boylan was left with an easy finish which his rifled into the net.

2-0 at half time was harsh on Orient after the O`s had more or less dominated proceedings, however, the defence that proved so solid last campaign continued to look unrecognisable. A host of substitutions followed at half time, and it was the introduction of diminutive winger Shane Tudor that gave Orient a more attacking and creative impetus.

Within 11 minutes of the second half the O`s had pulled on back as McMahon nodded in after a fantastic cross from Tudor. The goal seemed to revitalise Orient and it was little surprise when the O`s drew level on 72. Gary Alexander, who played quite brilliantly, held the ball up before releasing Tudor once again. The sheer pace of the O`s man was far too much for the Grays defence and they could do very little as Tudor`s cross was headed past Ashley Bayes by Paul Connor from six yards.

From thereafter there was only one team that looked like winning and Orient duly scored the winner with only three minutes to play. This time it was left to Gary Alexander to rifle home a left footed shot from twenty yards. It was a fantastic strike to end a fabulous comeback, but it was a comeback that should never had to happen.

Having sold Gaby Zakuani and been dealt the blow of John Mackie`s four match ban, Martin Ling must be a worried man. Orient`s defence has looked extremely unconvincing in recent weeks and the O`s manager must surely make a defensive signing before August 5.