13 April 2013

Leyton Orient 2 MK Dons 0, 13/4/13

Andy D'Urso
A game in which... Referee Andy D'Urso ran around blowing his whistle like he was at an early 90s rave off his nut on ecstasy - and in the brief interludes in which he allowed some football to break out Orient managed to score two goals. Demented officiating aside, this was a hugely impressive and deserved victory against one of the division's big hitters. 

Moment of magic... A goal from the most unlikely Leyton Orient player. No, not Michael Symes but left back Gary Sawyer. The former Bristol Rovers man has been a quietly efficient performer this season and his first club goal was just reward for another classy display. 

Lee Cook on the bench today
Moment of madness... Russell Slade's decision to bring on Lee Cook into cold and rainy conditions when the winger was perfectly content sitting on the bench Googling cheap holiday options in Marbella on his iPhone. However, contrary to all expectations Cook actually put in a hell of a shift and nearly set up a couple more goals with his pinpoint crosses into the box. 

Knight in shining armour... Superb performances from Jamie Jones and Nathan Clarke in particular today, but the shining star was Romain Vincelot. Though his appearance suggests he's spent the previous night engaged in a particularly strenuous session of lovemaking at a backstreet Parisian brothel, he's rock solid in central defence and today repelled the MK Dons attack flawlessly. 

Pantomime horse... If football matches lasted 15 minutes then Jimmy Smith would be Fifa World Player of the Year, such is the ferocious intensity with which he plays the first quarter of an hour. Today's early-game cameo included a backheel to Moses Odubajo that was so cheeky it's a wonder MK Dons left back Dean Lewington didn't slap him round the face for his impudence. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, Smith played the remaining 75 minutes like a dwarf playing piggy in the middle against the Harlem Globetrotters. 

In the dug out... You've got to hand it to Russell, in a must-win game he threw all caution to the wind. Admittedly to him throwing all caution to the wind is leaving Lloyd James on the bench, but nonetheless the manager deserves huge plaudits for dragging his team one point away from the play-offs with two games to go. He even got a bear hug from Kevin Dearden for his troubles today, an experience something akin to a jellyfish being crushed in an industrial vice. 

View from the opposition... "Poor match, poor effort by the players," writes MK Dons fan Matthew Fensome. "Why this again when we could at least have tried to win?"

You're a girl, you like pink. Right? 
Meanwhile on Twitter... Today the official Leyton Orient Twitter feed showed that the club are doing their bit to drag feminism into the 18th century by tweeting a product from their new women's range - a pink hat. After all, girls couldn't possibly wear the same colour hats as men, could they? Also available are a pink Orient apron, a pink Orient feather duster and a book entitled The Orient Guide To The Offside Rule For Women (pink cover). Girl power! 

Statto corner... Kevin Lisbie's 16 league goals this season come from just 20 starts, a goals-to-games ratio bettered only by Ryan Jarvis during his first loan spell with the club in 2007. "Getting close to Jarvis has always been one of my ambitions," said a humble Lisbie after today's game. "Jarvis Cocker, that is."

01 April 2013

Leyton Orient 2 Bury 0, 1/4/13

Bury's defensive coach
A game in which... Orient did what they had to do - assuming what they had to do was offer one of the division's worst sides repeated chances to score. Thankfully Bury couldn't shoot for toffee, while at the other end their defence appeared to have been coached by Clayton Fortune, Joe Dolan and C3PO, such was the scuttling panic that ensued whenever the ball popped into their area. 

So this was no classic, but a win is a win. And while results elsewhere surely mean that the play-offs are out of reach, all the team can do is rack up as many points as possible in the remaining four games and see whether we finish nine or tenth.

Moment of magic... The moment towards the end of the second half when Shaun Batt showed what a great talent he possesses. That talent is in wrestling, mind you, rather than football for the loanee showed immense strength in grappling with Bury left back David Worrall then chokeslamming him to the ground like he was auditioning for WWE Smackdown.  

Moment of madness... The moment in the first half when the ball plummeted from the sky towards the waiting boot of David Mooney with a small invitation attached to it that read "Just volley me into the net". But who, apart from every Orient fan ever, could have predicted what would happen next? Would he scuff it towards the corner post? Would he miss it completely? Would it hit him on the back of the head after he'd tripped himself over? In the event the Irishman managed to confound all expectations by skewing the ball straight back in the air, something that a lesser player would have found particularly difficult to execute. All hail the Moons. 

Orient's defence
Knight in shining armour... With Orient's centre backs dropping like flies - today both Baudry and Omozusi came off injured - thank God for Nathan Clarke, who's now single-handedly holding the defence together with some sticky tape, a couple of plasters and Gary Sawyer. The captain was a level-headed presence today and will be critical to Orient's chances of ending the season with a positive goal difference for the first time in their entire history.  

Pantomime horse... Bitterly cold winds, the second match in four days and a bobbling, raggedy pitch. These are the conditions Lee Cook relishes - as long as he's safely at home wrapped in a onesie and watching Top Gear rather than actually playing football. Yes, it's fair to say the winger didn't fancy it today and approached the game with all the enthusiasm of a minor royal forced to visit a sewage works on a ceremonial tour of Siberia.

In the dug out... "The maths is simple," said Russell Slade after Friday's loss against Scunthorpe. "That's right," agreed Jimmy Smith. "Five games left, 33 points up for grabs and we're just 19 off the play-offs - so a win and seven draws should do it. LEGOOO!" And while the manager seemed to want to sabotage the very slim chances of making sixth spot by leaving Rowlands and Vincelot on the bench in favour of James and the aforementioned Smith, you have to give him credit for masterminding Orient's 12th home win of the season - a record bettered only by Brentford in League One. 

View from the opposition... "Any sensible Orient fan knows they didn't deserve to win that," tweeted Bury fan Jake Wadsworth to the seven supporters to which that description applies. "We had so many chances but can't score to save our lives." 

Meanwhile on Twitter... A revealing insight into the life of Mathieu Baudry this week when he tweeted "The mrs abondonned me so... i have to look after myself" So, as this picture demonstrates, the Frenchman did what any self-respecting footballer would do and, erm, put on his girlfriend's dressing gown and slippers and settled down to watch Bridget Jones's Diary on Netflix. Vive la difference, Mathieu!   

Statto corner... Orient's 12 home wins so far this season is their best since 1937/38, when the team won every game but one at Brisbane Road. "To be fair, we'd neglected to tell the league we'd just moved stadiums so opposition teams never turned up," said manager Peter Proudfoot. "Despite this, we still somehow managed to lose to Scunthorpe."
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