09 February 2013

Leyton Orient 2 Tranmere Rovers 1, 9/2/13

Slade sells Laird to Southend
A game in which... Orient could afford to miss a penalty, two point-blank headers, a one-on-one and a hatful of other chances yet still overcome high-flying Tranmere. They say the table doesn't lie but on the evidence of this match it was telling the biggest porkie since Russell Slade phoned up Paul Sturrock and said, "Yeah, Lairdy can do a job for you."

Make no mistake, this was a hugely impressive victory - perhaps the performance of the season so far - and Orient dominated the league leaders throughout the match. Dangerous going forward, resolute at the back... If we keep playing like this every week we're going to be at Wembley twice this season.

Moment of magic... A real life Charlie MacDonald goal, something previously thought only to exist in the imagination of Kevin Nugent and as a doctored entry on the striker's Wikipedia page. Yes, this was a much-improved performance by the former Brentford man - a nuisance to the Tranmere defence throughout - and with his first-half header he's already equalled the heady heights of Jamie Cureton's Orient scoring record. Next on his hit list: Adrien Patulea (2 goals). 

Moment of madness... Another missed penalty - the second in a row - by Orient. Today Martin Rowlands was the guilty party (albeit denied by a great save) meaning that the next time we have a spot kick it's anyone's guess who'll be taking the honours. Perhaps we could re-sign reliable spot-kicker Adam Boyd purely for the purposes of taking penalties and doing fancy but ultimately pointless flicks that none of the rest of the team can read? Given he's currently playing in the Northern League - the ninth tier of English football - he'd probably jump at the chance. If he could jump, that is. 

Knight in shining armour... What a joy it is to watch Mathieu Baudry in action, elegantly commanding the defence and casually picking out passes with the sort of effortless cool he no doubt employs when selecting which of the opposition players' wives he'll deign to sleep with after the match. If this is what happens when you grow up eating horse meat, as Baudry did in his native France, then the whole squad should stock up on Findus Beef Lasagnes immediately. 

Pantomime horse... No bad performances from anyone in an Orient shirt today, although Lloyd James will no doubt be flagellating himself with a leek while listening to Stereophonics B-sides to atone for somehow failing to connect with a point-blank header in front of goal in the first few minutes of the game.  

In the dug out... Today Russell Slade was as animated as one of the Disney cartoons Kevin Dearden enjoys of a Saturday evening. Indeed, when Charlie MacDonald had the ball in the net in the second half the manager set off on one of his famed celebratory jigs, bounding along the touchline with all the enthusiasm of a simpleminded farm hand attempting an egg-and-spoon race after 12 pints of scrumpy. Unfortunately the goal was called offside and Russell had to sheepishly slink back to the dug out again. 

Meanwhile on Twitter... With the launch of the Leyton Orient sticker album today, there's already been some frenetic trading across Twitter among fans. One punter was in despair at his inability to swap his surplus Michael Symes sticker until, surprisingly, he was contacted by Burton Albion manager Gary Rowett who offered to exchange it for the actual Michael Symes. Obviously the fan turned him down. 

Dean Morgan playing for Orient
Statto corner... The last time Orient beat a team residing at the top of the League One table was when Martin Ling's side beat MK Dons back in January 2009. That day Dean Morgan confounded the entire MK Dons team by lying on the ground screaming and crying for a full 38 minutes after almost being lightly brushed on the arm during a tussle for the ball, allowing Stephen Purches to ghost through and score the winner unnoticed. 

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