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.
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