22 April 2012

Leyton Orient 2 Yeovil Town 2, 21/4/12

A game in which... Orient did the footballing equivalent of spending 84 minutes tentatively and inexpertly building a makeshift sandcastle, only to see it kicked down by two mild-mannered eight-year-old girls. Or, to dispense with the metaphors and give a more technical appraisal of the game: Orient are shit.

For while, relatively speaking, the home side put in a reasonable performance in the first 45 minutes, one of Russell Slade's now legendary half-time team talks sent the Os back out on the pitch with all the fire in their bellies of someone who's just eaten a bowl of tofu-flavoured blancmange. Even then, Orient were just eight minutes from virtual League One safety, but given the confidence with which they're playing at the moment, the capitulation was all too predictable.

Moment of magic... Jamie Jones's athletic first-half save, pushing a rifling shot from Andy Williams against the bar. We can only dream what may have been had the Scouser been between the sticks all season. We might have only lost 4-0 to Brentford, for example.

Moment of madness... Yeovil's 92nd-minute equaliser, in which yet again Orient failed to defend a relatively innocuous set piece. I'm not saying the current team are bottlers, but there are 11 vacancies at the local Coca-Cola factory which they'd be well-qualified for.

Knight in shining armour... It says a lot about our season that one of our most valuable players has been a striker who's only scored 12 goals, but God knows we'd be down and out without Kevin Lisbie. Today the former Charlton man put in another battling, classy performance - and linked up well with Jamal Campbell-Ryce - but nonetheless he must feel at times like a lead singer who takes to the stage only to find his band has forgotten how to play all the songs. (Or never knew them in the first place.)

Pantomime horse... He's been out for six weeks and has actually been one of the better performers this season, but Leon McSweeney had a shocker - especially in the first half. Particularly bizarre was his decision to compensate for his woeful passing by electing to repeatedly shoot from 45 yards.

In the dug out... There's been much post-match talk about the wisdom of Russell substituting (injured) Adam Reed and Jamal Campbell-Ryce for Jimmy Smith and Calvin Andrew in the 90th minute, though to be honest wasting a bit of time to bring on an experienced midfielder and someone whose height might help in defending corners wasn't the most insane decision the manager's ever made. That was signing Andrew in the first place. More of an issue was the ongoing spectacle of just how negatively Slade presumably asked Orient to play in the second half.

A word on the opposition... Credit to the Yeovil fans for keeping up their bizarre pagan cowbell chant throughout the entirety of the first half - bombed out of their minds on cider, no doubt. And while their team can't be described as the classiest to play at Brisbane Road this season, they certainly aren't the worst. That honour goes to Orient.

Meanwhile on Twitter... An extraordinary spat between Dean Cox and ex-O Gabriel Zakuani, who tweeted "If Orient went down it would probably hurt me more than any player that's currently there." "No it wouldn't," Tiny fired back. "Disrespectful saying that... your spose to be an experienced pro, you should know better. You have been and gone your a Peterborough player concentrate on that." Go Coxy! If only we could translate all the energy the players put into tweeting how up for it they are into actual performances we might just scrape out of this mess.

Lesson for the day... Which this week comes from Russell Slade himself, who said post-match: "We're in a better position than what we were before today's game." Which is an interesting way of interpreting the fact that Chesterfield and Exeter both gained two points on us. Essentially, we're in deep trouble. Where the hell is Accrington Stanley anyway?
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