05 April 2011

Leyton Orient 2 Plymouth Argyle 0, 5/4/11

A game which... was so painless for Orient that it was like being challenged to an arm-wrestle by Gillian McKeith. Plymouth, of course, are in all sorts of trouble and rock bottom of the league, which is exactly the reason they would have beaten the Os in every single season in League One prior to this one. But tonight saw Russell Slade's side prove, as they have done for most of this campaign, that they can effectively dispatch weaker opposition with the minimum of fuss. It wasn't necessarily the most fluid performance, but Jamie Jones was largely untroubled - except by his recurring nightmares of last Saturday, of course.

Moment to savour... Every time Jones dispatched the ball up the field instead of blindly rolling it out to his full backs. His mistake against Charlton was the death knell of Orient's policy of playing piggy in the middle in front of their own goalmouth, and tonight showed that kicking long from the goalkeeper when necessary and playing a neat passing game aren't necesarily mutually exclusive.

Head in hands moment... When, in the second half, Elliot Omozusi broke down the right hand side and decided to try to bamboozle the opposition with six consecutive stepovers. By the time he'd completed them he'd allowed enough time for the entire Plymouth team to jog to the touchline, grab a drink of water, take instruction from the manager, saunter up to the Orient player and casually take the ball away. Take that Lionel Messi!

King for a day... With his fourth goal in five games, the irrepressible Scott McGleish is having something of a late season burst. Which is handy since striker partner Alex Revell, for all his presence and hard work, has become more of a damp squib in front of goal for the last couple of months.

Boo boy... No one had a bad game, but Adam Chambers' return to the starting line-up was matched by a relatively anonymous performance. Are his best days behind him? Or is it that he was only rated so highly in the first place because he was playing alongside Paul Terry? A bit like heralding Prince Andrew as an intellectual genius simply because he's standing next to Peter Andre.

In the dug out... Plaudits to Russell Slade for a reshuffling of the pack - Whing especially excelled back in the side - and a return to winning ways. And while some decisions might befuddle a little - Tom Carroll back on the bench after a commanding first-half display against Charlton? - in the big man we trust.

What would Martin Ling have done? Defiantly claimed at the press conference that, despite gaining only one point in the previous four games, this victory was a validation of his methods. "This just goes to show that if you play exactly the same team with exactly the same tactics every week sooner or later you win a game."

Play-offs? With Bournemouth in freefall and the confidence that should come from a return to winning ways, Orient - like an ageing DJ still hawking his records out to Ibiza every summer - are still very much in the mix.
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