10 August 2014

GUEST BLOG! Leyton Orient 1 Chesterfield 2, 9/8/14

Who apart from every single Orient fan in the entire universe could have predicted we'd end up losing our first game of the season? Still, what do I care, I'm still in Berlin. Andy Brown, however, drew the short straw and was in attendance at Brisbane Road. Here's his view...

Expectations were this high
A game in which... Expectations were higher than Lindsey Lohan in a hot air balloon, given that our new Italian owner has pushed Orient’s annual wage bill from £20 and a packet of Twiglets to £50 billion in one summer.

So intense was the pressure on Russell Slade that Orient resorted to a Faustian pact with the dark Lords of the betting underworld in order to guarantee success. Instead, they ended up with a back four that looked like they’d met in the pub 20 minutes before kick-off.

Yup, this performance looked very much like a hangover from the play-offs, with an out-of-sorts back four, a midfield lacking creativity and forwards that looked blunt.

On the upside, it was the first game of the season, Legzdins, McAnuff and Henderson looked good and there’s a long way to go. So nobody is panicking yet, right?

Nathan Clarke in action
Jump off your seat moment… Nathan Clarke has been a pillar at the heart of the Orient defence so it was strange to see him outmuscled, outfought and frequently out of position all game. To cap off an out-of-sorts display, he opted to do his best LeBron James impression to twist and catch the ball as it was going over his head, preventing Chesterfield scoring. He was lucky to only get a yellow card.

Give that man a medal… Darius Henderson made the best Orient substitute appearance since Jonathan “KFC” Tehoue with the kind of physical performance that said “Fuck this, I’m going to let them know they’re in a game”. He scored a point blank rebound, something that Lisbie, Pritchard and others were incapable of doing at any other time during the game.

Taxi for… It was the first game and all that, but Orient’s defensive quartet (sounds more effete than back four, and they were) played with all the disciplined rigidity of an ice cream on a sun lounger (maybe forgiving Elliot Omozusi, who, despite having his pocket picked once, saved Orient a few times).

It’s early days, but suffice it to say it will be good to have Scott Cuthbert back in defence and the sooner the better. As for the others, hopefully this was the reminder they needed that the season started today.

“Fuck the technical shit”… “It wasn’t a bad performance but we need to improve in every area,” said the Riddler aka Russell Slade in a slightly bizarre and contradictory post-match interview. Plan A in the first half looked very much like last season, good passing and forward play, despite woeful finishing.

However, in the second half Plan B involved hoofing the ball high and long in the vain hope someone other than the Chesterfield centre halves would get to the ball first, which only changed when Henderson came on.

Not a vintage performance by any stretch, although McAnuff and Henderson showed promise in a tactical move that screamed “Shit, this lot are earning massive wages, I’d better get them on the pitch.”

Meanwhile on Twitter… Os fans waited all summer for a new shirt and sponsor, and when the deal with 666 Bet was finally revealed it presented an ideal opportunity for some amusing devil-related Photoshop tomfoolery. The Mirror picked up on the club’s rebranding as “Satan Orient” but it was Orient fan Lee who gets the plaudits this week for his superb re-imagining of Russell Slade as the Dark Lord with the new shirt.

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