27 December 2013

Gillingham 1 Leyton Orient 2, 26/12/13

Orient defend a corner
A game in which... due to suspensions, injuries, loss of form and excessive mince pies, Orient were forced to put out a team patched up with sticky tape, Blu-Tac and - worse - Marvin Bartley. No surprise, then, that they were 1-0 down after 0.4 seconds.

It went downhill from there - a missed penalty, more injuries, Marvin Bartley - and despite the fact that Gillingham were showing all the ambition of an X-Factor auditionee who hasn't even bothered to invent a tear-jerking back story, it looked like Orient would be going home pointless.

The fact that they ended up victorious is massive. Yes, champions win games even when they play badly, and it's a huge testament to the spirit and resolve in the camp at the moment that Orient were able to drag out three points from the very depths of footballing hell. (Ok, I'm exaggerating a little...) 

Moment of magic... A no-look, defence-splitting reverse pass by the immense Dean Cox which, had this been a Premier League match, would have been read perfectly by the likes of Luis Suarez or Sergio Aguero and resulted in a certain goal. As it was, it left a stunned Moses Odubajo standing stock still on the touchline looking back at Cox with an expression of bemused wonderment, almost as if he'd never seen a human man under 4ft 7in before.

Adebayo Akinfenwa
Moment of madness... Every single moment (there were lots of them, including Gillingham's goal) when Mathieu Baudry was outjumped by Adebayo Akinfenwa. Which is really quite a feat on Baudry's part given that the journeyman striker has all the spring in his step of a concrete tower block. Next week: Orient's bemused Frenchman loses a game of paper, scissors, stone to an oak tree.

Top gun... Larkins looked solid, Omozusi was good in the second half and Clarke had another decent game, but standing head and shoulders above everyone (figuratively speaking, obviously) was Dean Cox. Moved to the tip of a diamond in the second half, Tiny was everywhere and pretty much won the game for Orient through sheer force of will.

Marvin Bartley
Little donkey... Does Marvin Bartley's goal excuse all the skewed passes, poor positioning and mistimed tackles that populated the rest of his 90 minutes on the pitch? You might as well ask should we forgive Vlad the Impaler all the systematic torture on account of his luxuriant moustache? The answer is probably no.  

In the dug out... Credit to Russell for the tactical change in the second half (moving Cox into the middle), but what the hell was the manager doing giving Elliot Omozusi the responsibility of taking Orient's crucial penalty? True, the defender has converted a couple in shoot outs, but surely as a striker and senior pro Kevin Lisbie (who's only missed the one this season, against Crewe) shouldn't be hiding behind Adebayo Akinfenwa pretending to tie his shoelaces when so much is at stake. Our penalty record this season is appalling (we've missed four out of six in the league). Where's Matt Lockwood when you need him? 

View from the opposition... "Orient didn't deserve that! Shit team cheating diving tossers #robbed" wrote potty-mouthed Gillingham fan Shelley Brown. It's worth noting, however, that the Gills take to the pitch to the sound of Robbie Williams's Let Me Entertain You, a signature tune that on today's performance is about as appropriate as George Osbourne entering the next Conservative Party Conference to NWA's Straight Outta Compton.

Tweet of the week... Well done to eagle-eyed Dean Cox, who noticed that Romain Vincelot appears to have had his shirt number emblazoned onto his £7.99 Primark high-tops, Cristiano Ronaldo-style. Expect the French midfielder to launch his own range of underwear and open a museum to himself in the coming weeks. 

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