Orihuela CF 2 CD Torrevieja 1 – BY STEVE HIBBERD
This much awaited local derby at Los Arcos, saw 2 teams at the opposite ends of the table, both desperate to win but for very different reasons.
Before the start of play, Torry sat on the edge of the drop zone, anxiously looking above them as the gap to the pack widens, whilst opponents Orihuela were handily placed in 9th, with the play offs in sight.
Pedreño took his men to Pinatar Arena midweek, where played Shanghai Shenxin in an entertaining goalless friendly. But that´s where the problem lies, they can´t score goals!
Although they should have been awarded a goal last weekend against Villarreal ´C´, when a shot off the bar clearly bounced behind the line, the fact still remains that they had 2 glorious chances to blast the ball home beforehand. Build up play has been good for most of the season, so let´s hope that new acquisition Kana can add to the teams meagre goals tally. He replaces Hugo, who surprisingly has been released from the club, having scored 4 goals in 16 appearances.
And in a completely reshaped lineup the former Elche forward got his chance with Diabe and Iles as the three debutants lined up alongside Buba, Vicente and Calzado who were all returning from suspension.
The wholesale changes were a calculated gamble by manager Pedreño who is running out of time if ‘the whites’ are to avoid the drop. He knows that he needs to start picking up points now but the opening period of this local derby brought him anything but comfort as his team took their time to settle into this game.
Indeed there was little of note from Torry in the opening 45 as the home side dominated large swathes of the early exchanges.
So there was no surprise when, midway through the period, Antonio opened the scoring for Orihuela. A low cross from Ayo on the right found him with acres of space and the simple task of tapping in from close range.
Surprisingly there was no response from the visitors as El Escorpion continued to dictate the play.
Indeed Torry were spared going further behind following a disallowed goal and a glaring miss by the home side, but on 38 minutes the long overdue second came when Ruben created space, before unleashing an unstoppable drive from the edge of the box.
At this stage it was difficult to see how Pedreño could turn the game around.
Unfortunately the outcome was scarcely evident as at the start of the 2nd period the home side took up where they left off.
Antonio could have doubled his tally on the hour mark but with the goal at his mercy shot into the side netting from 5 yds.
New Torry signing Ilyes was denied by a last gasp tackle from Perona before Bubba was again called into action when Ruben shot from the resultant break.
However, as the game entered its final quarter, a consolation for the visitors when Pastor reduced the deficit, meeting a Dani cross from close range, but it was too little, too late and as Orihuela sat back on their 2-1 lead they seemed content just to play the game out.
Indeed they could have been made to pay in added time but for a good save from Emilio following a powerfully struck shot from new Torry signing Diaby.
Unfortunately the task won’t get any easier for Torry next week as they entertain runaway league leaders CD Olimpic in a 5pm Sunday fixture at the Nelson Mandela Stadium. With anything less than a win it could be the match at which time finally runs out for Snr Pedreño .