Opposition: Leyton Orient
Managed by: Kenny Jackett
Competition: Papa John’s Trophy Group Stage
Redz Bar and hospitality will open from 5pm. Turnstiles open at 6pm and tickets can be bought on the day from the stadium. The East Stand will be closed for today’s fixture.
Leyton Orient have had a very strong start to their season having lost just two games in all competitions out of their 11 fixtures this season. They currently sit in second place in Sky Bet League Two and went unbeaten in September. They also had a successful start to their Papa John’s Trophy campaign, beating Southampton U23s 1-0 at The Breyer Group Stadium three weeks ago. Orient finished above Crawley on goal-difference last season but, under the experienced guide of Kenny Jackett, they have kicked on since his arrival in May with a stellar set of summer transfers and form on the pitch to match.
ONES TO WATCH
Rhys Byrne is Leyton Orient’s 19-year-old back-up goalkeeper and will likely play in between the sticks tonight. He played for Aveley in his youth before moving to Orient’s academy and signed his first professional contract with Orient this summer after a successful year of training with the first team during the 2020/21 season. He has played just one game for Orient’s senior team – against Southampton U23s in their last Papa John’s Trophy fixture – but he kept a clean sheet on that occasion and, with the help of what could be a full-strength defence, the agile and commanding ‘keeper will be looking for another.
Position: Centre Back
Omar Beckles could be the central part of the full-strength, three-man defence Orient will likely line up with tonight. Beckles is one of just five Grenadian players in the English Football League and, of course, spends his international breaks with Crawley’s own Ricardo German. Born in London, Beckles played academy football for Millwall before embarking on a six-year journey through the upper echelons of non-league football until a move from Aldershot Town to Accrington Stanley brought him back to the Football League. He moved to Shrewsbury Town a year later, joining current Grenada captain Aaron Pierre in Shropshire, and finally settled down as a professional, spending three years with Salop. One year with Crewe Alexandra was enough for Beckles before he joined Leyton Orient last summer.
Position: Central Midfielder
Antony Papadopoulos was the shining light of Orient’s most recent academy graduates and has already opened his professional goal-scoring account after just one appearance in the Orient first team. He caught the eye of first-team staff with a number of wonder strikes for the academy he joined at the age of 15 and won Youth Team Player of the Year for his efforts. Papadopoulos graduated alongside Byrne, signed his first professional contract at the same time and made his debut in this competition against Southampton U23s, scoring Orient’s only – and winning – goal; this alone makes him a likely candidate to start tonight.
HEAD TO HEAD
Since September of 2012, in a total of thirteen competitive fixtures, the match-ups between the two sides have only ended in one draw, with Crawley winning on nine occasions, and Orient on three.
The first draw within those games between the two sides came in our last meeting with Orient at The People’s Pension Stadium, back in February, where the game ended in a goalless draw despite the away side going down to ten men.
A notable victory over today’s opposition came on a bright summer’s afternoon in August of 2019. The game ended 3-2 to Gabriele Cioffi’s Crawley after second-half substitute, Ollie Palmer, was quick to score twice to turn the game on its head in a matter of minutes.
The meeting previous to this finished 3-0 to Crawley at The People’s Pension Stadium, in a season where the O’s were later relegated to the National League. First-half goals from James Collins, Joe McNerney and Enzio Boldewijn were enough to seal the victory in a rampant opening 45 minutes, in a game where the likes of Kaby Djalo, Josh Yorwerth and Andre Blackman were all involved.