12 February 2011

Leyton Orient 4 Bristol Rovers 1, 12/2/11

A game in which... Orient continued a run that is now so impressive, it could probably beat Paula Radcliffe in a race - and without the need to take a piss halfway through either. Let's not worry that Bristol Rovers had the better of the second half, for Orient did what good teams are supposed to do: they absorbed the pressure and hit back. It really has been some time since the Os have played with such confidence and, unusually, we are actually winning games by more than a single-goal margin. (Note: even in the promotion season of 2005/06 this only happened on six occasions.)

Moment to savour... Russell Slade was obviously so confident of victory towards the end of the game that he generously gave a run out to the winner of the half-time schoolboys' penalty competition, 11-year-old Tom Carroll. I'm not saying that the Spurs loanee looks young, but when he gets home his mum's going to be furious that he's got mud all over his new red shorts.

Head in hands moment... When Jamie Jones went down with what initially looked like a serious injury. Even the most ill-informed of TV pundits - let's say Robbie Savage, for example - could work out that Orient's goalkeeper is going to be pretty busy against Arsenal next Sunday, so we need our number one between the sticks.

King for a day... It's easy to mock Jimmy Smith. I know, I've been doing it all season. But I have to concede that the ex-Chelsea man has got better and better to the point that he's now become a critical part of the Orient team. Today he put in another energetic and effective shift and nodded the Os 1-0 up with well-directed glancing header. Albeit only after seconds after he'd managed to skew a much easier chance straight back to the corner flag.

Boo boy... Absolutely no one, though the Revmeister did manage to defy all known physical laws of the universe in the build-up to the fourth goal by missing an open net from approximately six millimetres out. Thankfully Harry Kane spared his blushes by putting the ball away for him.

In the dug out... Orient, according to assistant boss Kevin Nugent, "hate getting beaten". Which is surely something of a minimum requirement for professional footballers? But then again he and boss Russell Slade are clearly doing something right - and can claim credit for sending on double-goalscorer Harry Kane at just the right moment.

What would Martin Ling have done? Used the post-match press conference to talk about the battle for places in the starting eleven for the forthcoming FA Cup tie against Arsenal. "At this point every position is up for grabs," he'd state, before going on to send out a team containing Brian Saah, Loick Pires and Derek Duncan.

Play-offs? Five points off the play-offs with a game in hand. Can Orient make it? Well, stranger things have happened in the world. (Well, only one stranger thing to be fair, and that was Gazza turning up to offer renegade nut job Raoul Moat a fishing rod and some chicken.) Still, Orient are in formidable form and the only way is up. Or down, I suppose.
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