02 September 2012

Crawley Town 1 Leyton Orient 0, 1/9/12

A game in which... Russell Slade's starting line up didn't just throw caution to the wind, it recklessly cast it into the eye of a hurricane. Three wingers. Yep, three wingers - count 'em: Cook, Cox, Obudajo - took to the field and helped Orient create a bit of bustle in the first half, to the point that we actually had a single shot on target. In the context of the last six months, this is something to be celebrated.

Unfortunately by the second half the manager had reverted to type, deploying what looked like a narrow 4-1-1-1-1-1 formation located entirely in our own penalty area, inviting Crawley to repeatedly attack until eventually - and inevitably - they scored.

Moment of magic... One sumptuous run from Moses Obudajo in the first half caused a momentary stir among the Orient fans, but only in the same sense as someone forced to endure all 28 Jennifer Lopez films back to back may get a mild kick when Bob Hoskins briefly turns up in Maid In Manhattan.

Moment of madness... The point in the second half when keeper Ryan Allsop - who'd played reasonably well until then - mistimed his run to the edge of the box to allow Nicky Ajose a shot at an open goal (which he somehow missed). Now, I'm sure there must be more to coach Kevin Dearden's job than collecting the cones at the end of training and eating jam doughnuts, but of the 38 goalkeepers who have turned out for Orient in the last season or two, he appears to have actually made 37 of them worse.

Knight in shining armour... Ben Chorley did a fine job of keeping ex-O Gary Alexander quiet - if only he could silence him on Twitter - throughout the match. Indeed, the former Tranmere man reminded fans that when he's not scouring the pitch looking to scapegoat someone for stealing a squeeze from his shampoo bottle he's actually a pretty solid defender.

Pantomime horse... Unequivocally the manager himself. God only knows what Russell says to his teams at half-time - I'm guessing: "Do exactly what you're already doing, lads, only slightly less badly" - but he seems to have an amazing ability to turn an average performance into an abysmal one in the space of 15 minutes.

In the dug out... Like Stone Roses fans who stayed loyal to the band despite the shambles that was sophomore album The Second Coming, Orient supporters were extremely patient with Russell Slade throughout the disaster of 2011/12 because of what the manager achieved the previous season. But now, with three wins and three draws from the last 20 league matches, that patience has worn as thin as the non-financial reasons behind the reunion of Ian, John, Mani and Reni.

Word from the opposition... Crawley fan Warren Lucy of The Goalmouth Scramble blog says: "Scrappy game, draw was probably the right result but you did feel there would be a goal from somewhere. Orient huffed and puffed but didn't really have a lot of chances. Felt we just edged it. Both teams played poorly."

Meanwhile on Twitter... "Don't listen to the haterz" tweeted Gary Alexander last time he faced Orient, before spending the next 48 hours meticulously trawling through his mentions column, retweeting anything mildly critical then crying non-stop for two solid weeks. This time round the former Brisbane Road striker displayed a bit more maturity - bringing him up to the mental age of 13 - and diplomatically tweeted "Sometimes it wasn't pretty but 3 points #buzzing play bad and win were take that."

Statto corner... Russell Slade has now employed the phrase "we just need a bit more belief" in post-match interviews over 7000 times, setting a new Guinness world record for delusion.
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