22 March 2011

Leyton Orient 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 1, 22/3/11

A game which... proved that Dagenham & Redbridge aren't simply Orient's bogey team, but more a festering globule of congealed snot that's been stuck up the nose of football since 1992. No offence or anything. But, credit where credit's due, the Daggers did a number on the Os with a textbook away performance: shutting down, pressing, niggling and repeatedly pretending to have head injuries.

The truth is, since Orient stopped being rubbish, opposition teams now actually have to employ tactics other than 'Turn up, we'll probably win' at Brisbane Road. Everyone seems to have clocked on to the fact the team like to play out from the back and refuse to let them do so. Tonight this led to the rather strange phenomenon of the home crowd imploring Jamie Jones to repeatedly boot the ball long. Which is a bit like asking Dame Helen Mirren to star in The Only Way Is Essex.

Moment to savour... Scott McGleish putting away his penalty to rescue a point for the Os. Ben Chorley has been a reliable spot kick merchant this season, but in his absence the veteran striker made no mistake. Apart from celebrating for too long when the team should have been pushing for the winner, that is.

Head in hands moment... A quite staggeringly slack passage of play in the second half in which the Orient defence gifted the ball to Dagenham & Redbridge players over and over again. It's all very generous to give to those less fortunate than yourselves, fellas, but Comic Relief was last week.

King for a day... What would the Orient team do without Dean Cox? Collectively enjoy an evening at Faces Nightclub, Gants Hill, without fear of being booted out for bringing a minor along with them, for starters. But never mind that, for tonight the knee-high winger was Orient's only real spark of creativity in a frustrating game, scampering all over the pitch in search of the ball like a pet gerbil given its first taste of freedom.

Boo boy... Dagenham & Redbridge's ludicrous preening fool of a goalkeeper Tony Roberts, who is so mannered and self-aware he appears to be labouring under the impression he is starring in his own 24-hour a day docu-soap, possibly entitled I'm A Fat, Average Goalkeeper, Get Me Out Of Here.

In the dug out... Has Russell Slade come down with a slight case of the Brisbane Road virus known as 'The Lings'? This debilitating disease renders Orient managers incapable of bringing on substitutes until 70 minutes into the game, no matter what is unfolding in front of them. Adam Chambers, bless him, was a touch ring-rusty and Orient 1-0 down, yet it still took 73 minutes for Big Russ to bring on M'Poku. (Ditto Brentford away). And while the young Belgian is something of a magician, even Paul Daniels might struggle to conjure up two goals in ten minutes every match.

What would Martin Ling have done? Spent the entire game scouting Bas Savage, claiming at the post-match press conference, "No names as yet, but I think I might have found my big striker for next season."

Play-offs? Keep the faith. Orient have always struggled to break down the division's scrappers and should fare better in some of the upcoming games. The play-off race is far from over...
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