16 January 2013

FA Cup: Leyton Orient 1 Hull City 2 (aet), 15/1/13

Steve Bruce
A game which... proved there's no justice in the world. Why, for example, should poor Steve Bruce have to go through life with a face like a boiled cauliflower that's been repeatedly hurled into a concrete wall? And more pertinently, how can Orient be out of the FA Cup despite out-playing opponents whose expensively-assembled squad is worth the equivalent of about 248 Ben Chorleys - or 32 billion Marc Lairds.

Yes, Orient did their fans proud with a committed display of intelligent, passing football and but for a number of 'what ifs?' - what if Lee Cook's legitimate goal hadn't been disallowed? What if Michael Symes didn't exist? - could have ended the game victorious.

Moment of magic... Dean Cox's goal just minutes before the final whistle, in which Hull's catastrophe of a goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic (think Marek Stech with no hands - or eyes) helpfully let a relatively innocuous cross float into the far corner of the net.

Moment of madness... Steve Bruce's unprovoked and inexplicable decision to taunt home fans in the West Stand after Hull's winning goal, an action that had all the class of a millionaire playboy goading an impoverished blind orphan for losing a game of I Spy.

Knight in shining armour... When Orient left the pitch they did so as ten heroes and Michael Symes, so it's difficult to single out one man of the match. Cox, Cook and Odubajo were all superb, but let's take a moment to hail the contribution of Lloyd James, whose performances in midfield are becoming more and more tidy and effective.

Michael Symes
Pantomime horse... To put it charitably, substitute Michael Symes lacked a bit of sharpness - much as a knife would were you to construct it entirely out of blancmange. Still, within another car crash of a performance there was one positive: the big striker is now managing to time his leaps to within just a few seconds of the ball arriving somewhere near his head and in a few months' time may have refined his technique to the point where he actually wins a knock on. Just kidding, he won't.

Russell Slade
In the dug out... Russell's got a new hat. Either that or a local granny has knitted a tea cosy and placed it on top of a giant egg. Still, with the players he had at his disposal the manager got it spot on tactically and ensured that his team were dominant throughout the 120 minutes.

Meanwhile on Twitter... More Anglo-French madness from Mathieu Baudry who this week related a harrowing tale of woe that really exposes the difficulties and hardships a modern footballer has to face: "put the water for a cold bath> nealry forgot it> bath too full > decide to take off water for a bit> forgot it > bath empty." Come back Jimmy Smith, all is forgiven. (Well, it would be if you hadn't missed that point blank header in the first half.)

Statto corner... At -5 degrees the temperature at Brisbane Road was the lowest since a match in January 1953 against Southend. "There were 19ft of snow on the pitch that day, but we played on, not like the namby pamby footballers of today," remembered burly centre back Stan Aldous. "I had a broken neck and bubonic plague too - just ran them both off."
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