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. 

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