24 November 2013

Swindon Town 1 Leyton Orient 3, 23/11/13

Swindon before kick off
A game in which... Russell Slade witnessed "the worst thing he's seen in football" - which is saying something given that he once endured Michael Symes's performance against Barnet in October 2012. And while one Swindon fan's attack on Jamie Jones grabbed the headlines, the real story is the fact that Orient made a team who had won six of their previous eight home games look like a Sunday pub side in which all 11 players had just returned from a stag do in Amsterdam. 

No disrespect to Swindon, but it's a measure of just how formidable Orient are at the moment that they bounced back from defeat against Preston with a performance like this against one of the league's high-flyers. 

Moment of magic... David Mooney's opening goal, a lob so sumptuous that they'll be serving it on the menu of Swindon's finest restaurants (two Harvesters and a Wimpy) for years to come. 

Moment of madness... Only one candidate here: the moment a Swindon fan came swinging at Jamie Jones. To be honest, he picked the wrong player: as someone who has presumably been in the taxi queue at 2am in Liverpool city centre, Jones is more than accustomed to being attacked by a pissed up thug for no apparent reason. 

Top gun... At times the interplay between Dean Cox, Kevin Lisbie and David Mooney was mesmerising, and between them they nearly scored about another 15 goals. Vincelot and Omozusi were also immense, and Jamie Jones - when he wasn't dodging punches - was flawless. But let's give man of the match to Moses Odubajo for his two goals and for being a constant menace to the Swindon defence. 

Little donkey... No bad performances from anyone in an Orient shirt, so instead have this photo of Swindon's pitch invader, courtesy of @OrientSteve

In the dug out... Seeing Jamie Jones under attack sprung goalkeeping coach Kevin Dearden into action from the bench. He explained: "I sprinted towards Scouse to try to help him - but by the time the incident was over I'd only made it as far as the seat next to me. Next week I'm planning to stay awake for the entire game, just to be safe." 

View from the opposition... "Thoroughly depressing day at the County Ground yesterday," wrote fan Steve Warren. "Idiot fan, cheating rewarded by shit ref and a joke of a defence again." If you say so. 
Tweet of the week... This from fan Lee Kinsley. "Swindon announce their new mascot."

16 November 2013

Leyton Orient 0 Preston North End 1,16/11/13

A game in which... Preston took to the pitch pumped and primed for a vicious battle. Orient, on the other
hand, look pumped and primed for a pleasant Sunday afternoon stroll around a bird sanctuary. Yes, for the first 70 minutes of the game the Lilywhites fought harder, pressed harder and scored a beauty of a goal.

The Os did work up a bit of a head of steam towards the end of the match - once Shaun Batt was on the pitch, basically - but to no avail. But, hey, let's not get too upset. It's a massive testament to the way Orient are playing this season that very decent sides such as Preston need to be at the top of their game to take points from us. We're in the automatic promotion positions. Don't panic - enjoy.

Moment of magic... Scott Cuthbert's death-defying, flying tackle on Joe Garner in the second half. The Preston striker was clean through until the Orient defender (who had a great game) hurtled towards him like a pissed up Glaswegian trying to jump the queue at the chippy to ensure he gets the last deep fried Mars bar.

Moment of madness... The second-half moment when David Mooney fortuitously found the ball at his feet six yards in front of goal with no Preston defender anywhere near him. One can only guess what went through the striker's head. My guess is: "Feck! I've got the ball. Although I've just remembered I haven't picked up my dry cleaning yet. Perhaps I could do it tomorrow before I go to the golf course... Oh, I've been tackled. Feck."

Top gun... It's no coincidence that the only time Orient really built up any pressure was once Shaun Batt came on. The big man is a clanking, clattering whirl of trouble to opposition defences and things always happen when he's on the pitch. Time to start him at right midfield, with Moses behind him and Omozusi at left back?

Little donkey... It's obviously totally unfair to judge a new signing on the basis of one single kick of a football, but since in Robbie Simpson's case that kick was straight at the keeper when put clean through on goal in the fourth minute of injury time, I'm going to do exactly that. It was a chance that Homer Simpson could probably have scored, let alone Bart, Marge, Lisa and Maggie. O.J. would probably have murdered the chance too.

In the dug out... If you'll recall, Russell Slade said this after Tuesday's game against Stevenage: "We are only going to be successful if we taste failure." Well, ok, I think we've done enough tasting now though. In fact, in the context of this season the last two results have been a massive Kevin Dearden-sized binge on failure. But fear not: Orient have already proved this season that they can bounce back from adversity. They'll just need to do it again against Swindon.

View from the opposition... Respect to the Preston fans, who were in fine voice throughout. Not all of them were happy though: "£9.60 for two pints, the price to pay to #pnefc winning in the capital," wrote supporter Jon Allison.

Tweet of the week... Respect to Jamie Jones for tweeting the following during last night's Children In Need:
"Just donated £100 but I'll give £1 for every retweet this gets between now and 10 o'clock." Perhaps Jamie underestimated the power of Twitter, however, because over 8,000 retweets later it was looking like his League One goalkeeper's pay packet was going to take a bit of hammering. He hastily tweeted: "Limit reached at £1000 thanks for the awareness raised for the cause and keep donating." And fair play to him too. Though team mate Scott Cuthbert couldn't resist a crack, tweeting: "I will give @jamie1jones £1 for every retweet this gets, poor guys skint" and seconds later following up with: "Sorry my £1 limit has been reached, thanks for the retweets."

15 November 2013

Johnstone's Paint Trophy: Stevenage 3 Leyton Orient 2, 12/11/13

A game which… closely resembled a teenage couple's first evening alone: a heady rush of excitement at the beginning despite the schoolboy errors, some awkward fumbling and then 45 minutes of standing around looking embarrassed.

Yes, who apart from everyone in the world could have guessed that with Gary Sawyer at centre back Orient would be 2-0 down within 10 minutes? And while the Os rallied throughout the rest of the first half they ultimately found themselves unable to break down Stevenage's ten men in the second. Bit of a strange game, but no great disaster to be out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy this season.

Moment of magic… The moment Lloyd James wrestled the ball from David Mooney to take our penalty. The Irish striker has missed 100 per cent of his last two spot kicks which was reason enough for the Welsh midfielder to step up and very nearly cock it up himself.

Graham Westley
Moment of madness… Every single moment that referee James Adcock made a decision. And I don't mean that in the sense that Orient were hard done by. In fact, Graham Westley could well have complained about Stevenage's red card and the penalty decision against them – and probably would have done if at the time he wasn't still rolling around on the floor screaming, crying and soiling his nappy about an Orient throw in that had been taken four centimetres higher up the pitch than it should have been.

Top gun... Comparing the Lloyd James of today with the Lloyd James that was run ragged against Tranmere in August 2012 is like comparing a gourmet meal at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant to a steaming pile of vomit. The midfielder is now the cog that makes Orient turn and tonight showed that even in adversity his intelligent passing is crucial to the team's attacking impetus. 

Jimmy Smith: fuming
Little donkey... You can say one thing about Jayden Stockley: he certainly does a lot of jumping. Then again so does a tree frog, and you wouldn't play that up front alongside David Mooney, even in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. It would be rude of me not to mention Stevenage right back Jimmy Smith too, who has got himself a mohican since leaving Brisbane Road. "My team mates told me we were going out for an Indian," said Jimmy. "I didn't realise they meant Red Indian. I was fuming."   

In the dug out... "If they'd got any deeper, they'd have required snorkels," said Russell Slade of Stevenage's defending, saving me from the bother of coming up with my own rubbish metaphor. But you can hardly blame a team down to 10 men trying to protect their lead. It seemed, however, that the Os manager was unsure whether he really wanted to win the game or not. He put out a relatively strong side, yet when chasing the game chose to take off Mooney and Batt rather than the less effective Jayden Stockley. "We are only going to be successful if we taste failure," he added cryptically, thus explaining away the entire 2011/12 season. 

View from the opposition... "Best win in years," wrote menacingly-named Stevenage fan Chuds on the Borochat forum. "Most satisfying for a long time. They disgust me. Their fans and their players, and their chairman are all utterly despicable." Blimey. One can only imagine how excitable Chuds will be if Stevenage win anything more significant than a Johnstone's Paint Trophy area quarter-final. 

Daryl McMahon: Bjorn again
Tweet of the week... "It's getting to that time of year check shirt, big boots and @MumfordAndSons on in the motor on the way to work," wrote one-time Orient midfielder Daryl McMahon this week, almost as if the concepts of fashion and music had never existed. And what is Daryl up to these days? By the look of his profile pic, he's moonlighting in an Abba tribute band. 

09 November 2013

FA Cup: Leyton Orient 5 Southport 2, 9/11/13

Southport's reserve keeper
A game which... featured all the comedy defending, wayward passing and reckless tackling you'd expect when a non-league side visit Brisbane Road. Although to be fair the guilty party wasn't Southport, it was Orient - or more specifically Yohann Lasimant.

Ok, that's a bit harsh, for though this wasn't the Os' most coherent performance there were four quality goals and the outcome never looked in doubt, especially given that the visitors' three first-half injuries meant that club mascot Dave Stevenson had to get changed out of his birdie costume and go in goal for them.  

Moment of magic... Elliot Omozusi's succession of stepovers as he attacked down the right wing in the second half, the most audacious case of showboating at Brisbane Road since George Porter bought himself a 150ft luxury yacht in anticipation of his big-money move to Real Madrid that still hasn't quite yet materialised. 

Jimmy Smith: #fuming
Moment of madness... The moment when Romain Vincelot - one yellow card away from a convenient suspension for the low-priority Johnstone's Paint Trophy game against Stevenage - kicked the ball away in an attempt to get himself booked. It was so lacking in subtlety he might as well have felt-tipped the words 'The referee is a c**t' across his face and be done with it. Interestingly a fuming Jimmy Smith once tried to do that very thing at half-time after being denied a clear penalty minutes earlier. Luckily for him he spelt 'referee' as 'rifurreey' so the officials were none the wiser. 

Top gun... Omozusi and Clarke were as good as ever, and Dean Cox scored a belter, but Shaun Batt proved yet again that he's not nicknamed 'Battman' simply because of the time he turned up at training wearing his underpants over his trousers after a mix-up in his morning routine. The striker was a powerful presence throughout and took his goal with typical prowess.

Yohann Lasimant
Little donkey... No one in the Orient squad can kill a ball stone dead like Yohan Lasimant. Then again no one else is quite as wasteful once they do have it under control. There is a very decent player lurking within the Frenchman, but at the moment his lack of end product makes him the footballing equivalent of a beautiful teenage girl who spends five hours applying make up, only to puke up into her own face after her first Bacardi Breezer. 

In the dug out... Russell Slade took something of a gamble today - and not just by standing within 15ft of one of Brisbane Road's ear-bleeding loud-speakers. The manager chose to rest key players and give starts to the likes of Jake Larkins, Johnny Gorman, Frankie Sutherland and Yohann Lasimant. And the fact that his team won pretty convincingly gives hope that we can still compete at the top of League One even when the inevitable injuries hit as the the season wears on. 

View from the opposition... "Lost 5-2 and played quite well," wrote Southport fan Jay Mobbs. "Best atmosphere in 13 years of supporting the club. Makes you proud to be a Sandgrounder." Yes, their fans and players were a credit to the club - and it's been a while since we've seen a conga in the North Stand. Respect. 

Tweet of the week... Congratulations to Jake Larkins who made his senior debut for Orient today. And what can we learn about the young goalkeeper from his Twitter feed? Well, he believes "Made in Chelsea is so much better than towie." Well that's ruined his chance of pulling at Faces nightclub, Gants Hill. He's sensitive: "Surprise surprise has got me in tears." And he's easily agitated by long-established systems of classifying dates and times: "No way is Sunday the first day in the week :( so confused." Welcome Jake! 
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