01 January 2012

Leyton Orient 1 Charlton Athletic 0, 31/12/11

A game in which... Charlton spent 90 minutes resembling a Mars bar in a Scottish chip shop - that is, they were absolutely battered. Yes, of course the visitors spent almost the entire game with only 10 men, but the spectacle of a numerically-advantaged team failing to break down their opponents is a common one in football, and the Os deserve huge credit for creating chance upon chance upon chance. The fact that they only put away one of them with the help of a huge deflection is something of a concern (though replays show Jimmy Smith's disallowed goal should also have stood), but nothing should take away from what was a rousing end-of-year performance by an inspired Orient.

Moment of magic... The moment towards the end of the match when Ben Chorley blocked Rhoys Wiggins' goalbound shot to preserve Orient's lead. The fact that the Os had failed to get a second goal meant a heart-in-mouth final ten minutes for fans, and Charlton had a number of chance to snatch what would have been an unjust draw. But the backline held firm to record a memorable victory.

Moment of madness... Though David Mooney put in a hard-working shift and helped create a number of chances, when his big moment came in the second half - clean through on goal with only the keeper to beat - he failed to even hit the target. Not so much a rabbit in the headlights, more a nervously-disposed hamster under the full glare of the world's most powerful laser beam.

King for a day... Tough one this. Butcher, McSweeney, Cuthbert, Lisbie, Forbes and Dawson all put in towering performances... even Jimmy Smith managed to temporarily put aside thoughts of which pair of sunglasses he was going to wear to Nu Bar, Loughton, later that evening to put in a shift fizzing with energy. But if one player stood out above everyone it was former Charlton man Matthew Spring who, with the extra space afforded to him in midfield, showed what a class act he is.

Pantomime horse... No bad performances from any Os' players on the pitch, but there was a chilling reminder of darker times at Brisbane Road in the form of Paul Terry, sitting in the gallery like the ghost of Orient past, come back to haunt the unsuspecting WAGs also occupying the VIP seats.

In the dug out... Big Russ must have felt like all his Christmases had come at once to be able to name Dean Cox, Jonathan Tehoue, George Porter and Jamie Cureton on his bench. Though, of course, there's always one stale, mouldy mince pie that no one wants left over at the end of any festive season - ours is called Marc Laird.

A word on the opposition... "Refs ad a panic up for me" tweeted red-carded Charlton goalkeeper Ben Hamer as he watched his teammates try to cope for 84 minutes with only 10 men. Presumably that means he didn't agree with the admittedly marginal decision. No word from him on Jimmy Smith's incorrectly disallowed goal or the penalty that should have been awarded for the foul on Kevin Lisbie, mind. Still, Charlton are a class side and will no doubt be promoted, making Orient's performance - even against 10 men - even more impressive.

Meanwhile on Twitter... Worrying times for Jimmy Smith this week as his account was presumably hacked into by a mischief maker who swapped his profile pic for a still from Wham's Club Tropicana video from 1983. "is tht ment to be banter?" tweeted the irate ladies man when it was pointed out to him.

Lesson for the day... It's easier to win when we've got more players than the other team. To this end Slade needs to concoct a plan to field 12 men against Stevenage. Dean Cox could certainly play the entire game beneath the referee's eyeline, for example, and Jimmy Smith has previously gone for entire 90-minute stretches on the pitch without a single person in the stadium noticing he was there. Should be simple - bring on 2012!
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