30 October 2010

Leyton Orient 2 Rochdale 1, 30/10/10

A game in which... we saw some amazing moves, incredible agility, impressive co-ordination and effective use of individual assets. Admittedly all of this came during the pre-match display by the Random Girls From Faces Nightclub Gants Hill dance troupe. Once that was over Brisbane Road was subjected, once again, to a pretty dire first half in which Orient failed to show much threat and frequently lost the ball in the middle of the pitch. What appeared to be a highly dubious penalty sparked a second-half rally and a bit of purpose and inventiveness about the Os going forward. Great to get three points, lads, but any chance you could play properly for more than half the game at some point in the season?

Moment to savour... It's back to those pre-match dancing girls again, and the groundsman's inspired to decision to turn on the sprinklers just as they began their routine. A wet T-shirt competiton is certainly a novel way to encourage fans to return - although Stephen Dawson's delightful flick that led to Dean Cox's goal was also pretty sexy.

Head in hands moment... Seeing Ben Chorley elect himself to take Orient's penalty in Scott McGleish's absence. Having the luxury of Matt Lockwood taking spot-kicks for so long means Brisbane Road is used to seeing penalties scored. But, fair play to him, Chorley didn't opt for the thunderbolt, but struck the ball firmly and cleanly into the corner of the net.

King for a day... While none of the Orient players should be troubling the League One Team of the Week selectors, Charlie Daniels was solid in defence and provided much of what attacking threat there was in the second half. He's having a very consistent season and is a much improved player from the one who first arrived at Brisbane Road.

Boo boy... Ryan Jarvis is a player firmly in the Brisbane Road tradition of hard-working though non-scoring strikers. Today he didn't really do the hard-working bit, making his time on the pitch as totally fruitless as an orchard in Antarctica.

In the dug out... Presumably Adam Chambers wasn't 100 per cent fit, otherwise it was a highly dubious decision by Russell Slade to leave him on the bench in favour of Jimmy Smith, a footballer so bland it looks like someone's simply thrown a huge lump of tofu in the middle of the pitch. Still, kudos to Russ for changing the system for the second half to position Dean Cox behind the front two, which led to the second goal. Incidentally, West Standers will have noticed both Cox and Ryan Jarvis giving a fair degree of foul-mouthed back chat to Slade in the first half.

What would Martin Ling have done? Praised his defence for a solid second-half display and go on to claim that the pressure for places is what's producing quality performances. "Clayton Fortune, Joe Dolan and Alan White are chomping at the bit to get on the pitch," he'd say, defiantly.

Going down? Well, since Rochdale are a perennial League Two side who have somehow managed to claw their way up to the dizzy heights of League One, this was good practice for Orient if they do drop a division. Seven points from the last three games suggests things are on the right track, the first half performance suggests fans might want to check the driving routes to Aldershot, Morecombe and Accrington - just in case.

22 October 2010

Leyton Orient promotion squad 2005/06: Where are they now? (Updated October 2012)

They were the 26 players who helped Orient to promotion from League Two in the 2005/06 season. But did their heroics spur them on to greater things in the football world? Here's what's happened to them since...

1. Glyn Garner

Who? The arch penalty-saving goalkeeper and Welsh international (one cap!).
Where is he now? Glyn turned down a new contract at Orient in May 2007 to join League Two side Shrewsbury. "I'd heard that Shrewsbury is a club that wants to go places," he said before spending the next three years mostly on the bench for a club that stayed exactly where it was. After short spells with Grays Athletic and Newport County, Glyn signed for Conference South side Bath City in May 2011, where he remains to this day.

2. Donny Barnard

Who? Brisbane Road's utility player extraordinaire, who never let the side down whether at right back, left back, in midfield or - more typically - playing crossbar challenge with the other substitutes during the half-time interval.
Where is he now? Released in May 2007, Donny made four appearances for Grays Athletic before moving to AFC Hornchurch and then to Tilbury. Now playing for Harlow Town in the Ryman League Division One North.
Follow him on Twitter: @dgbarnard22

3. Matt Lockwood

Who? The goal-scoring left back, spot-kick specialist and Brisbane Road legend who, according to Barry Hearn, was a Premiership footballer playing in League Two.
Where is he now? Matt is now a Premier League footballer - albeit in the Scottish Premier League. After unhappy spells at Nottingham Forest, Colchester, Barnet and Dagenham & Redbridge, the 35-year-old moved north of the border to sign for Dundee, and achieved promotion with them at the end of the 2011/12 season.

4. Michael Simpson

Who? Classy holding midfielder, defensive shield and unsung hero of the side. Think Adam Chambers without the pace, or Paul Terry without the racist brother.
Where is he now? Released by Orient after an injury-plagued 2006/07 season, Michael moved to Conference side Burton Albion and helped them to promotion to League Two in 2008/09. He dropped down to the Conference North to play for Eastwood Town in 2010/11, and then signed for Evo-Stik League Division One South side Mickleover Sports for the 2011/12 season.

5. Joe Dolan

Who? "Joe's ready to get his career going again," said an optimistic Martin Ling upon signing Dolan from Millwall in the summer of 2005. His Orient career comprised two first team appearances.
Where is he now? Joe has played for 12 clubs since leaving Orient, mostly in the Conference South. He returned to Brisbane Road last season with Bromley for an FA Cup match, then went on to play for Havant & Waterlooville, scoring an injury-time winner that saved them from relegation in their last game of the 2011/12 season. They rewarded him by not renewing his contract, and he's recently signed for Metropolitan Police FC in the Ryman League Premier Division, who are presumably unaware of his crimes against defending.
Follow him on Twitter: @joe_dolan5

6. John Mackie

Who? A gutsy, gritty throwback to a bygone era of central defenders, Mackie was the chest-thumping talisman that held the Orient backline together.
Where is he now? After an injury-ravaged season in 2006/07 Mackie moved to Brentford, but left the club by mutual consent after just 14 appearances. These days he runs a fruit and veg stall on Plender Street in Camden, where he can presumably be seen pulling customers' shirts, digging them in the ribs and scraping his boots down their shins.
Follow him on Twitter: @john6gmack

7. Wayne Carlisle

Who? Reliable and sometimes classy right-midfielder who, after starting brightly in the previous 2004/05 season, fell down the pecking order and was eventually shipped out in the middle of the promotion campaign.
Where is he now? Carlisle moved from Orient to Exeter City in the Conference and helped them to promotion to League Two in 2008. He then opted to join local rivals Torquay United, who he also helped to promotion from the Conference. He signed for Truro City in March 2011 but left a month later. He's now Head of Football at Ivybridge Community College in Plymouth and coaches the Exeter City U16 team.

8. Craig Easton

Who? Committed and energetic Scot who'd fizz around midfield with all the effervescence of a Mars Bar in the deep fat fryer at a Glasgow chippy.
Where is he now? After leaving Orient at the end of the 2006/07 season Easton had spells at Swindon Town, Southend (boo!) and Dunfermline Athletic. In June 2012 he joined Torquay United as part of Martin Ling's ongoing quest to re-sign every single member of his Orient promotion squad. Also blogs a bit.
Follow him on Twitter: @craig8easton

9. Gary Alexander

Who? The hard-working and reliable No.9 who would delight the Brisbane Road faithful by going on 10-game scoring sprees, then confound them by then failing to find the net in the next 20 matches.
Where is he now? After spells at Millwall and Brentford, Gary now divides his time between playing for Crawley Town and repeatedly tweeting 'Don't listen to the haterz' then retweeting comments from everyone who doesn't think he's brilliant.
Follow him on Twitter: @gazalex29

10. Lee Steele

Who? That rarest of rare breeds at Brisbane Road, a striker who wouldn't suffer a total meltdown of bodily functions when in sight of goal. Fittingly, it was cult hero Steele's goal that sealed promotion.
Where is he now? Steele's post-Orient career has been a journey down the footballing ladder, from Chester City in League Two, to Northwich Victoria and Barrow in the Conference, then Ashton United and Oxford City in the Southern League Premier Division. Steele was sacked by Oxford City in January 2012 for making a homophobic comment on Twitter about ex-rugby star Gareth Thomas. He's since turned out for Evo-Stik League sides Nantwich Town, Brackley Town and Leamington FC.

11. Joe Keith

Who? Hard-working left midfielder who forged an effective partnership with Matt Lockwood (consisting mostly of Keith covering for the left back when he bombed forward).
Where is he now? Via stints at Shrewsbury Town, Brentford, AFC Hornchurch and Tilbury FC, Keith is now a player/coach at Isthmian League Division One North side East Thurrock FC, though describes himself as "An ex-footballer trying to make it in the real world".
Follow him on Twitter: @joekeith3

12. Glenn Morris

Who? Nicknamed 'The Cat' (presumably because cats can't kick a ball properly either), Morris was equally as capable of jaw-dropping reflex saves as he was slicing the ball straight to the opposition.
Where is he now? Cat spent two seasons at Southend in League Two as their first choice stopper. He was released at the end of the 2011/12 season and snapped up by fellow League Two side Aldershot Town on a six-month contract as back up to their number one Jamie Young.

14. Gabriel Zakuani

Who? Orient's first-ever £1 million transfer, the velvet glove covering John Mackie's iron fist at the heart of the Os promotion-winning defence.
Where is he now? Zakuani's seven-figure move to Fulham was one that unfortunately failed to bear fruit for either the Premier League side or the defender himself. Without making a first team appearance for the club, he went out on loan to Stoke City and Peterborough in the Championship, before a permanent move to the latter, where he continues to ply his trade. He also found time to star in a Dizzee Rascal video.
Follow him on Twitter: @Gabs50Zakuani

15. Justin Miller

Who? The classy South African right back whose trademark cut inside as he drove forward always confounded the opposition.  
Where is he now? Shipped out in Martin Ling's Night of the Long Knives in May 2007, Miller went via League One Port Vale, to Conference South Chelmsford City. After a short stint back in South Africa, he played a season in the Conference for Rushden & Diamond before rejoining Chelmsford City, where he continues to play regularly alongside former Os Adam Tann and Aiden Palmer.

16. Shane Tudor

Who? The chippy poster boy for small man syndrome, Tudor was an effective and talented right winger, albeit one whose principle weapon was knocking the ball past his opponent and then running straight into him to win a foul. Like a slightly better JJ Melligan, or a not-as-good Dean Cox.
Where is now? Tudor moved to fellow League One side Port Vale in May 2007 but made only 19 appearances before a knee injury forced him to retire from the game in January 2009.

17. Daryl McMahon

Who? Underrated Irish midfielder who, surprisingly, clocked up 33 league appearances in the promotion season.
Where is he now? Sent out on loan to Notts County in 2006, McMahon then signed for Conference side Stevenage Borough, where he stayed for two seasons. After a short spell at Cambridge United, he turned out for Farnborough, Boreham Wood and Eastleigh before signing for Dover Athletic in September 2012 and taking on a coaching role at Dagenham & Redbridge.
Follow him on Twitter: @DarylMcMahon1

18. Paul Connor

Who? Striker, a mid-season signing from Swansea who helped Orient's promotion push with five goals, then nearly blew the whole thing for everyone by getting sent off in the penultimate game.
Where is he now? Released by Orient in January 2007, Connor spent a couple of seasons at Cheltenham Town, one at Lincoln City and one at Mansfield Town in the Conference. He signed for Conference North side Gainsborough Trinity in December 2011 and is still playing - and scoring - for them today.

19. Jabo Ibehre

Who? Fans' favourite and Brisbane Road hero. A striker who could confound defenders with breathtaking trickery, pace and strength. 
Where is he now? After spending the 2008/09 season at Walsall, Jabo moved to MK Dons. Despite a couple of loan spells at Southend and Stockport County, Jabo's become something of fans' favourite at Stadium MK and helped the team reach the play-offs in 2011/12. He was sent out on a three-month loan to Colchester United in September 2012 and scored a brace on his debut.
Follow him on Twitter: @ibehre

20. Derek Duncan

Who? Fringe player who contributed a total of 13 minutes to the promotion campaign, coming on as a substitute in the 5-1 demolition of Rushden & Diamonds.
Where is he now? After a month at Grays Athletic, Duncan spent two years at Wycombe Wanderers without making a single appearance. Played for AFC Wimbledon and Ebbsfleet United, before joining Woking in July 2011, helping them to promotion to the Conference that season. Recently signed for Maidenhead United for the 2012/13 season in the Conference South.
Follow him on Twitter: @dunky_duncs

21. Brian Saah

Who? Saah was the midfielder-turned-defender who filled in for the injured John Mackie on a couple of occasions during the promotion season and has followed Martin Ling around ever since.
Where is now? Released by Orient in May 2007 Saah had unsuccessful trials at Southend and Tranmere before being signed by Ling at Cambridge United in August 2009. The ex-Orient manager then took him to Torquay United in July 2011, where he remains today.
Follow him on Twitter: Not yet, but you could sign this petition to get Brian tweeting.

22. Efe Echanomi

Who? The lightening-paced striker whose promising career was interrupted by the freak broken leg he suffered while warming up with his fellow substitutes before a game against Chester City in the promotion season.
Where is he now? Efe made a handful of appearances for Orient after recovering from his injury, but subsequent spells at Tiptree United and Grays Athletic, plus a trial at Ebbsfleet United all led to nothing. Efe disappeared off the face of the footballing planet until signing for Waltham Forest in December 2011 in the Ryman League Division One North. Tragically he broke his leg again in a game against Sudbury in January 2012. In September 2012 he joined Wembley-based Tokyngton FC as head coach of the Under 18 team.

24. Jason Demetriou

Who? Midfielder Demetriou made his debut in the promotion season as a fresh-faced 19-year-old. He contributed two substitute appearances, one start and, no doubt, a couple of timely dives.
Where is he now? Jason went on to have two outstanding seasons for Orient - 2007/08 and 2008/09 - and one not so good one (2009/10). He then went to Cyprus to play for AEK Larnaca, where he remains to this day. During his time there he's played in both the UEFA Europa League and represented Cyprus at international level. Here's Jason vying for the ball with Cristiano Ronaldo.

25. Christian Hanson

Who? Non-contracted defender whose two substitute appearances constituted approximately 10 minutes of football, during which time Orient didn't concede a single goal. By which token Hanson can be deemed a success and a critical component of the promotion campaign.
Where is he now? Plummeting towards Sunday League football after spells at Grays Athletic, Gateshead, Spennymoor United, Billingham Synthonia and, in 2009/10, Whitby Town in the Northern League, the ninth tier of English football. Off the radar since then. Google is good, but it's not that good.

(5). Adam Tann

Who? Defender who signed midway through the promotion season and whose solid performances in the centre and at right back towards the end of the campaign helped the backline hold firm. Ryan Jarvis's cousin.
Where is now? After suffering and then recovering from testicular cancer in 2006, Tann rejected a new Orient contract to sign for Notts County. He then spent the 2009/10 season at Histon in the Conference, before dropping to the Conference South with Chelmsford City, where he continues to play alongside former Os Justin Miller and Aiden Palmer. This season he combines his duties with a coaching role at Cambridge United.
Follow him on Twitter: @AdamTann

(7). Wayne Corden

Who? Decent two-footed winger who played the last eight games of the campaign on loan. Boasted a valuable ability to actually get the ball in the box, usually after executing a sort of slow-motion version of the Cryuff turn.
Where is he now? After brief spells at Grimbsy and Colwyn Bay, Corden spent four seasons playing for his home club, Leek Town, in the Northern Premier League Division One South. He retired in January 2012.

16 October 2010

Leyton Orient 1 Hartlepool United 0, 16/10/10

A game in which... Orient abandoned their previously unsuccessful tactic of playing reasonably well and then losing in favour of playing absolutely abysmally and winning. The first 60 minutes were woeful, a footballing spectacle only marginally preferable to trying to trim your own toenails with a chainsaw. The last 30 minutes were better, thanks solely to the introduction of on-loan midfielder Paul-Jose M'poku. The Belgian U19 international reminded his forgetful Orient teammates that passing, dribbling, running and shooting are often useful weapons to deploy when trying to win a game of football.

Moment to savour... Hartlepool, it should be noted, were equally as dire as Orient, but did have one notable attempt at goal in the second half - a header which reserve goalkeeper Lee Butcher acrobatically turned over the bar, indicating he could prove to be a more than able back up to Jamie Jones.

Head in hands moment... Ben Chorley's lung-busting 70-yard run towards the end of the game, which took him from deep in the Orient half into Hartlepool's penalty area. Is he going to blast it into the net? Is he going to cleverly lay it off for Scott McGleish to score? Oh, he's passed it straight to the opposition and has to run all the way back again... Shame.

King for a day... Only one candidate really: Paul-Jose M'poku. Introduced with half an hour to go, he gave the Os some real impetus going forward, continually beating men and causing trouble around the edge of the box. Presumably he'd been watching the game very closely from the bench, because he opted to shoot from every free kick rather than pass to a fellow red shirt, no matter how far away from goal he was. Clever.

Boo boy... Dean Cox, who gave an outright JJ Melligan of a performance. In the first 15 minutes he bizarrely opted to deftly chip the ball back into this own penalty area into the path of an onrushing Hartlepool player, and it went downhill from there. Even his trademark squaring up to an opposition player seemed half-hearted this week.

In the dug out... Let's give Big Russ the benefit of the doubt and assume that, despite the loss of Stephen Dawson to injury, he left M'poku on the bench for match-fitness rather than tactical reasons. Still, there was a fair degree of heckling from the West Stand over his reluctance to make any substitutions until the final half an hour, and the manager's apparently unending in faith in his first-choice eleven despite Orient's league position is a bit dubious. And what's James Walker done to upset him? Pissed in his cap?

What would Martin Ling have done? Claimed in the post-match press conference that Paul-Jose Mpoku's performance was one of genius, then gone on to leave him on the bench for the next match in favour of JJ Melligan. "JJ's been really committed in training this week and he deserves his chance," he'd say, defiantly.

Going down? Well, we're out of the relegation zone, but it's going to take a lot more than a 1-0 win over a hopeless Hartlepool side to salvage something from this season. Still, keep the teenage Spurs loanees coming in and we might just stand a chance of staying up.
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