26 December 2011

Leyton Orient 0 MK Dons 3, 26/12/11

A game in which... it seemed apparent that the MK Dons squad had spent Christmas Day drinking protein shakes, doing one-handed press-ups and firing themselves up by watching the famous Battle of Agincourt speech from Henry V. The Orient team, meanwhile, had clearly passed the time with their heads stuck down a bumper-sized box of Quality Street while plumped on the sofa sniggering, burping and farting their way through Home Alone.

So despite a relatively bright first half in which, to be fair, Orient could have gone ahead if it wasn't for the fact that their finishing was about as clinical as an operating theatre located in a sewer, the home side fell apart in the second and allowed an impressive MK Dons side to totally dominate and record a deserved victory.

Moment of magic... Not many to choose from, but Lee Butcher did pull off an impressive reflex save with his feet in the second half, diverting a close range shot onto the underside of the crossbar. That said, moments later he was so transfixed by Adam Smith's 35-yard strike that he simply watched in wonder as it sailed into his top corner, almost as if he'd just witnessed the Star of Bethlehem in the east London sky.

Moment of madness... When Jamie Cureton found himself alone on the opposition six-yard box with the ball at his feet and no defender near him, yet still managed to skew the ball onto the post. The fact that he was actually offside is by the by - at this rate you'd get better odds on Barry Hearn revealing himself to be the real Santa Claus than 'the Orient Torres' actually getting the ball in the back of the net before the season's up.

Knight in shining armour... Terrell Forbes tends to go about his business with the quiet efficiency of a mild-mannered mortgage adviser, but seasoned Brisbane Road observers will note he's seldom put a foot wrong this season. Today, in particular, he was imperious at the back in the face of the impressive MK Dons frontline of Dean Bowditch and some fella name of Jabo.

Pantomime horse... Now, Scott Cuthbert has been in superb form in the centre of defence this season, but clearly isn't the answer at right back given that he's got all the delivery skills of a bicycle courier on acid. He's not helped by the Russell Slade's aversion to playing right midfielders in front of him but - and here's a sentence you probably thought would never exist in the whole history of time - it'll be good to have Leon McSweeney back.

In the dug out... Some slightly bemusing decisions from the big man today, not least taking off Matthew Spring to allow George Porter on, when surely Jimmy Smith was the more logical choice given that Spring was actually giving some level of control to Orient's passing, while Smith was, well, you know, running around in circles wondering whether he needed to trim his hair again tomorrow or the day after.

A word on the opposition... To keep things in perspective it should be noted that MK Dons are one of the best sides to rock up at Brisbane Road this season, and Orient did match them throughout the first half. Meanwhile, it's worth remembering that at the end of the 2007/08 season Orient replaced Jabo Ibehre with Ryan Jarvis, which is something akin to a car enthusiast trading in his Ferrari Superamerica 45 for a punctured space hopper.

Meanwhile on Twitter... Thanks to the magic of Twitter we get to discover what Orient players get up to on Christmas Day. Dean Cox was on chef duties, as we can see from this picture which, incredibly, was actually taken inside the kitchen of a doll's house. Scott Cuthbert, too (also pictured), was also cooking - either that or he's moonlighting as a cut-price stripper.

Jimmy Smith was as excitable as ever: "Family getting drunk mum is doing me head in lol have some off my water mum lol #LEGOOOOOO". George Porter, meanwhile, celebrated the festive season the only way he knows how: "They'll be some love making, heart breaking, soul shaking !!" he tweeted before settling down to watch Downtown Abbey on his own with a monster pack of Doritos.

Lesson for the day... Three, in fact. Don't let your best strikers leave! Try not to eat too many mince pies if you're a professional footballer! Right midfielders are helpful!

10 December 2011

Leyton Orient 3 Exeter City 0, 10/12/11

A game in which... for the first hour, despite their class and endeavour, it seemed like there was more chance of Mark Wright being asked to host Question Time than Orient actually getting the ball in the net. Once Kevin Lisbie expertly dispatched his first penalty, however, it was like a huge weight had been lifted from the team's shoulders. Another huge weight entered the field in the form of super sub Jonathan Tehoue, whose goal was the catalyst to a delightful final spell of dominance over a good side in which the Os played with all the swagger of a teenage boy who's just got a snog off his older sister's best mate.

Moment of magic... The sight of the aforementioned Tehoue lumbering on to the pitch like an ageing water buffalo slowly awakening from a deep slumber. The French striker has an incredible habit of being in the right place at the right time and, as today showed, his goals from the bench are going to be invaluable as the season progresses.

Moment of madness... Jimmy Smith's point blank miss in which - after a brilliant piece of trickery by Kevin Lisbie on the right - he contrived to shoot straight at the keeper from all of three and a half inches in front of a gaping goal.

Knight in shining armour... Plenty of impressive performances today - Lisbie, McSweeney, Spring and Cuthbert for starters - but man of the match surely has to go to Stephen Dawson. The captain was such a force of energy today that if you'd wired him up he could have powered a small village in Essex.

Pantomime horse... Though he actually had a pretty decent game, the fact that Jamie Cureton - "the Orient Torres" - still hasn't found the net is something akin to Keith Richards turning up to perform at your office Christmas party, but proclaiming he 'couldn't be arsed' to bring his guitar.  

In the dug out... You'd be pretty happy as a manager if your first substitute scores with his first touch, and your second wins a penalty minutes later. Indeed, things were going so well for Russ that if he'd sent Marc Laird on the midfielder would have probably scored a jaw-dropping bicycle kick. Although, just to be on the safe side, Slade left the former Millwall man on the bench. After all, there's no point in risking throwing away a 3-0 lead in the last few minutes.

A word on the opposition... Exeter certainly didn't look like a team that should be hovering just above the relegation zone. They looked like they should be in it. Just kidding, in fact the Grecians were a tidy, effective outfit and can consider themselves unlucky not to have gone one up in the second half when only the post and a fantastic save from Lee Butcher kept the Os in it. Although I'm unclear as to why manager Paul Tisdale was dressed as if he was about to hunt bison in the Canadian wilderness.

Meanwhile on Twitter... This week George Porter took time off from bemoaning the lack of attractive women in his life - "No 10/10 girls about anymore or even like 9 or 8 too many 4's" - to enter into coversation with Debbie - aka Lydia's mum - from The Only Way Is Essex. "Why are you on Twitter? #embarrassing mums" he asked rather rudely, only to be told by Debbie that she's an Orient fan. "Am I your favourite player?" a contrite George replied, hopefully. Debbie is yet to respond.

Lesson for the day... Hey, if you play with two strikers at home you score goals!

03 December 2011

FA Cup: Leyton Orient 0 Gillingham 1, 3/12/11

A game in which... Orient played with all the passion and enthusiasm of a hospital nurse tasked with dressing a minor wound sustained by Jeremy Clarkson. Full credit to Gillingham, but the Os did themselves no favours at all today. The first half tactics consisted solely of pumping long balls to a lone striker placed strategically at 15 yards offside. Russell Slade's not afraid to change things round though, oh no, and in the second half the Os came out with a revised plan of pumping long balls to two strikers placed strategically at 15 yards offside.

Moment of magic... There was no magic today, unless you count Marc Laird's now infamous disappearing act, in which he trots out from the tunnel in full view of the crowd, yet somehow manages to remain invisible for the entirety of the game.

Moment of madness... When Ben Alnwick decided to give Gillingham an early Christmas gift by spooning an innocuous back pass directly into the path of one of their strikers, almost ruining Russell Slade's best-laid plans to scrape a 0-0 draw.

King for a day... Scott Cuthbert. Were the entire Orient squad dumped in the middle of an Australian jungle - now there's a thought - then today the former Swindon man would be out killing crocodiles with his teeth while his teammates cowered by the campfire trembling at the sight of small insects.

Pantomime horse... Sadly, George Porter, whose performances tend to be in direct contrast to the quality of the opposition. By that token, he'd presumably tear apart the Barcelona defence yet come unstuck against the overweight left back from the local girls school's under-11 side.

In the dug out... "We've got a lot of soul-searching to do," said Russell after today's game, suggesting that instead of spending the week working on how to create more chances, the squad will peer deep into their own minds to try to establish the root causes of today's loss. God only knows what Jimmy Smith will find there - a pirate DVD of the Transformers movie and a 2-4-1 voucher for Nando's, probably.

A word on the opposition... Fair play to Gillingham, they took advantage of a poor Os performance with a fair degree of class. They'd even handicapped themselves before kick off by apparently weighing down striker Danny Kedwell with 47 doughnuts and a KFC mega-deal.

Meanwhile on Twitter... John Sitton continues to prove he definitely isn't bonkers by singing the footballing praises of Z-list celebrity and former Mr Jade Goody, Jeff Brazier. "Jeff listened, could play, was a good little athlete, cracking little midfield player who had the heart the size of a dustbin lid," tweeted Sitts. Next week: the former Os manager on how he could have avoided relegation if only he'd been allowed to sign H from Steps.

Lesson for the day... Since playing seven midfielders - count 'em - was clearly not sufficient to create any chances, perhaps against Exeter we should go the whole hog and populate the whole team with them. Where's Paul Terry when you need him?

19 November 2011

Leyton Orient 0 Stevenage 0, 19/11/11

A game which... was as tough as a spelling test at a The Only Way Is Essex cast party. Yep, this was a right old-fashioned ding-dong which, in truth, either side could have won. The majority of the Stevenage team appeared to have been chiselled out of medium-sized bungalows and they were well-disciplined and hard to break down. But the Os deserve credit for matching them physically and carving out a number of chances to squander.

Moment to savour... Kevin Lisbie's cute little flick that gave him a clear run at the Stevenage goal in injury-time. Unfortunately the striker - who impressed again today - was afflicted with a touch of the Curetons and delayed his shot long enough to allow a defender time to tie his shoelaces, text his girlfriend and then put the ball out for a corner.

Moment of madness... David 'Don't call me Rooney' Mooney's first half miss. After some neat interplay between Kevin Lisbie and George Porter the unmarked striker somehow failed to connect with a cross just yards in front of the goal. I'm not saying his reactions are slow, but any day now he's going to start celebrating the news that London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

Knight in shining armour... Though his moustache makes him look like a sinister school caretaker with a secret passion for cross-dressing, Scott Cuthbert emerged victorious from his physical battle with powerful Stevenage striker Darius Charles and put in one of his best performances in an Os shirt.

Pantomime horse... A solid performance from the Os, but at times goalkeeper Ben Alnwick's distribution was poor and he was lucky to escape after flapping at one descending ball so much he almost took flight.

In the dug-out... After Moses Obudajo's inspired cameo against Bromley last week, today Big Russ reverted to what's known as the "M'poku' strategy" - leaving a lively winger on the bench for the entire game in a cunning ploy to not actually create any chances. I jest - in fact the manager can be credited with ensuring his team matched an efficient Stevenage side in all departments.

A word on the opposition... Impressive team and travelling support, but manager Graham Westley's apoplectic reaction to every Orient throw-in taken half a yard further forward than it should have been was so wildly out of proportion it was like the United States of America declaring nuclear war on the UK simply because Piers Morgan called Gwyneth Paltrow "an irritating muesli-botherer".


Meanwhile on Twitter... It's been a rough old week for Jimmy Smith. His tweet after last weekend's game in which he threatened a fans' message board poster - "Any o's fan no bunk Moreland get him to contact me ASAP and be brave" - earned him a nomination for the world's daftest footballer. He then spent the week tweeting variations on "breakfast-bath-training-gym-bedtime #LEGOOOOOOO" almost as if he actually wanted to win the prize.

Lesson for the day... Gone are the days when Leyton Orient teams could be out-muscled by the under-11 rounders team from the local girls' primary school. These days the Os will front up anyone - although their mums say don't play too rough and make sure they're home in time for tea.

17 November 2011

The 10 worst Leyton Orient haircuts

It's not only on the pitch that Leyton Orient have had some shockers over the years, as this lot demonstrate... 


10. Ralph Coates

Who? Stocky ex-England international winger who helped Orient maintain mid-table security in the heady days of Division Two from 1978-81, despite being in his late 60s.
The look he's working: With his wild combover, Coates resembled an ostensibly meek ledger clerk who one day surprises everyone by embarking upon an unprovoked office killing spree.




9. Sean Thornton

Who? Enigmatic midfielder whose three seasons at Brisbane Road from 2007 to 2010 coincided with a massive upturn in the profits of east London's drinking establishments.
The look he's working: A look that suggests that a small, untalented child has painted Sean's head red using his great auntie Maureen's industrial-sized tub of cheek blusher.




8. Barry Silkman

Who? Stylish midfielder whose slick moves helped Orient plummet from Division Two to Four over his four seasons at the club from 1981 to 1984.
The look he's working: Less a haircut, more a result of standing still in midfield waiting for an Orient player to pass the ball to him while a family of Leyton vultures hastily assemble a wild nest on top of his head.




7. Derrick Downing

Who? Impressive winger-cum-left back who played in George Petchey's classy Division Two side from 1972-75.
The look he's working: Derrick's valiant attempt to distract attention from his thinning top with the mother of all sideburns left him resembling an intense air traffic controller who was always just seconds away from deliberately bringing every plane crashing into the ground.




6. Chris Tate

Who? Orient cult hero whose performances over his four seasons at Brisbane Road from 2000 to 2004 veered from the sublime to the ridiculous. Mostly the ridiculous though.
The look he's working: Admittedly, when you're frizzy and ginger you're already on a hiding to nothing, but by tousling his hair skywards Tate has somehow attained the appearance of an incompetent cruise ship cocktail waiter dressed up as a Thundercat.



5. Lee Harvey

Who? Winger with silky - well, maybe polyester - skills who played for 10 seasons between 1983 and 1993 and scored in the play-off semi-final of 1989.
The look he's working: Ok, it was the 80s, but is that an excuse for this blo-waved homage to Lady Diana (as she was then) by way of cocky Romford estate agent? No, it isn't.




4. Phil Hoadley

Who? Rock at the centre of Orient's 1970s defence for seven seasons in Division Two.
The look he's working: Phil's carefully-coiffured helmet gives him the look of an apparently cheery Women's Institute committee member who'd happily stab a judge in the eye with a knitting needle if she didn't win the annual jam-making contest.




3. Chris Jones

Who? Striker from the dark Division Four days of the mid-80s, making 122 appearances from 1984-87, scoring 22 goals.
The look he's working: There are plenty of ways for a young footballer to disguise a receding hairline, but this isn't one of them. Jones's balding mullet left him reminiscent of an earnest British Rail ticket collector with a passing interest in dogging.





2. Gary Bellamy

Who? Defensive mainstay from 1992 to 1996, a period when Orient were to football what Chumbawumba were to the emerging Britpop movement.
The look he's working: Gary wore his child-scaring mullet/tache combo loud and proud, giving him the air of a low-level pickpocket-cum-irritable woodwork teacher.





1. Peter Mountford

Who? Try-hard midfielder who found time in between his personal grooming regime to make 27 appearances between 1984 and 1987.
The look he's working: This isn't a haircut, it's a mane - a children's TV presenter by way of Norwegian exchange student monstrosity that appears to house a small family of wood mice.

12 November 2011

FA Cup: Leyton Orient 3 Bromley 0, 12/11/11

A game in which... Orient did what they had to do. Assuming what they had to do was present opposition from three divisions beneath them with about 10 clear chances to score, that is. Thankfully Bromley couldn't shoot for toffee - indeed, it's unlikely the promise of even the world's finest confectionery could have incentivised them to do anything but pepper the upper reaches of the North and South Stands with goal attempts. Still, their profligacy gave the less-than-fluid Os the chance to flex their muscles in an improved second half performance and book their ticket for the second round.

Moment of magic... A driving run by the impressive Moses Odubajo in the 69th minute. His resulting shot cannoned off the post to the waiting Jimmy Smith, who had cleverly chosen to take no actual part in the game up until this point, thus leaving himself unmarked to score the rebound.

Moment of madness... When Jamie Cureton, having just seen his second-half shot cleared off the line, remonstrated with the linesman, claiming he'd actually scored. He hadn't, but the "Orient Torres" needs a goal soon or his spell at Brisbane Road is likely to be about as memorable as Davina McCall's post-Big Brother career.

Knight in shining armour... Matthew Spring had one of his better days, dictating play, actually passing to other Orient players and scoring a peach of a goal. Indeed, he looked a class above Bromley - suggesting he'd excel in the Blue Square Premier.

Pantomime horse... For his first-half performance, George Porter, who - in stark contrast to the previous week - was owned by the opposition left-back. (Let's call him 'John Smith' for the sake of not having to figure out who he is.) Though the winger redeemed himself in the second half with a blistering goal, it was a reminder that Orient can't rely on Porter alone to provide attacking impetus.

In the dug out... Things were relatively straightforward for Big Russ today, but there are tough times ahead. With Dean Cox leaving the ground on crutches - well, I say crutches, they were actually matchsticks - and apparently out for up to six weeks, the manager is going to have to figure out how to win without his arch creator.

A word on the opposition... It must have being difficult for Joe Dolan to return to Brisbane Road, the place where Junior Agogo once gave him such a roasting that kitchen staff in the Gallery had to be restrained from serving him up with some Brussels sprouts and gravy. But credit to Orient's third worst summer signing of the century - he put in a confident and effective performance and was only at fault for three of the three goals. Just kidding.

Meanwhile on Twitter... Amazing scenes this week as former Orient manager-cum-psychopath John Sitton brought his dinner to Twitter. In a series of 140-character missives the infamous ranter took his social networking sword to his predecessor Peter Eustace ("... slightly to the right of Attila the Hun and Adolf Hitler... "), politicians ("... my family was fucked by the government...") and Channel 4 ("... still furious about the imbalance..."). Tune in here for more...

Lesson for the day... It's never easy playing non-league opposition - at least in the first half before the massive fry-ups the part-time players consume on a daily basis start to weigh them down.

08 November 2011

Leyton Orient 1 Hartlepool United 1, 5/11/11

A game in which... there were fireworks. Not metaphorical ones to describe an explosive Orient display, but actual fireworks released over the stadium by local ASBO kids. Terrell Forbes, for one, was impressed and was presumably watching the descending embers in wonder while he clumsily bundled into Andy Monkhouse to hand Hartlepool a penalty.

But let's not be too downhearted: a draw with a classy side with an impressive away record is nothing to cry about and there was a periods in the first half in which Orient looked very threatening. Ultimately though, even with the visitors down to 10 men, you'd have got better odds on Frankie Cocozza hitting a correct note in that evening's X Factor than the Os finding the back of the net.

Moment of magic... The first half moment when George Porter showed so much pace that he didn't simply leave Ritchie Humphreys for dead, but embalmed him, dressed him up in his best suit and conducted a full funeral service. The Hartlepool left-back might have more horredous days in his life, but only if he's strapped into a chair and forced to listen to Johnny Robinson singing songs from the musical Cats for 24 hours on end.

Moment of madness.... The moment when Scott Cuthbert elected to clear a ball from near the corner flag by passing it straight into the middle of his own penalty area. For the most part the former Swindon man has deputised ably for the injured Ben Chorley - same haircut for starters - but the occasional moment of calamity means Chorley's return to the centre of defence will be a welcome one.

Knight in shining armour... The hugely impressive George Porter, who's giving the side attacking intent, balance and, most of all, pace. Indeed, no one's seen such speed at Brisbane Road since Sean Thornton's post-match sprints from the dressing room to the bar.

Pantomime horse... Not the worst performance in the world, but Jamie Cureton has apparently been struck badly by the Brisbane Road virus that renders previously successful strikers totally impotent upon joining Leyton Orient. There's only one known cure for this: grow fat, take your wife's name and join Blackpool. Just ask Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

In the dug out... We've seen a massive change in tactics from Big Russ over the last few games. The manager has boldly thrown out his previous modus operandi of 'Give it to Coxy then hope for the best' in favour of a far more sophisticated 'Give it to Georgie and sometimes Coxy then hope for the best'. Let's hope it continues to pay dividends.

A word on the opposition... While the Hartlepool fans were as quiet as an Only Way Is Essex cast member at an astrophysics quiz night, their team were an impressively tidy outfit. James Poole caught the eye, and the Monkey Hangers could consider themselves unlucky not to have gone one up in the first half when the ball crossed the Orient goal line by about three metres.

Meanwhile on Twitter... Something of an Orient bromance brewing on the social network this week, as Jimmy Smith revealed on Thursday that he was "Chilling in the crib with @dean_7cox", which presumably means they were sharing a child's bed together. No problems for Coxy, of course, but surely Jimmy's legs were sticking out the end? Anyway, things heated up on Monday when George Porter tweeted a photo of the pair of them sharing a bath. Still, good luck to them. Jimmy's a pleasure-seeker after all and tonight tweeted this stirring raison d'etre: "HERE,4,A,GOOD,TIME,NOT,A,LONG,TIME,!!!" Quite.

Lesson for the day... You can't win 'em ell, and if you can't entertain on the pitch at least give the fans something to enjoy in the form of fireworks. Next week: perennial substitute Mike Cestor sets up a touchline puppet show to distract fans from a struggling performance against FA Cup minnows Bromley.

05 November 2011

03 November 2011

The best Leyton Orient moustaches

Footballers, as we know only too well, struggle to fill the time between training and matches. So it's heartening to know that instead of gambling or sleeping with their wives' sisters, many Orient players are occupying themselves by growing moustaches in aid of  raising funds and awareness of men's health. You can sign up and register your support for Orient here.

Good on them, then - but they've got a long way to go to beat some of these Orient beauties from days gone by...


Gary Bellamy (1992-96)








Steve Okai (1991-94)








Paul Ward (1988-89)










Paul Shinners (1985-89)












Frank Clark (manager 1983-91)









John Hawley (1982 - loan)













Peter Kitchen (1977-79 / 1982-84)




Joe Mayo (1977-81)









Tony Grealish (1974-79)












David Payne (1973-78)














Steve Bowtell (1968-73)

Leyton Orient and the Olympic Stadium

Me talking about Leyton Orient and the Olympic Stadium in the darker reaches of Freeview HD...

 



And again, possibly contradicting what I said last time...

15 October 2011

Leyton Orient 1 Bury 0, 15/10/11

A game in which... Orient had so many chances to score it was almost as if Gary Barlow had wandered into Faces Nightclub, Gants Hill, on Ladies-4-Free night. Yes, after a pretty tepid first half the Os had the X Factor in the second, creating plenty up front and remaining solid at the back. On such simple foundations games are won, and although the Os should have converted at least another goal or two, three wins in three suggests that the diabolical start to the season is now becoming as distant a memory as Kate Thornton's career.

Moment of magic... The first half moment when Dean Cox managed to chest a 40-yard pass from Matthew Spring around a Bury defender to play himself in for a run at goal. Although he had a relatively quiet game by his own high standards, the pint-sized midfielder is still the Leona Lewis in a team of otherwise forgotten X Factor winners.

Moment of madness... The second half moment when Kevin Lisbie - in the penalty area with clear sight of goal - dawdled for so long on the ball that Bury's Efe Sodje had enough time to run a few personal errands before calmly dispossessing the Orient striker. Don't get me wrong, Lisbie put in a hard-working shift, but in front of goal today he was about as deadly as a Dannii Minogue put down.

Knight in shining armour... It was a good team performance, with much-improved displays from Leon McSweeney and David Mooney, plus a faultless shift from Terrell Forbes. But at the heart of it was that man Stephen Dawson again, who ran himself into ground to such a degree that they're going to need to call in a bulldozer to dig him out again.

Pantomime horse... No one had a particularly bad game, although Scott Cuthbert did nearly hari-kari the ball off his shin and into his own net at the death. And while Lee Butcher kept a clean sheet and made some tidy saves, he still looks as panicked as a talent show contestant who's forgotten his lyrics whenever crosses are floating in.

In the dug out... It looks like Big Russ has got his mojo back after spending the first couple of months of the season sulking about not being allowed the chance to get Barnsley relegated. His 4-2-3-1 formation - otherwise known as 'Give it to Coxy and hope for the best' - seems to be paying dividends, and with Jimmy Smith soon to come back to take the anonymous midfielder role from Tom Clarke things are looking up.

A word on the opposition... 'You can't cure ugliness' shouted a West Stand wag as Bury's Mark Hughes ran to the touchline to receive treatment. But Bury weren't an unattractive side and could certainly consider themselves unlucky not to have snatched a point when they hit the woodwork in the final minutes.

Meanwhile on Twitter... Busy week for the injured Jimmy Smith. In between waking up and going to bed he also had to get a new phone. And since there's only so much cognitive activity one footballing brain can cope with, something had to give - and in this case it was his Twitter password: 'New twitter New phone 4got me other password lol oh #LEGOOOOO' he wrote on his new account. In future then, for gripping real-time news of haircuts and training, then @Sm1thy_JD is your man.

Lesson of the day... Last week's Lisbie aberration aside, there is clearly some as yet unnamed law of physics that dictates that Orient players will never, ever score when in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper. Three chances went begging today (Dawson twice and Lisbie once) which suggests that in future the Os might considering preserving energy by simply booting the ball back into their own half of the field. Cut out the middle man.

01 October 2011

Leyton Orient 2 Preston North End 1, 1/10/11

A game in which... you'd probably have got better odds on Amy Childs winning the Nobel Prize for Literature than the eventual result. But, yes, ladies and gentlemen, Leyton Orient have finally won a game of football. And fully deserved it too, for while at times they rode their luck like a rodeo champion on a fairground bucking bronco, over the 90 minutes the Os were the better team.

Admittedly the last 15 minutes were as nerve-wracking as the words "Today's flight is under the command of captain Stevie Wonder", but never in the history of modern culture have 4000 people actually been pleased to hear the soft-rocking jangle of Status Quo's Rockin' All Over The World.

Moment of magic... Lee Butcher, remember, has failed to save any of his last 14 penalties. Preston's Graham Alexander is one of the most reliable spot kickers in the whole of football. So when the two stared each other down from 12 yards at the start of the second half, it was like watching Mad Frankie Fraser square up to Brian Dowling. Incredibly, though, Butcher defied the odds, pulled off a remarkable save and gave Orient the confidence that things just might go their way.

Moment of madness... Preston's first goal, in which a hole opened up in Orient's defence so big that even Simon Cowell's ego couldn't have plugged it up. At that point it looked like it was game over, but massive credit to the players for pulling themselves out of the mire.

Knight in shining armour... Coxy got the goals, but it was Stephen Dawson that drove Orient to victory, with a performance so gritty it could have melted snow-covered roads across the whole of Essex. If the team are going to avoid relegation we're going to need our captain to put in plenty more shifts like this.

Pantomime horse... Yes, Leon McSweeney was playing out of position, but surely that doesn't excuse a repeated inability to control or pass the ball? In one particularly bizarre moment the former Hartlepool man elected to prevent a ball going out for a throw-on 40 yards up the pitch by booting it out for a corner.

In the dug out... Today Russ was more fired up than he's been all season and was twice seen passionately issuing complex instructions - "Watch the ball!" "Try not to let any goals in!" - from the touchline. But you have to hand it to him for his bold tactical genius in lulling Preston into a false sense of security by failing to win the previous 10 games then hitting them with a sucker punch.

A word on the opposition... After the first 30 minutes, in which they waltzed around Orient as if they were auditioning for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing, Preston suddenly seemed to suffer collective sunstroke - possibly under the glare of Phil Brown's tan. A classy side no doubt - the young Jamie Proctor looked impressive - but today wasn't their day.

Meanwhile on Twitter... While the followers of Jimmy Smith were no doubt on tenterhooks awaiting his comments on the recent hot weather - "Lovely HOT day, time 4 Trim + Food + watch TV" he eventually tweeted, much to everyone's relief - the young George Porter was less impressed with the temperature. "If I see 1 more girl in leggings I'm gunna start kicking off ! Look at the weather females," he wrote, while presumably cruising the streets of Essex in his Ford Focus.

Lesson for the day... If all else fails lob the ball up into the six-yard box for your 4ft 9in midfielder to head in. If improbable goals are the way forward, then, next week Orient should try lining up Charlie Daniels to shoot with his right foot - that or bring back Loick Pires.
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