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?
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