22 December 2013

Leyton Orient 2 Crawley Town 3, 21/12/13

A game in which... Crawley proved they are so much more than Orient's bogey team - more like a huge, festering globule of mucus stuck up the nasal cavity of League One. No offence, hey, because in fact the West Sussex side were worth the three points.

So Orient aren't hitting the heights of their early season form of late - no victories in the last four league games - but then again we'll be top of the league on 25 December. And back in August, even if the news emerged that Santa had developed a debilitating addiction to crystal meth, no one would have expected the bearded fella to deliver a gift like that to Brisbane Road on Christmas Day. 

Moment of magic... Nathan Clarke's goal-line clearance from Nicky Adams' lob in the second half, a physics-defying block that prevented Crawley from going 4-1 up - a scoreline that would have been as hideously embarrassing as losing a pub quiz to a team comprising Jimmy Smith and three jellyfish.

Trevor Kettle
Moment of madness... The moment the young Trevor Kettle thought to himself: "Traffic warden? Nope. Ticket inspector? Nope. Debt collector? Nope. Supreme leader of North Korea? Nope. What I really need is a career where I can wield disproportionate amounts of power and ruin thousands of people's day at the same time. I know: referee!" And while he's not the reason Orient lost, Kettle's bookings of both Batt and Alexander, plus a bizarre drop ball after Lisbie was flattened, upheld his reputation as one of the worst officials in the whole history of the entire universe.  

Top gun... Excellent effort by the aforementioned Nathan Clarke today, and Scott Cuthbert was pretty impressive too, but let's take the time to hail an unsung hero: Gary Sawyer. Yes, the left back took the opportunity of Elliot Omozusi's suspension to remind fans that while he's no Matt Lockwood or Charlie Daniels, he's worth about four Billy Joneses, or 48 billion Danny Granvilles. 

Little donkey... "Worst I played for a long time" wrote Mathieu Baudry on Twitter shortly after the game, and it's true that by his own very high standards he had something of a shocker. He was directly responsible for Crawley's third goal after giving the ball away, missed three presentable headers from corners and his distribution was uncharacteristically sloppy. Still, we can't blame the Frenchman for everything: I'm pretty sure he wasn't involved in the Gallic invasion of Britain in 1797, and he's in no way culpable for the poor quality of the latest Daft Punk album. 

In the dug out... With both Mooney and Omozusi suspended, Russell Slade hardly needed any more bad news. But when Dean Cox was also ruled out for "toothache" - apparently sulking because the tooth fairy had forgotten to leave 50 pence under his pillow - the manager really had his work cut out. Still, we were always going to have a blip at some point and despite that we're still top of the league. And, remember: Slade's teams tend to improve after Christmas, which means promotion is still a realistic ambition.

View from the opposition... "What a result against top of the league. lads worked there socks off" wrote Nicky Adams after the game, scurrying around the conventions of grammar like the tricky winger he is. The one-time Orient loanee is right though: Crawley were better than the home side across the park. Given they have a 100 per cent record against us (beating Orient home and away in 2012/13) it may be easier if we just give them the six points at the start of each season and take the opportunity to rest key players.

Tweet of the week... "Are you sure it's my 30th? Can't be," wrote ex-Orient goalkeeper Glenn Morris to his own wife on Twitter this week, suggesting that for him birthdays are just as confusing as trying to kick a football vaguely in the direction of his team mates. 

Fact of the day... It's actually scientifically impossible for Orient to beat a team containing Gary Alexander. It's known in physics as "The Law of Fat-Ass". In fact the one-time Brisbane Road striker did everything you'd expect of him today: led the line brilliantly, caused a nuisance to the defence, missed a penalty, fluffed a sitter and fell to the ground screaming like an eight-year-old girl watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre every time he went up for a header.  
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