29 November 2010

View from the sofa: Droylsden 1 Leyton Orient 1, 29/11/10

A televised game in which... Orient got to show the nation - well, all 36 people that weren't watching Barcelona v Real Madrid - what they're all about. And what they were all about was mis-hit passess, poor defending of set pieces, lack of quality in the final third (© Chris Waddle) and an inability to turn pressure into goals. Still, let's not be too harsh - these were pretty awful conditions to play football in and Droylsden were plucky opponents. At least we didn't lose.

TV moment to savour... Big Russ's comedy pre-match introduction of the Orient team. On Jimmy Smith: "He's our scout. After 10 o'clock." No, me neither.

'Hello mum' moment... It's hard to show any real quality when you're playing football on an ice rink, but Charlie Daniels did his best impression of a Poundland Gareth Bale with a couple of driving runs up the left in the first half.

Stage fright... Paul-Jose M'poku had his least effective game for Orient but nothing should eclipse the towering 6ft 5in of pure, uncut ineptitude that is Aaron Brown. So catastrophic is his distribution that if he were Santa Claus he'd inadvertently bulk deliver the entire contents of his sleigh to a windswept sand dune in the Sahara desert, muttering to himself, 'I'm sure there were kids here last year.'

In the commentary box... Poor Chris Waddle. Just think, if he hadn't pile-drived his penalty into row Z at Italia 90 he might not have had to suffer severe hypothermia while passing mildly informed comment on an FA Cup second round replay at a non-league ground. Still, at least he didn't lower himself to doing an embarrassing pizza advert. Oh, hang on...

In the pundits' chair... Ok, Clark Carlisle, you may have beaten one-time Orient midfielder Andy Harris to the title of Britain's Brainiest Footballer and been on Countdown and everything, but your claim that Droylsden should have been 'two or three up' at half-time was the sort of juvenile nonsense we'd expect from, oh, I don't know, Robbie Savage or someone. Speaking of which, who other than ESPN would let that girl-haired idiot anywhere near a TV studio since his last debacle on Match of the Day 2. ("Robbie, what do you know about Arsenal's Sebastien Squillaci?" "Erm, he's got a funny name?") Where's Steve Claridge when you need him?

Going to Wembley? Orient have again tried to scupper their own relegation battle by adding another FA Cup replay to their busy fixture list, but assuming they can overcome Droylsden at the second time of asking there's no reason whatsoever why they can't go on and beat Norwich in round three. Apart from the fact that Norwich are much, much better than them of course.

20 November 2010

Leyton Orient 2 Bournemouth 2, 20/11/10

A game in which... Orient were committed, strong, pressurising, hard-working and vibrant. Unfortunately, however, this was only for the final 10 minutes of the game. The rest of the match painted a pretty accurate picture of Orient's standing in League One, as Bournemouth showed better passing, better movement, better pressing, better creativity, better ball retention, better shooting, better haircuts... You get the idea. Still, it was a rousing finish and a great point gained against a classy Bournemouth side.

Moment to savour... Jonathan Tehoue's second goal in added time, of course, in which he showed great strength and then composure to allow Orient to grasp a draw from the jaws of defeat.

Head in hands moment... Quite a few actually, mostly around loanee Premier League goalkeeper Jason Brown's repeated decisions to roll the ball out to defenders with opposition players in close proximity rather than lump it up the middle and hope for the best like you're supposed to in League One.

King for a day... Only one candidate here: Jonathan Tehoue. Some idiot who shall remain nameless complained after Tuesday's FA Cup replay that of late the Frenchman's cameos had been - like Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder - pretty unimpressive. Not so today - he stormed onto the pitch with a 'Get out of jail free' card in his pocket and was determined to use it. If Tehoue could play like that for 90 minutes in a row, Orient would probably win the league. Or at least not get relegated.

Boo boy... No one had a stinker, but there was a bit of a bad smell around pocket-sized antagonist Dean Cox who, by his own high standards, had a pretty ineffective game. Matthew Spring, however, showed that he could pass with 100 per cent accuracy - as long as it was backwards.

In the dug out... Big Russ seemed pretty upset with the South Stand after Orient equalised, probably due to the vocal griping about the 4-5-1 system the manager began the game with, which saw a striker who'd scored seven in the last six games playing right midfield. Still, Russ knows what he's doing and switched to 4-4-2 just in time for Bournemouth to go two up.

What would Martin Ling have done? Played 4-4-2, as he has done in every single game of entire management career. "People say I'm tactically inflexible," he'd say defiantly, "but I've used many different systems and formations. It's just that all of them involve four defenders, four midfielders and two strikers."

Going down? The spirit Orient showed in salvaging a point shows that there'll be grit in the team when they're in the midst of the late-season relegation battle. The way the Os were outclassed by Bournemouth, however, suggests they'll probably go down anyway.

16 November 2010

FA Cup Round 1 Replay: Leyton Orient 3 Dagenham & Redbridge 2

A game in which... Orient nearly contrived to throw away a two-goal lead for the third time this season after they were temporarily bamboozled by Dagenham & Redbridge's visionary tactics (lump it up to Bas Savage, see what happens). That said, apart from 15 minutes of madness in the second half when the Os appeared terror-stricken by the sight of the ball repeatedly dropping into the penalty area from great height, this was a relatively decent performance.

Moment to savour... Paul-Jose M'poku's through pass to Alex Revell for Orient's second goal split the Dagenham & Redbridge defence like a chainsaw through butter. Although Charlie Daniels' jinking run to the byline that took out about four Daggers' defenders in the second half was equally as praiseworthy.

Head in hands moment... Lee Butcher's bizarre first-half decision to throw the ball out to Charlie Daniels, despite the fact the left back was surrounded by the entire Dagenham & Redbridge team - including the goalkeeper and substitutes.

King for a day... Chorley was commanding in defence, M'poku a constant threat on the left wing, Daniels put in a great shift and even Jimmy Smith did a couple of things of note, such as... erm... no, it's gone. But man of the match has to go to that old trooper Scott McGleish, whose tireless running, two goals and salmon-swimming-upstream headers ensured the Os reached round two safely. Not bad for a 48-year-old.

Boo boy... No one really, though sadly Jonathan Tehoue's cameos are looking less and less impressive as time goes on.

In the dug out... Big Russ repsonded to a fan's complaint about James Walker - who'd just spooned a cross into the crowd - with a barrel-load of invective. Fair enough, Russ, you've certainly showed a lot of faith in Walker. Oh, hang on...

What would Martin Ling have done? Responded to Adam Chambers' injury by simply playing 10 men from the start. "There's no one who can replace Chambo," he'd say, defiantly, "except maybe Derek Duncan, and there's an important reserves game coming up so I don't want to risk him."

On the way to Wembley? It's Droylsden in the second round, and while it's never easy playing away from home against a Sunday pub team, the Os should be able to make it to round three. After that, well, who knows how many we'll lose by if we draw a Premier League team?

14 November 2010

Leyton Orient play-off final team 2001: Where are they now? (updated)

Eleven brave, talented warriors took to the pitch at the Millennium Stadium on 21 May 2001 for the Division Three play-off final. Unfortunately they were all wearing Blackpool shirts. Orient, meanwhile, were without their top two strikers and couldn't match the class of the northern side, eventually losing 4-2. Here's what the Orient players have been up to since...

The starting XI

Ashley Bayes

Who? Brilliant shot-stopping goalkeeper who quite possibly may have been a vampire, such was his aversion to crosses. Appeared to play every single game with an imaginary rope tethering him to his own goal line.
Where is he now? Pulling the gloves on for Basingstoke Town in the Conference South, for whom he signed in June 2011, while moonlighting as goalkeeping coach at Aldershot. Now 40 years old, he previously spent three seasons on the bench at Stevenage, although he put his time to good use. Released by Orient at the end of the 2001/02 season, he also had spells at League of Ireland side Bohemian, Woking, Hornchurch, Grays Athletic and Crawley Town.

Matthew Joseph

Who? Reliable, hard-working and classy right back in the fine tradition of Orient players so short you assume they're a ball boy until the game kicks off. Loyal Brisbane Road servant for seven seasons.
Where is he now? Released by Martin Ling at the end of the 2003/04 season, Matt went on to play one season for Canvey Island in the Conference, then a handful of games for Histon in the Conference South before retiring. After a spell as a youth coach at Tottenham Hotspur, Matt now works for the FA as a Regional Coach Development Manager. 

Matt Lockwood

Who? The goal-scoring left back, spot-kick specialist and Brisbane Road legend who, according to Barry Hearn, was a Premier League 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.

Dean Smith

Who? Defensive rock who, though he could be outpaced by an overweight six-year-old, was a fearless, committed performer with a sizeable football brain.
Where is he now? After moving from Orient to Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship, and then playing his final season for Port Vale in League One, Smith became Orient's Youth Team coach and then assistant to manager Martin Ling, before the pair of them got the boot in January 2009. He moved to former club Walsall to be Head of Youth before being appointed manager in January 2011.

Simon Downer

Who? Young centre back - just 19 years old in the play-off final - who, when not injured (which was most of the time), had a fair degree of class about him.
Where is now? Sent out on loan to Aldershot in 2004, Downer left Orient at the end of that season and, over the subsequent years, became intimately acquainted with the treatment tables of Hornchurch, Weymouth, Grays Athletic, Wivenhoe Town and Sutton United. He temporarily retired to become a bricklayer but came back to play fairly regularly for Rushden & Diamonds in the Conference from January 2009 until the end of the 2009/10 season. Now back at Sutton United in the Isthmian League Premier Division.
Find him on Twitter: @sidowner

Andy Harris

Who? Gritty and talented South African midfielder who would regularly find himself on the end of loose balls at the edge of the opponents' penalty area, which he would summarily dispatch straight into Row Z with 100 per cent accuracy. Hence why it took him almost 200 games to score his first ever professional goal.
Where is he now? Let go by Paul Brush in 2003, Harris had spells with Chester City, Forest Green Rovers, Weymouth and Eastleigh. He returned to Weymouth in the for the 2009/10 season in the Conference South, where he briefly served as assistant manager and then caretaker manager. Harris has an IQ of 153, putting him in the top 2 per cent of the population, and appeared on an ITV show Britain's Brainiest Footballers in 2002. He's now putting his grey matter to good use as Head Coach of the football academy at Kingston Maurward College in Dorset.

Wim Walschaerts

Who? Exotic foriegn whizz kid... Well, maybe not, but a solid, hard-working midfielder with an unpronouceable name.
Where is now? The play-off final was Wim's last game for Orient, after which he returned to his native country and played for a handful of tongue-twisting Belgian sides, including KFC Strombeek in the second division. For Dutch-speakers, this is Wim being interviewed a few years ago when he played for K Berchem Sport. At the grand old age of 38 he was still playing for and captaining K Ternesse in the sixth tier of Belgian football, but finally retired at the close of the 2010/11 season. Off the pitch, tragically, Wim's wife Karen died of cancer in 2008.

David McGhee

Who? Defender-cum-midfield enforcer, David was nicknamed 'Mad Dog' because, well, he had tattoos and stuff. Consistent performer and often thrown up front by Tommy Taylor in the last five minutes of games Orient were losing, usually to no discernible effect. 
Where is he now? Off the radar. Released by Orient in 2002, he went on to play two seasons for Canvey Island in the Isthmian League Premier Division, then another for Chelmsford City at the same level. He played for Wivenhoe in the Isthmian League Division One South in the 2006/07 season.

Scott Houghton

Who? Chippy and chubby midfielder with a lot of bluster and the occasional moment of effectiveness, such as his goal in the play-off final.
Where is he now? Gave Tommy Taylor an earful for substituting him at the Millennium Stadium and was subsequently shipped out in February 2002. After seven appearances for Halifax Town and then handful more for Stevenage Borough, Scott decided it was a fair cop and became a policeman in Peterborough. He remained a fixture in non-league football, however, playing in the United Counties League Premier Divison for Wootton Blue Cross, Blackstones, St Neots (where he was also assistant manager and manager) and Arlesey Town (where he was also assistant manager). These days he still waddles up the wing for the Cambridgeshire Police team while carving out a new career as a reality TV star in the Sky One show Cop Squad.

Chris Tate

Who? The frizzy-haired striker from Scarborough who scored a wonder goal against Barnet in the run-up to the play-off final but was widely regarded by fans as hard-working, committed and mostly useless. Nonetheless, scored what remains the fastest ever goal in a play-off final to put Orient 1-0 up after 27 seconds.
Where is he now? Tate fell down the pecking order in the 2001/02 season to 37th-choice striker in Tommy Taylor's enormous, though mostly ineffective, squad. He was loaned out to Stevenage Borough and Chester City, but enjoyed something of a rennaisance under Paul Brush in 2002/03. Shipped out by Martin Ling at the end of the 2003/04 season, Tate signed for Mansfield Town but played only four games in 2004/05 and then spent the next two seasons playing in the lower tiers of Swedish football. Returing to the UK, he signed for Yorkshire side Goole Town in the Northern Premier League Division One South at the start of the 2006/07 season, and
scored on his league debut. Retired at the end of the 2008/09 season and now runs a pub in his home town of York.

Jabo Ibehre

Who? Fans' favourite and Brisbane Road enigma. A striker who could confound defenders with breathtaking trickery, pace and strength, while at the same time spooning the ball over the crossbar with his elbow.
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.
Find him on Twitter: @ibehre

On the bench

Scott Barrett

Who? Reliable journeyman goalkeeper who joined Orient at the start of the 1999/2000 season from Gillingham. Mostly played back-up to Ashley Bayes.
Where is he now? After a long spell as first-choice keeper in the 2001/02 season, Barrett left Orient to become assistant manager at Grays Athletic alongside gaffer Mark Stimson. Since then, like a loyal puppy dog, Barrett has followed Stimson wherever he's gone, from Stevenage Borough to Gillingham to Barnet and, for the start of the 2012/13 season, to Ryman Premier League club Thurrock.

John Martin

Who? A local East End lad done good - well, ok, anyway. Martin came up through the ranks at Orient and had a fair degree of promise, hampered only by the fact he had the all the physical stature of an 11-year-old girl.
Where is he now? After leaving Brisbane Road at the end of the 2002/03, Martin had unsuccessful stints at Farnborough Town and Hornchurch. Five happier seasons followed, where the midfielder played fairly regularly for Grays Athletic and then Stevenage Borough in the Conference. (Along with a brief loan spell at Ebbsfleet United.) At the start of the 2009/10 season Martin joined Chelmsford City in the Conference South, where he stayed for two seasons. In 2011/12 he played three games for Harlow Town, but is currently without a club.

Ahmet Brkovic

Who? Classy Croation midfielder who spent two seasons at Orient without, apparently, ever being fully trusted by manager Tommy Taylor.
Where is he now? Brkovic's substitute appearance in the play-off final was his last in an Orient shirt. He went on to have seven seasons at Luton, scoring 15 goals in their promotion season of 2004/05 and then a further eight in their first season in the Championship. In 2008/09 he appeared for Millwall in League One, before returning to Croatia to play for third tier side HNK Dubrovnik 1919, and he hasn't been heard of since. Presumably he's still searching for his missing vowel.

Steve Castle

Who? Leyton Orient legend and notorious pizza thief, Castle once scored 18 goals from midfield in a season. His third spell at Brisbane Road, however, was riddled with injuries and he was limited to a handful of appearances, including 23 minutes from the bench in the play-off final.
Where is he now? Loaned out to Stevenage Borough for a few games in the 2001/02 season, Castle returned to Orient to find he wasn't part of new manager Paul Brush's plans. In June 2002 he became player/coach for then Isthmian League side St Albans City and, after a brief spell as assistant manager at Peterborough - was made player/manager a year later, remaining there until October 2005. Brief spells as manager of Essex Olympian League side Tately FC, assistant manager at Cambridge United and coach of the West Ham under-13 team followed, before Castle returned as manager of St Albans City until the end of the 2010/11 season. He's now manager of Essex Senior League side Takeley FC, combining his duties with driving a cab in Bishop's Stortford.

Billy Beall

Who? Martin Ling had Loick Pires, Paul Brush had Tom Newey... and Tommy Taylor had Billy Beall. That is, a player who seems to enjoy the unwavering faith of the manager, to the absolute bemusement of any fan that's actually seen them play.
Where is he now? Billy Beall confounded the Brisbane Road critics by going to have a successful career in the Premier League... Just kidding, after leaving Orient in 2002 the midfielder plummetted towards pub football with spells at Cambridge City and then Farnborough Town. Released from the Hampshire side at the end of the 2003/04 season and not heard of since.

They should have been playing, if they hadn't stupidly got themselves suspended...

Steve Watts

Who? Preening but sometimes effective striker and part-time model who, when he wasn't being outpaced by the opposition team's mascot during the warm-up, was hanging out with Jordan in dodgy nightclubs. Watts' goal in the play-off semi-final against Hull City helped Orient reach the Millennium Stadium, but the two immature yellow cards he received in the same game ensured he was banned for the final itself.
Where is he now? After scoring 12 goals in the 2001/02 season, Watts was loaned out to Margate, Welling United, Lincoln City and Dagenham & Redbridge, before signing for Shrewsbury Town in March 2003. He then had spells at Dagenham & Redbridge and St Albans City, before returning to former club Fisher Athletic in the summer of 2004, scoring 95 goals in two and a half seasons and helping his team to promotion to the Conference South. After a brief spells at Bromley and Eastleigh, Watts signed for Isthmian League Premier Division side Sutton United in June 2008, and played for them until he retired at the end of the 2010/11 season. Steve's now a professional poker player. Like his hair, however, the modelling work has receded.

Carl Griffiths

Who? Orient's best striker since Peter Kitchen. "He'd do fuck all, but he'd score a goal," was manager Tommy Taylor's opinion of 'Super' Carl Griffiths, who possibly ruined Orient's chances of play-off victory by getting sent off for violent conduct in a league game against Mansfield Town, ensuring he'd be suspended for the final.
Where is he now? Two seasons ago Griff was still playing - and scoring - at 39 years old for Barkingside FC in the Essex Senior League. His journey there encompassed two injury-hit seasons at Luton Town and then various spells at non-league clubs Harlow Town, Heybridge Swifts, King's Lynn, Braintree Town, Brentwood Town (where Carl also served as manager) and Maldon Town. In November 2010 he was appointed as manager of Ryman Premier League side Aveley FC, who he duly got relegated before being shown the door in November 2011.

The manager

Tommy Taylor

Who? Former Orient player - a highly classy defender - who managed the club from November 1996 to October 2001, reaching two play-off finals and building a squad of what appeared to be about 350 players, a handful of which were good.
Where is he now? Since leaving Orient Tommy has been on the managerial merry-go-round, taking the reins at Darlington, Farnborough Town, Seba United in Jamaica, King's Lynn and Boston United, along with a spell as assistant manager at Peterborough. In May 2009 Tommy was appointed manager of the Grenada national team, and took them to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where unfortunately they lost all three games. Tommy had a brief three-month spell as Director of Football at Spanish fourth tier side FC Torrevieja in 2010, before taking the reins at Evo-Stik League Division One South side Belper Town in May 2011. He lasted until September of the same year, when a poor run of results saw him get the boot.

06 November 2010

FA Cup round 1: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Leyton Orient 1, 16/11/10

A game which... demonstrated that there are three certainties in life: death, taxes and the fact that Orient will always concede a goal from a set piece when playing away from home. (Four times in the last four away games, fact fans.) Aside from that, this was a game so bland that if it were a TV show, it would be co-presented by Kate Thornton and Holly Willoughby, have a theme tune by David Gray and feature ex-Holby City actors trying to guess which brands of paint dry quickest.

Moment to savour... Tricky one that, but in the first five minutes Matthew Spring executed his trademark slow-mo pirouette and fired the ball across the field to Alex Revell with a fair degree of class.

Head in hands moment... Dean Cox's 80th-minute miss, which selfishly consigned Orient fans to having to sit through another game against Dagenham & Redbridge. Set up by Revell, the goal was gaping, but the tiny wind-up merchant managed to place his shot directly at the goalkeeper's outstretched boot.

King for a day... Selecting Orient's man of the match is a bit like asking which one of The Saturdays is most likely to have a successful solo career. The answer, clearly, is none of them. Spring played ok, Omozusi added an occasional spark down the right in the second half, Dawson was tireless as ever... But probably Alex Revell edged it for working hard from right midfield and taking his simple chance. Let's ignore the fact he could well have got a hatrick in the first 10 minutes had his decision-making been a bit better.

Boo boy... While no one had a shocker, pretty much the whole team had a moment of ineptitude at some point, not least Lee Butcher, who surely has to be at fault for the Daggers' goal, if only for apparently not building his wall properly.

In the dug out... Do we really need to play 4-5-1 against Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Cup, Russ?

What would Martin Ling have done? Used the cup game to allow a couple of his youngsters the chance to show the travelling fans what they're all about. "Loick Pires gained valuable experience today," he'd say defiantly in defence of the gangly midfielder's three own-goals and sending off.

On the way to Wembley? Well, if Orient are to progress in this competition, they're going to need a home fixture in every round for starters. That aside, today's performance wasn't one that inspires too much hope for the rest of the season. When's M'poku fit again?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...