15 January 2012

Leyton Orient 1 Chesterfield 1, 14/1/12

A game which... turned on Russell Slade's controversial decision to replace Lee Cook with Marc Laird. Taking off the game's principle attacking threat in an apparent attempt to shore up a 1-0 home lead over the division's bottom club with over 20 minutes to go was something akin to a Formula 1 boss hauling Lewis Hamilton out of his car at a pit-stop with the words, "Hey Lewis, since you're three milliseconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel how about you let my eight-year-old son finish the race for you?"

Lo and behold Laird's first action was to get turned inside his penalty box to allow Jimmy Juan to score Chesterfield's equaliser. And while the former Millwall man went some way to making amends with a lively performance, the damage to an already underwhelming Orient display was already done.

Moment of magic... David 'Wayne' Mooney's darting run to the inside post and deft flick into the far corner of the net that gave the Os the lead. The former Colchester man continues to divide fans - some think he's hopeless; others reckon he's useless - but this flash of brilliance shows there's talent lurking there somewhere.

Moment of madness... Conversely, for all Kevin Lisbie's obvious class, he hasn't been hitting the net much of late and today fluffed his big chance when he was clean through in the second half with only the keeper to beat. He and Mooney, meanwhile, continue to display all the empathy you'd expect of a meeting between Jeremy Clarkson and the Dalai Lama.

Knight in shining armour... Also currently known as 'The Scott Cuthbert Award' which, this week, goes to... Scott Cuthbert. Yes, this was another masterclass in the art of defending from the hardy Scot. Russell Slade may have brought in two more central defenders this week, but on this form Cuthbert should be the first name on the team sheet every match.

Pantomime horse... Jonathan Tehoue will always be something of a hero at Brisbane Road, but is it really too much to ask of a player who's now been with us for two years to, you know, get fit occasionally? In today's late cameo he appeared so bemused to be on an actual football pitch it was like watching a Maasai tribesman of east Africa try to outwit a bunch of Croydon teenagers at their local Laser Quest.

In the dug out... Russell Slade has experimented a few times with Dean Cox in the centre of midfield, each time with all the success of Emma Bunton's post-Spice Girl career. With Dawson out injured he had to do something, but surely against the division's bottom club playing Cox and Cook on alternative wings with Smith and Spring in the middle wouldn't have been too much to ask? And, on another matter, there's a logic to treating an emerging talent such as George Porter with kid gloves, but Slade seems to have locked him in a soft play centre and thrown away the key.

A word on the opposition... Another Orient v Chesterfield clash that'll sit alongside the many other classic encounters between the two sides such as... erm... no, it's gone. Still, no disrespect to the Spireites, they fully deserved their point and, worryingly, almost built up enough head of steam to actually win at the end.

Meanwhile on Twitter... You have to hand it to Jimmy Smith, he's not afraid to use Twitter to relate the most mundane details of his life. Even so, surely this - "Who ever invented a dish washer is a ledge coz mine is full now pressing the start button #LEGOOOOOOOO" - represents a new low not just for the former Chelsea man, but also for social networking in general and perhaps, too, of the whole history of human communication. Next week: George Porter on boiling a kettle, Scott Cuthbert on the various cycles of his washing machine and Dean Cox on the joys of opening and shutting his fridge door.

Lesson for the day... It's probably best to play people in the correct positions: Dean Cox = left wing; Jimmy Smith = centre midfield; Marc Laird = bench.
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