08 December 2010

FA Cup Round 2 Replay: Leyton Orient 8 Droylsden 2, 7/12/10

A game which... was such a spectacle and so packed with incident that should an alien spacecraft ill-advisedly have chosen to land on top of the East Stand midway through extra-time, fans would have simply given it the most cursory of glances and muttered, 'Yeah, whatever, Tehoue's about to get his hatrick.' Ten goals, four sending offs... Where to even begin? Well, it should be noted that although 1-0 down at half-time and quite a few passes going astray, Orient weren't actually playing that badly, and but for the crossbar and two miraculous goal-line clearances, would have been 3-1 up.

In the second half, though hit on the break for Droylsden to go two-up, the Os were nothing if not committed and eventually got their just rewards with the two goals. Extra-time, meanwhile, was something akin to what would occur should a well-meaning, if misguided, PE teacher decide to round-up all the wheezing fat kids and make them play a practice game against the school first XI, just to show them that exercise can be fun. It isn't. I'm not saying that the Droylsden part-timers were unfit, but I'm sure I spotted a respirator in their physio's bag next to the 'magic sponge'.

Moment to savour... Should Simon Cowell ever launch a spin-off TV show entitled Odious Little Prick Factor, Droylsden's manager Dave Pace would surely give favourite Katie Waissel a run for her money. So it was a delight to see him escorted to the stands by a couple of coppers after squaring up to our very own Kevin Nugent, a man whose refusal to wear anything other than shorts in sub-Arctic temperatures proves he's not someone to be messed with.

Head in hands moment... Terrell Forbes ludicrously unnecessary challenge on Droylsden's Jody Banim that led to his first-half red card. Given that Banim seemed to be weighed down by a good 30 or 40 doughnuts, a couple of greasy fry-ups and a bag of lard, he took some knocking over too.

King for a day... A tough one. Charlie Daniels was in imperious form, driving into the box time after time and executing one mouth-watering slide tackle in front of the West Stand in the first half. Tehoue and McGleish, of course, got well-deserved hatricks and it was great to have Stephen Dawson back doing what he does best (running). But the award has to go to Paul-Jose M'poku who, during the second half and until his substitution in extra time, was - like a Joe McElderry CD - completely unplayable. 

Boo boy... Matthew Spring. But first, a disclaimer: The enormously-conked playmaker played pretty well in extra time, not least because the entire Droylsden midfield were cowering in their own penalty area whimpering, 'Please, God, no... Make it stop.' Before that, however, the Springster's inability to hit a pass to anyone other than an opposition player was somewhat worrying, given that passing is supposed to be his 'thing'.

In the dug out... Losing 1-0, down to 10 men and just about to come out for the second half. What would most managers do? Take off a striker, bolster the defence and hope you can nick a draw on the break, probably. Not Big Russ, he threw on another striker, played 3-3-3 and damn you all! Fair play to him.

What would Martin Ling have done? Claimed at the victorious press conference that, as an Orient man through and through, it was a proud day for him. Then the next day touted himself to Swindon because they have slightly bigger gates at the County Ground than they do at Brisbane Road.

Going to Wembley? Well, if Orient can beat Droylsden 8-2 then they are certainly a match for any Conference North side! Norwich might prove a bit trickier to overcome, though, but after tonight's memorable performance, there's no ruling out what might happen. We might even have a defence back by then, too.
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