12 April 2011

Leyton Orient 0 Carlisle United 0, 12/4/11

A game in which... Orient subjected Carlisle to the sort of onslaught you'd expect to see if the entire might of the US military decided to wage war against a platoon of Lego soldiers. Unfortunately this took place only in the final five minutes of the game, when the Os had a number of gilt-edged chances to steal the three points. Before that each team had spells of dominance, though in truth it was Carlisle who looked more likely to win the game, only for an inspired Jamie Jones and the underside of the crossbar to stand in their way.

Moment to savour... Jamie Jones's first half save in which he managed to palm a deflected ball around the post despite travelling in the wrong direction. It was one of a number of classy stops by the Orient number one, whose Charlton nightmare is now well and truly consigned to a cut-price DVD entitled Hilarious Goalkeeping Blunders Volume 76, narrated by Bob Mills.

Head in hands moment... When, in the dying minutes, Paul-Jose M'Poku sent over a delightful cross at about knee-height, meaning that the onrushing Dean Cox had no choice but to head it, and somehow managed to spoon it over the bar from all of three yards.

King for a day... Presumably Elliot Omozusi must have got a heavy knock on the head at the start of the second half, causing his brain to be temporarily tricked into thinking it was inhabiting the body of an actual footballer. Time and time again the centre-back turned his man inside his own penalty box and then sent Orient on the attack with precision-guided passes to Charlie Daniels. What next for Omozusi - heading the ball anywhere other than directly up in the air?

Boo boy... No one in particular, but let's slap the wrists of Stephen Dawson for pointlessly getting himself booked in the first few minutes for backchat, rendering himself unable to tackle properly for the rest of the game. And Adam Chambers too, for a Rory McIlroy-sized choke in front of goal at the death. I'm not saying the chance was easy, but if it were a barmaid it would be giving punters a hand job out the back for a fiver a pop.

In the dug out... At last, Big Russ gives Paul-Jose M'Poku more than 12 minutes to work his magic! Unfortunately for the majority of his half an hour on the pitch the Belgian winger was playing out of position in the centre of attack. But never mind that, for at times this season Orient have played some football that is so divine it's almost impregnanted a couple of virgins in the South Stand. And for that we have Russell Slade to thank.

What would Martin Ling have done? Given a rousing, ball-busting pre-match speech to fire the team up for a final push for the play-offs. 'I quoted Churchill,' he'd say, proudly. 'I've always loved that little dog in the insurance adverts.'

Play-offs? Well, since five of the last six meetings between these sides at Brisbane Road ended in stalemate, this one had a draw written all over it right from the start. Points-wise we're not out of it, but with the luck not flowing, a tired squad and some key injuries, it seems there's now more chance Kate Middleton will rock up to her wedding on a Harley-Davidson than Orient will make the play-offs. Still, don't give up hope just yet...

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