18 August 2013

Stevenage 0 Leyton Orient 1, 17/8/13

Stevenage line up for kick off
A game in which... Orient proved a match for a team that presumably prepared by eating a
bowl of raw nails, downing 10 pints of Maximuscle and strapping horseshoes to their hooves.

Yep, Stevenage are a Graham Westley side through and through and as such the challenge was as psychotically agricultural as ever. Luckily Orient were up for ruck and - though it wasn't pretty - in its own way this was just as an impressive a victory as the mauling of Shrewsbury a week earlier.

Moment of magic... The calamitous chain of events in the second half that began with a rare moment of dawdling by Nathan Clarke, leading to a wrongly-awarded Stevenage corner followed by a goalmouth scramble that saw Kevin Lisbie slice the ball onto the underside of the crossbar before Jamie Jones weakly managed to punch away. Why was this a moment of magic? Because it meant that in five attempts a Graham Westley team has yet to score a goal against Orient. Shame.

Moment of madness... The moment when the Stevenage match programme editor inexplicably sent this week's edition off to print containing an article by Stuart Govier on "Leyton Orient favourite" Bobby Moore. Expect us to return the favour when the Boro visit Brisbane Road with a feature on Stevenage legend Stanley Matthews and a look back at those great days when George Best turned out at the Lamex.

Top gun... At kick off you could have forgiven the Orient team a flicker of doubt over their ability to face down 10 eye-bulging man-giants and Jimmy Smith. The away side needed a chest-beating captain's performance and they got one from Nathan Clarke who (the aforementioned indiscretion aside) was resolute in the face of clear and present physical danger throughout.

Little donkey... Romain Vincelot, on the other hand, approached the game by taking every available opportunity to throw himself to the floor like an overly-eager actor auditioning for the role of "wounded soldier" in a re-enactment of the Storming of the Bastille.

The management... For the first time in his entire career, Russell Slade has figured out how to win games at the start of the season, rather than the end. "The answer was staring me in the face," said the manager after the match. "Just don't sign Michael Symes."

View from the opposition... "They have strengths and weaknesses and I will pick a team to exploit that," said Graham Westley before selecting Jimmy Smith at right back to face his old club. Since Smith himself is no longer on Twitter we can only imagine what is going through the former Orient man's head. I'll take a stab at: "#fuming 2day but crib loooking goood trim later go Faces be brave".

Tweet of the week... Great to see our illustrious leader Barry Hearn putting Twitter to good use. Earlier in the season he secured the signing of Shaun Batt off the back of this tweet: "Look, Battman, no one else wants you so you might as well sign for us. Lol." (I'm paraphrasing slightly.) Before the kick of the Premier League this weekend he took to baiting Hammers fans with this: "Good luck to West Ham today #myfavouritenurseryclub" - a jibe that Leyton Orient legend Bobby Moore would surely have appreciated.

Away day magic... Fittingly today's game appeared to be sponsored by the actual Apocalypse - and certainly the walk from Stevenage Railway Station to the Lamex would suggest that the holy Armageddon has indeed begun in this small Hertfordshire town.

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