We were up against Hoang Anh Gia Lai’s first XI – with the exception of a couple of players who had been called up to the Vietnam national side – and they have been national champions twice in recent years, finishing fourth last season.
They are the first Vietnam side to ever play in England and are currently preparing for their new domestic season which starts in February. They hail from the city of Pleiku in central Vietnam.
Our goals came from Kyle Fraser-Allen, Kieran McKenna (2), Reto Ziegler and Danny Hutchins and, as Clive explains, it was good experience for the lads.
“It was a good game for our boys, they will have benefited from the match and sometimes it’s useful to play those sort of games because the lads have to learn to cope with different styles of football,” he said.
“Technically, the opposition were neat and tidy although they probably didn’t have the physical presence that our boys would usually come up against in reserve and academy football.
“We dominated the game without really scoring the goals that we should have done in the first half,” Clive continued. “We were physically stronger and more powerful than them, but it wasn’t until we scored the second and third goals that we were really comfortable.
“The match fitted in with our calendar in terms of games, our fixture against Chelsea was postponed so this was ideal just to close out the first half of the season, to give the lads an opportunity to get 90 minutes under their belt before they go off on their Christmas break.
“We finished the second half of last season very well after a similar break this time last year, so hopefully we can do the same again in the New Year.”
Team: Burch, Ifil, Mills, Dervite, Ziegler, Fraser-Allen, McKenna, O’Hara (Martin 45), Daniels, Hutton (Hughton 70), Dawkins (Hutchins 60).
Our reserve team rounded off the first half of their season today with a training ground friendly against Vietnamese side Hoang Anh Gia Lai, which we won 5-0 at Spurs Lodge on Thursday.Clive Allen used the match – played in thick fog at our Chigwell training ground - to give his side a run out before they break for the Christmas period and although it was a comfortable victory for the lads, it proved to be a useful game against opponents we would not normally encounter.