19 April 2014

Crawley Town 2 Leyton Orient 1, 18/4/14

A game in which... it was proved that in millions of years' time, as the dying embers of the sun throw their last feint light on our doomed planet, an Orient team of the future will still be losing to Crawley. Yep, it's played four, lost four against this glorified Conference side and, to be honest, Orient aren't likely to beat anyone in this sort of form. Except Gillingham, obviously.

Let's keep things in perspective: we're in the play-offs (yay!) and it's certain that there Orient will not put in the sort of tired, lacklustre performance they did at the Checktrade.com stadium. But one win in seven is a worrying statistic and by the time 10 May comes around this marvellous group of players will need to find some extra reserves of energy to try to get us over the final hurdle.

Moment of magic... Shaun Batt's brilliant, heavily-disguised dummy in the dying seconds which, to anyone who's watched more than seven seconds of football in their entire life, might have looked like a jaw-droppingly embarrassing air kick but in fact was a ploy that allowed the ball to run through to an unmarked David Mooney. Probably.

Moment of madness... Crawley's second goal, in which Adam Drury was afforded so much space and time in the Orient penalty area it's a wonder he didn't pop to the local shops and back to get a few things in for the Bank Holiday weekend while he was waiting for the ball to plop on to his head.

Top gun... Selecting a man of the match is a tough one, as this was a performance of collective mediocrity. Let's give it to Jamie Ness, then, purely on the basis that in only being on the pitch for a few minutes, he had less opportunity to give the ball away than the rest of the team. Still managed it a couple of times though, to be fair.

Mathieu Baudry
Little donkey... Oh Mathieu Baudry. Whereas usually the Frenchman dismisses the advances of League One strikers with nothing more than a slight drop of the shoulder and an inquisitively-raised eyebrow, today his performance stunk like a rotting block of Camembert. One pass in particular - straight to an onrushing Crawley attacker (don't know which, so let's pretend it was Gary Alexander) - was the poorest example of French decision-making since Napoleon Bonaparte announced "I reckon we can take Waterloo" in 1815.

In the dug out... "We still pushed them all the way," said Russell Slade after the game which, even if true, is a somewhat underwhelming ambition for a team challenging for promotion playing against mid-table strugglers. Still, the big man is toying with his tactics, resting players and presumably has his mind on the play-offs, so we shouldn't be too hard on him. Though it has to be said: we're not going to get very far if our only tactic whenever Chris Dagnall is playing is to boot the ball over the top and watch him scuttle after it like a minor-league Toxteth drug dealer on the run from the bizzies.

View from the opposition... "Kyle McFadzean is my John Terry," said Crawley boss John Gregory after the game, presumably not implying that his central defender is a racist adulterer. But he did go on to say that playing Orient would be "incredibly difficult", suggesting his scouts may well have attended the Gillingham game, but probably not Bradford.

Not Dean Cox
Tweet of the week... "Not everyday I get stopped in south woodford and asked if I want some weed" tweeted  Dean Cox this week, presumably furious he couldn't find the coke, pills and ketamine he was actually after. I jest, of course, if you happen to be reading this and you're a lawyer. It was actually growth hormones he wanted.

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