23 March 2014

GUEST POST! Walsall 1 Leyton Orient 1, 21/3/14

Frankly I'm disgusted that Orient are only third in League One with eight games to go and refuse to return from Berlin until they win the Champions League. Luckily Andy Brown - Orient blogger for WAGU and The Two Unfortunates - has no such morals and filed this report from Walsall...

A game in which… Orient spent the first 30 minutes looking as clued up as a Malaysian transport minister at a press conference, but by the second half better resembled the Russian special forces attacking a Crimean air base. Yup, another “game of two halves” saw Orient bludgeon their way to a frankly undeserved draw, highlighted by the fact that Captain Clarke once again hit the back of the net (I know, his goals are like buses).

With the team suffering an apparent hangover from last week’s demoralising defeat, Orient started off without any sort of purpose, giving possession away at every opportunity. They stepped up the pressure second half - mainly via a series of long, aimless balls forwards - and on the rare occasions they did get hold of the ball they looked like they might do something, but Walsall always looked a threat on the counter-attack. In summary, the performance suggests that the team is running out of steam and the management team out of ideas… let’s hope not!

Moment of magic... Eldin Jakupovic’s stunning double save down to his right to tip a shot onto the post and then his reaction to dive at Westcarr’s feet to save the follow-up. In retrospect it earned Orient a point, as they should have been 2-0 down in the first 30 minutes.

Referee Tim Robinson
Moment of madness... Referee Tim Robinson’s baffling “senior moment” in the first half. He stopped the game in a the middle of a promising O’s attack to tell Baudry and Downing off for holding, but did not wait until the ball was dead and with no foul given, he gave a drop ball to the utter bafflement of everyone in the ground and much to the irritation of Os fans and players.

Top gun… It was tough to pick a top performer with Orient having an off-day. Our best players were Baudry, who had a decent game on his return from injury, while Jamie Ness made a real impact when he replaced the utterly ineffective Lloyd James in the second half. Jakupovic once again made big saves when he had to make them.

Little donkeys... Precious fans that dish it out but can’t take it. The small group of Walsall supporters who surrounded a prone Moses Odubajo after a collision with the Walsall keeper by the goal, hurling abuse at him, and had to be held back by a chain of stewards, only to suggest the O’s winger should be banned later on. “Moses Odubajo should be reported to the FA for telling a small section of Walsall fans to f**k off” said Vital Walsall, while Matt replied with what I can only hope was tongue in cheek: “Definitely! Clearly read his lips from the back row of block 3. Ref seemed to ignore it as well; he was right next to him”

In the dugout... “We can only do our best” commented Russell Slade when questioned about Wolves and Brentford’s wins which saw the Os slip further behind the top two. No offence Russell, but if this is our best, I’d hate to see our worst. Walsall are a good side that matched Orient at Brisbane Road with ten men, so nobody expected a walkover, but with 7+ players playing below par, Orient were lucky to get a point.

View from the opposition... Vital Walsall was pretty generous about the game: “Result was fair to be honest. Orient dominated last 55 minutes of the game. They could have had a penalty and even snatched it at end." But Michael Tapper disagreed: “I disagree with the fair comment. I thought we made them look like a pub team”. Really? In truth Orient were somewhere in the middle, failed to get their passing game going and played the ball long far too often.

PA announcer of the week… Radcliffe Borough’s PA announcer getting in a twist with his words in a Northern Premier League Division One North game against Lancaster City. Why? Because players and fans from nearby Ramsbottom United had turned up for a fight after their match against Farsley was postponed.


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