26 January 2013

Leyton Orient 2 Notts County 1, 26/1/13

Today's match officials
A game in which... Orient recorded an impressive victory despite facing significant obstacles: Notts County's 22-game unbeaten away record; officiating apparently inspired by popular clown routines of the early 19th-century; and the fact the defence had to tame an opposition No.9 playing with all the elegance of an irate rhinoceros rampaging through a dolls' house.

Initially Orient looked like they might succumb to their old party trick of failing to convert pressure into goals - indeed, so many chances went begging that even substitute Michael Symes was moved to put down his bag of doughnuts, lick his lips and proclaim: "Reckon I could have put one of them away." But no matter, when it came to it, Mooney and Baudry put the ball in the net to send the Os soaring to exactly the same place in the table as they were before the game kicked off.

Moment of magic... The point at which official Lee Collins gave credence to the chant "You're not fit to referee" by, well, not being fit to referee and leaving the pitch midway through the second half. Apparently he'd inadvertently swallowed his one remaining brain cell, hence explaining some of his decisions earlier in the match.

Bartosz Bialkowski: time waster
Moment of madness... The South Stand's decision to boo County's Bartosz Bialkowski for having the temerity to require treatment after being kicked in the head by Charlie MacDonald. Next week: Orient fans rage at Swindon's goalkeeper for time-wasting after his arm is lopped off in a bizarre clash with David Mooney.

Knight in shining armour... Tough one this. Baudry, Cook, Chorley and Odubajo all class, but perhaps Martin Rowlands edges it as the architect of Orient's attacking play. One 50-yard pass to Lee Cook in the first half was particularly sumptuous, and the only blot on his copybook was a missed free kick - presumably he can only score when opposition fans are calling him a cunt.

Pantomime horse... Incredibly Charlie MacDonald managed to go through the entire match without touching the ball a single time - some feat given the game lasted about four hours. Yes, for a self-proclaimed goal-poacher the former Brentford man was conspicuous by his absence on the numerous occasions that the ball bobbled inviting around the County six-yard box. Less a fox in the box, more a dozy gerbil wandering aimlessly through a field.

In the dug out... Never let it be said that all Kevin Dearden does in a match is sit there idly doodling on an A4 pad while repeatedly breaking wind and wondering whether to have Findus crispy pancakes or a bumper pack of Hula Hoops for dinner. Never let that be said. Today Orient's goalkeeping coach was so incensed by the performance of the referee that he left his seat - no mean feat - and confronted the official. "Kev made his views pretty clear to me," said the referee after the match. "Apparently he reckons KFC is better than Nandos."

Meanwhile on Twitter... "Piss bored today so experimenting by launching a blog" revealed resident Brisbane Road brainbox Leon McSweeney this week, breaking all traditions of player tweeting by failing to make any spelling mistakes. The blog is good too. "Will hopefully stay inspired to write one regularly," he wrote later - although he won't be able to count on the readership of Lloyd James, who replied simply, "Please don't." Charming.

Statto corner... In the days before fourth officials, should a referee get injured during a game clubs had to be more creative around how they replaced them. In a game against Bradford City in 1994, for example, striker Colin West was required to both play up front and run the line for the last 35 minutes of the match after the referee pulled his hamstring. He would have scored a last-minute winner but for the fact he incorrectly flagged himself offside.
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