30 September 2013

Leyton Orient 1 Walsall 1, 28/9/13

Orient fans burn their season tickets
A game in which… dreamy Orient fans were reminded that we don't actually live in a utopia where the sun always shines, the streets are paved with gold and your football team win every single match. Still, it was nice while it lasted and there really is no shame in drawing at home with a very classy and very resilient Walsall side.

Yeah, yeah, so they only had 10 men for most of the game and Orient certainly weren't at their fluent best – there seemed to be more misplaced passes in this single match than the rest of the season put together, for example – but, you know, sometimes things just don't work out. No need to axe the entire team. No need to fire the manager. No need to weep openly on the streets. No need to conduct a ritual sacrificial burning of your season ticket on Hackney Marshes. At least wait until we lose to Oldham next week.

Moment of magic... David Mooney's ninth league goal in nine games, in which the Irishman powered his shot into an open goal almost like he didn't used to regularly miss chances like that two seasons ago. Who'd have have thought back then that Moons would have more goals than Kevin Lisbie? Indeed, who'd have thought he'd have more goals than Jamie Jones?

Moment of madness... Three moments of madness in fact: Walsall captain Andy Butler's red card (unjustified); Romain Vincelot's first yellow card (unjustified); and Romain Vincelot's second yellow card, in which the midfielder showed the sort of pointlessly snooty petulance you'd expect of a top French food critic tasked with reviewing Brisbane Road's infamous pies. Justified.

Top gun... This wasn't a day that Orient particularly clicked, but Mathieu Baudry (or "Frenchie" as he's known to his team mates on account of his penchant for kissing them with tongues whenever he scores a goal in training) once again showed his class at the back and very nearly won the game for Orient at the death with an arrowing header. Omozusi had a pretty good game too.

Dean Cox
Little donkey... It'd be fair to say that this wasn't Dean Cox's finest performance (ditto Brentford). It would be unfair to say that for that reason he should be tarred, feathered and placed in stocks in Coronation Gardens so irate Orient fans can throw rotting fruit at him. After all, even our classiest players are allowed off days sometimes - if they didn't they'd be playing for a big team like Brentford. Oh, hang on...

In the dug out... There was eye-bulging rage on the Walsall bench when referee Graham Scott showed Andy Butler red in the first half, particularly from Jon Whitney, the opposition's physiotherapist-cum-grave digger. Hang on, grave digger? Yes, that's right, when Jon isn't patching up players or trying to fight Kevin Nugent he's shovelling dirt onto coffins. Must come in dead handy.

View from the opposition... "Wha a team" wrote Walsall fan David Harris with scant regard for the convention of using consonants at the end of words. "Go to Orient n r the 1st to halt their winnin streak despite playing most the game with 10 men." Fair play, though it's a measure of Orient's progress that away fans are celebrating securing a point at Brisbane Road as opposed to previous seasons when opposition managers would be sacked if they didn't win by at least three clear goals.

Tweet of the week... "Looking for 3 serious people willing to learn. Earn around your current commitments" spammed former Orient striker Ryan Jarvis this week in a bid to combine playing professional football for York City with flogging a nutritional supplement. "**ATTENTION** 3 DAY TRIALS AVAILABLE NOW!" he continued, perhaps suggesting he's finding it hard to make ends meet at the moment. Shouldn't have accepted that pay-per-goal deal at Bootham Crescent, hey Jarve?

Orient by numbers... 37. The number of times David Mooney was caught offside in today's match, a total only exceeded by inside forward Billy Rees in a game against Norwich City in November 1953. "There was 19 feet of snow that day but the game went ahead nonetheless," chuckled Billy some years later. "I became stranded up to my neck near their six-yard box and stayed there until the following Tuesday when skipper Stan Aldous came to dig me out with his tractor. Lost my foot to frostbite, unfortunately, but I still managed another four seasons for the Os. You couldn't let little things like that bother you."

24 September 2013

Brentford 0 Leyton Orient 2, 23/9/13

A game which... according to Brentford fans, is like a day out at Wembley for Orient supporters. And they're right: playing against a team nine places below us in League One, with a similar-sized stadium, similar-sized fan base and a similarly empty trophy cabinet certainly does rank right up there with a trip to see Joe Pasquale in pantomime at the Wembley Civic Centre. And besides, we hardly need the Bees to create buzz around Orient at the moment for we are a team in dazzling form.

Make no mistake, this was Orient's second toughest challenge of the season (the first was prising Kevin Dearden out of his canoe with an elephant-sized shoe horn and nineteen cans of WD-40 during the pre-season team-building day) and the fact that they yet again emerged victorious suggests that something very, very special is happening right now. Enjoy.

Moment of magic… Shaun Batt's deftly-finished winner. Given his goal-scoring form, it's almost criminal that the striker has to sit on the bench, but for the moment let's just revel in the fact that we've got a super-sub like the Jonathan Tehoue of 2010/11, only much fitter, faster and less likely to cause a national shortage in KFC popcorn chicken.

Moment of madness… The moment in the second half when Romain Vincelot was brutally catapulted in the air, only for referee James Linington to casually wave play on as if it's totally normal to see a bearded Frenchman attacked by a rampaging buffalo on a field in west London. Yes, Brentford were a talented, but physical side – like a Stevenage with some appreciation of the law against GBH – and it's to Orient's credit that they matched them protein shake for protein shake, despite the lack of protection from the man in black.

French humour, mais oui?
Top gun… Lloyd James was scintillating, Moses Odubajo was dangerous and Mathieu Baudry inexplicably blindfolded himself throughout the entire game for reasons perhaps best put down to the idiosyncrasies of French humour. But the stand out performer had to be Nathan Clarke, who at one point executed a flying, last-ditch tackle in the penalty area so heroic that it's likely he will be knighted by the Queen in the New Year's Honours List and thus hold the least-threatening title in the history of the realm: Arise Sir Nathan!

Little donkey…  It is currently impossible to criticise anyone in an Orient shirt, unless they're wearing it to a wedding or something, so instead let's mock MK Dons manager and tonight's TV pundit Karl Robinson. "It wasn't a penalty, la" was his take on the moment David Mooney was wrestled to the ground in the second half, the most short-sighted proclamation since a blind-drunk Jimmy Smith tried to chat up a hat stand in Faces Nightclub, Gants Hill.

In the dug out... Is there anything Russell Slade can't do at the moment? Best ever start to a season? Check. First victory at Griffin Park in 20 years? Check. Form side in Europe? Check. Miracle cure for baldness? Ch... Well, maybe next week.

Andrew Lloyd-Webber
celebrates Orient's cup final win
View from the opposition... With brazen disregard for originality, Brentford fan Issac Hawkes wrote this: "Well the Orient fans can celebrate winning their cup final tonight but they'll plummet back to mid-table where they belong." WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, ISSAC. We don't belong mid-table. We belong in and around the relegation zone. We still beat you though, hey?

Tweet of the week... This from one-time Matt Lockwood hole-filler Joe Keith: "@leytonorientfc was a great place to be with good friendly staff all around the club whilst Brentford was dreadful with shit fans as well." And, in case you weren't wondering what Joe was up to these days, it's this: "What a wonderful day to be alive. Doing housework singing along to the Arctic Monkeys and looking forward to our game against Lowestoft later." What a legend.

Orient by numbers... 5,238. The number of times the phrase "With Kevin Lisbie up top they've got a bit of experience" has been used by pundits to explain Orient's current run of success. 5,237 of them have come from Steve Claridge.

18 September 2013

Leyton Orient 5 Notts Co 1, 17/9/13

A game which... on paper, Orient should have won. But as anyone who's supported the Os for more than five seconds can attest, games which we should win "on paper" are almost always the ones we lose. The fact that we actually put Notts County to the sword so emphatically suggests that our winning run isn't just an inexplicable but short-lived quirk of history - like snow-washed jeans or Olly Murs - but a genuine tilt at promotion, if not the League One title itself. Did I just say that?

Moment of magic... So many to choose from, but let's take a moment to celebrate Shaun Batt who - with the best goals-to-minutes ratio of all our strikers - must be sitting on the bench feeling like he's waiting to audition for a part in a West End revival of Grease the Musical only to see John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the queue ahead of him. But with his typically rampaging goal and his assist for Jayden Stockley, he reminded fans that he's a more than able back up for Mooney and Lisbie.  

Half-time entertainment
Moment of madness... Notts County's goal. Slade out! Actually, the madness was restricted to half-time when for reasons that may be loosely associated with something or other, someone was allowed to sing a song about referees down the microphone. Thanks to Orient's late 16th-century PA system the effect was the sort of blood-curdling wail that hasn't been heard at Brisbane Road since Dean Morgan was lightly tapped on the arm by an opposition defender in 2008. 

Top gun... Tonight the Official Romain Vincelot Man Of The Match Award went to... Kevin Lisbie. And why not, hey, for a striker now averaging a goal per game in his eight appearances this season. At this rate he'll overtake the goal-scoring records of Tommy Johnston (36 goals in 1957/58), Peter Kitchen (29 goals in 1977/78), Carl Griffiths (21 goals in 1997/98) and the next best, Chris Tate (5 goals in 2000/01). 

Dean Leacock
Little donkey... There are no weak links in the Orient side at the moment so let's instead take a gratuitous pop at Notts County centre-back and former O Dean Leacock. Russell Slade infamously described Leacock as his Rolls Royce, presumably because he was best kept locked in a garage out of harm's way. Tonight, in the face of Orient's scintillating attacking, the Notts County man must have felt more like he was trying to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix in a second-hand Kia Picanto.

In the dug out... What a joy it must have been for Russell to be able to rest Lisbie, Mooney and Odubajo for the latter part of the game and see two of his three substitutes score goals and the other one dribble around in circles near the halfway line. At the moment everything the manager touches is turning to gold - which means there'll be trouble if he goes anywhere near Kevin Dearden's post-match KFC bucket. 

View from the opposition... "Playing three at the back against top of the league away from home when we are without a win all year is absolutely ridiculous," wrote Notts County fan James Pegg, not unreasonably, while Peter Caine added an earthier "Well I ain't paying any more money to watch that shower of shit until things change."

Tweet of the week... Orient's amazing run of form has even got our part-time celebrity fans excited, and this week The Only Way Is Essex star Debbie From The Only Way Is Essex tweeted simply: "east east east London" accompanied by this picture. Next stop Brisbane Road, Debs. 

Orient by numbers... The last time Orient had a positive goal difference of 16 goals was in 1932 after a 16-0 rout of Newport on the first day of the season. "I remember it well," chuckled goalkeeper Herbert Emery some years later. "Our inside left Reggie Tricker was driving the team bus to the game after 13 pints of mild and got us lost somewhere near Pontypool. We ended up having to play the fixture against the Wales under-15 ladies lacrosse team. The Football League were none the wiser!"

14 September 2013

Leyton Orient 3 Port Vale 2, 14/9/13

A game which... was so thunderingly entertaining it seemed less a football match, more a $100m Michael Bay movie - albeit one that was so gripping it didn't need Megan Fox running around in hotpants to liven it up. Make no mistake, Port Vale were formidable opponents - especially in the second half - but this isn't an Orient team that fears a challenge. Indeed, the spirit in the camp at the moment is so strong that if you distilled it even Sean Thornton might consider watering it down a bit with a mixer. 

Moment of magic... The look on Tom Pope's face when 'Super' Kevin Lisbie struck his late, late winner. The Port Vale striker's main contribution to the game to that point had been the sort of incessant moaning you'd expect of a silent movie-lover forced to sit through Transformers: Dark Of The Moon - well, that and somewhat ill-advisedly squaring up to Elliot Omozusi - so it was all the more satisfying to see his reaction to Orient racking up their sixth win in six.  

Moment of madness... The moment in the first half when the linesman raised his flag just as David Mooney volleyed into the net, only to change his mind and lower it again. Presumably he'd felt the hand of history on his shoulder and figured Moons wasn't likely to catch one as sweetly as that again in his whole lifetime so he might as well let the goal stand.

David Mooney
Top gun... The Official Romain Vincelot Man Of The Match Award was given to Romain Vincelot today. Which is probably a bit unfair on two-goal hero David Mooney, who at present is apparently inhabiting a Pro-Evo version of himself in which an inexperienced games developer has accidentally coded him with the attributes of Lionel Messi. I'd have given it to Elliot Omozusi though, whose performance at left back epitomised the gutsy, never-say-die performance of the whole team. 

Little donkey... In the context of this victory it seems a bit mean to point it out, but in the build up to Port Vale's first goal, Jamie Jones punched so weakly it looked like Natalie Imbruglia half-heartedly trying to land one on a testosterone-pumped nightclub bouncer for not allowing her in the VIP area. 

Russell Slade
In the dug out... Huge scenes of celebration when Orient's winning goal went in. Even Kevin Dearden ran a few paces up the touchline, though official word is that four foot-deep crater he left in his wake will be filled in by the time Notts County arrive on Tuesday. As to Russell Slade, words cannot do justice. So instead here's a picture of a happy egg.

View from the opposition... "Fantastic performance today by the lads - didn't deserve to lose," wrote Vale fan Dave Banks, adding hilariously: "Orient not a great team." But never mind that, let's take a moment to hail the performance of ex-O Antony Griffith, who played the game in the right spirit and was almost a match for Vincelot. 'Almost' in the same sense that Dean Cox is 'almost' as tall as the Empire State Building. 

Tweet of the week... This from Elliot Omozusi, entirely written in a language known only to him and a long-extinct alien race: "not being biased but @MargsT fire in the booth 100the best, man said ni#*as grab the ting n start shooting 4rm Durant range. Kevin Durant." Anyone? 

Orient by numbers... Seven. The number of shots on target Orient had in a searing spell of attacking play during the first five minutes of the second half - exactly six more than turn-of-the-millennium midfielder Andy Harris managed in his entire spell at the club. "I never had much luck shooting," Harris chuckled a few years later. "But to be fair I did always remind Tommy Taylor that I was actually a goalkeeper." 

07 September 2013

The top five Leyton Orient beards

In honour of World Beard Day - and in lieu of Orient actually playing a match on a Saturday afternoon - here's my line up of five players who brought formidable facial fuzz to Brisbane Road...

5. Geoff Pike 

The man: Ex-West Ham midfielder whose bristling energy helped Orient achieve virtually nothing in his one full season in 1990/91. 

The beard: A closely-cropped and somewhat apologetic effort that gives Pike the air of a well-meaning geography teacher who remains relentlessly breezy despite the savage bullying he experiences at the hands of his 11-year-old pupils on a daily basis. 

4. Kevin Godfrey

The man: Youth team graduate whose dazzling wing play helped Orient plummet from Division Two to Division Four during his 11 seasons at the club from 1977 to 1988.  

The beard: This isn't a beard, it's a cry for help - a wispy and mournful effort that screams "If only I'd kept up those disco-dancing lessons when I was 12 I could have been an extra in Saturday Night Fever instead of playing for this shit football club."

3. Romain Vincelot

The man: Archetypal socks-round-the-ankles midfielder currently helping Orient actually be good. 

The beard: This is a beard constructed entirely from 100 per cent pure Gallic testosterone - a stirring, stubbly statement of intent that suggests to opposition players that not only will Romain vanquish them on the playing field, he'll also make love to their wives and kill their pet dogs. 

2. Tony Grealish

The man: Potty-mouthed Republic of Ireland international and cog in the midfield that took Orient to the 1978 FA Cup semi-final.   

The beard: Grealish's beard is that of an intrepid Danish explorer lost in the Arctic who, despite having to eat his own arm to stay alive, nonetheless maintains an intensive facial grooming routine. Either that or an immaculately-coiffured cat has fallen asleep on that enormous jutting chin. 

1. Barrie Fairbrother

The man: Classy midfielder and scorer of Orient's winning goal in the famous victory over Chelsea in the fifth round of the 1972 FA Cup.   

The beard: This is not just a beard, this is a live audition for the role of "randy vicar" in the infamous 1970s porn flick Deep Throat; a facial fuzz that bristled with raw sexuality and quite possibly slipped off to a local strip joint whenever Fairbrother was sleeping. 

Leyton Orient's record-breaking start to the 2013/14 season

The nice people at the We Are Going Up podcast asked me to explain the reasons behind Orient's record-breaking start to the 2012/13 season.

I literally had no idea, but I said a load of stuff anyway... Listen here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...