29 March 2015

Leyton Orient 3 Port Vale 1, 28/3/15

A game which... played out like a trippy 60s movie, such was the mind-bending surreality of the afternoon. Where to even begin: Matt Baudry sparring with a pigeon? Matchday announcer Philip Othen being forced to read out a message from President Becchetti slagging off Darius Henderson for turning up late? Gianvito Plasmati getting on the pitch? David Mooney saying this: "In the first half I thought we were excellent"? Weirded-out, freaky shit, man.   

Let's start with the football: Orient were in fact apocalyptically atrocious in the first half. Mercifully someone appeared to spike Port Vale's half-time Powerade with LSD for the opponents played the second 45 minutes as if transfixed by the kaleidoscopic colours and shifting shapes of Brisbane Road. So while their opponents were pointing at clouds and giggling, the Os took advantage – they could hardly not – and at the end of the afternoon had three points to show for it, which thankfully proved not to be a hallucination. 

Jump off your seat moment... Dean Cox's stunning winner gets an honourable mention of course, but let's instead focus on Orient's second goal. Now, I'm not saying that the way Port Vale conceded was the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened in the whole history of Brisbane Road – that was David Mooney's woefully-missed penalty, minutes later – but by God it was cringeworthy. 

With the ball plummeting out of the sky substitute keeper Sam Johnson – whose performance suggested he was actually just a random bloke pulled out of the crowd – inexplicably stood immobile while a grateful Jake Taylor headed the ball nowhere useful, only for Vale defender Neill Collins to bewilderingly slice the ball into his own net. Guys, if we somehow stay up, you two will be fighting for our player of the season award. 

Give that man a medal... It's not often that a substitute gets a standing ovation as he takes to the pitch. In fact, as Gianvito Plasmati found out to his cost, some fans are more likely to boo our own players. (Come on guys, let's get off the lanky Italian's back. You wouldn't heckle a bowl of spaghetti bolognese before you even take a bite of it, would you? Even if every previous time you've eaten spaghetti bolognese it's made you violently ill.) 

Anyway, I'm talking the rapturous reception afforded to Lloyd James. And what a joy it was to see the return of a central midfielder who can pass the ball in a direction other than sideways or backwards. 

Taxi for... Chris Dagnall. Now, I'm not questioning the Scouse striker's hamster-in-a-wheel work-rate. But I am questioning the fact that Dagnall seems to have developed a nasty habit of hitting the woodwork when presented with a gaping open goal. He did it twice today (and once against Yeovil and once against Barnsley). And if we're going to get out of this relegation mess, we're going to need the striker to start burying his chances. Either that or we need to play Port Vale every week. 

"Fuck the technical shit"... Clearly our illustrious president Sr Becchetti has no confidence in Fabio Liverani's ability to motivate his team and today decided to take matters into his own hands. What happened was this: Darius Henderson turned up four hours late to the game after getting stuck in traffic, a fitting metaphor for the timing of his runs into the box on the football pitch. 

Presuming that the striker needed some sort of kick up his sizeable arse, the president issued instruction to matchday announcer Philip Othen to ironically thank him during the half-time announcements. ON WHAT FOOTBALLING PLANET IS THIS OK? That's right, Planet Orient. Next week: president Becchetti orders Gary Sawyer to sit on a naughty step for turning up to training with his shirt hanging out. 

Meanwhile on Twitter... "Magnanimous effort from the lads today..." wrote hipster keeper Adam Legzdins, almost certainly meaning "magnificent" not "magnanimous", unless he truly was heralding his teammates' generosity in forgiving an insult. 

Or maybe he was? Perhaps he'd mocked them for buying coffee at Starbucks or not knowing the difference between milk stout and porter ale? Who even knows anymore? Tune in next week for more from the psychedelic world of Leyton Orient... *Twilight Zone music* 

18 March 2015

Leyton Orient 0 Barnsley 0, 17/3/15

A game in which... Orient did not concede a goal. Even though Barnsley are a classy side. Even though they had set pieces. Even though they went down to ten men.

And given that for the majority of the season our defence has been leaking like someone trying to collect water with a sieve from the foot of the Niagara Falls, this is some achievement. So, yeah, we didn't score ourselves either but God knows the players gave it their best shot and created enough chances to have emerged worthy winners. A point is better than none, but it's the performance that should give us all hope we can survive.

Jump off your seat moment... Picture what it might look like if you tried to raise a crumbling skyscraper a couple of millimetres off the ground using a car jack. This is some approximation of the moment Darius Henderson heaved himself towards a perfect Andrea Dossena cross, bits of plaster falling from him as he did so. The goal was gaping, yet somehow the big striker contrived to miss.

Give that man a medal... More excellence from Ryan Hedges, Luke O'Neill, Josh Wright and Alex Cisak tonight, but let's take a moment to discuss Nathan Clarke. Now, the club captain has come in for a lot of stick this season – some of it pretty disrespectful – simply because almost every single goal we've conceded has been due to a catastrophic error on his part. But tonight he was down to his no-nonsense best and has a clean sheet to show for it.

Taxi for... Take a look at this photo. You'd be pretty embarrassed if that was your brother, right? Well it is Josh Wright's brother, but that isn't one millionth as embarrassing as the corner Josh took in the first half in which he managed to stumble over the corner flag, scuff the ball a yard in front of him and then stand around sheepishly while his team mates came to the rescue. As they'd say on The Only Way Is Essex: awkward.

"Fuck the technical shit"... Were Fabio Liverani piloting a commercial airliner, I suspect he would spend the entire flight maniacally insisting that the cabin crew move the drinks trolleys two or three millimetres to the left while failing to notice that his plane was plummeting into the sea. What I'm saying here is that the Italian likes to incessantly and pointlessly micro-manage for the duration of each game. But while Orient carrying on playing as they are at the moment, I'm going to trust that he has some idea of what he's doing.

Kevin and his two brothers 
Meanwhile on Twitter... Plenty of tributes to Kevin Lisbie, who may have played his last game in an Orient shirt having gone out on loan to Stevenage. "Words can't describe how much I'll miss Lis," wrote Dean Cox, before going on to use words to describe how much he'll miss Lis: "Great bloke and absolute legend." Matt Porter, meanwhile, said: "Sometimes you get lucky with signings. Kevin Lisbie lived round the corner from the training ground", almost as if the club had no coherent scouting policy even before the Italians turned up. What is true is that there appears to be universal appreciation for a great player, a great club man and a great professional. Kev, we'll miss you.

14 March 2015

Leyton Orient 3 Yeovil Town 0, 14/3/15

Yeovil Town
A game in which... Orient coasted to a routine victory – assuming, that is, that your 'routine' involves torturing wounded and helpless kittens. Yep, it's difficult to describe quite how pitiful Yeovil were except to say that they were almost as wretched as the Orient side of about six weeks ago.

Still, you can only beat what's put in front of you and in fact the home team played some pretty enticing football, especially during a first half in which they could have legitimately been four or five-nil up. Tougher tests will come for Orient – tying their own shoelaces, for example, or naming a fruit beginning with the letter 'a'  – but the signs were positive today.

Jump off your seat moment... Marvin Bartley has the unenviable task of replacing the injured Romain Vincelot for the rest of the season, which is a bit like asking Stacey Solomon to stand in for Brigitte Bardot. But God knows the former and future window-fitter tried his little heart out and it was his run and lay-off that led to the second goal.

Give that man a medal... Excellent performances all round, but in particular from Baudry, Cuthbert, McAnuff, Dossena and Hedges. And of course Chris Dagnall, as ever, scuttled round incessantly like a cockroach on a hot tin roof. But let's take this moment to hail a classy performance by on-loan right back Luke O'Neill (or "Nell" as Liverani insists on yelling at him), who's brought some stability and attacking impetus to the flank since his arrival from Burnley.

Taxi for... There were no bad performances from anyone in an Orient shirt so let's instead focus on the Yeovil fan who, presumably figuring that life was no longer worth living if he had to watch a single second more of the Glovers, chose to scale the girders into the roof of the East Stand. Given that the ancient stand is now held together by nothing more than a couple of safety pins, some sellotape and the shattered dreams of Peterborough fans, it's a miracle he survived. Still, he got arrested and ejected from the ground, so will probably consider missing the second half worth his trouble.

"Fuck the technical shit"... One can only imagine the sheer force of will it took Fabio Liverani to not select a fit Bradley Pritchard, but in doing so he managed to send out a starting XI that attacked with some verve. So fair play to him. It's still difficult, mind, to tell how much tactical insight is going on in between all the frantic touchline arm-waving, but given we won let's at least assume that his semaphore isn't actively detracting from our performances.

Meanwhile on Instagram... Say hello to Giulia Salemi, former Miss Italy, Agon Channel presenter and die-hard Leyton Orient fan since as far back as last week. I had the pleasure of interviewing Giulia this evening in my own imagination and discovered that her all-time favourite Orient legend is Ryan Hedges; her favourite goal ever is Ryan Hedges' strike against Yeovil Town today; and in all her time supporting Orient the player she'd most like to date is Ryan Hedges.

03 March 2015

Leyton Orient 1 Bristol City 3, 3/3/15

Leyton Orient
A game which... left fans feeling both sorry for and proud of Leyton Orient, much in the way you may have patronisingly cheered on Eric the Eel in the Sydney Olympics. Yep, it was always going to be difficult for the Os to overcome a rampant, high-flying Bristol City but, hey, at least they didn't drown.

In fact, the home side did even better than that, fashioning the better of the chances and at times dominating play. But – surprise, surprise – Orient were hoisted on the petard of their own inability to defend properly for 90 unbroken minutes. Still, if we play like that against teams less clinical than the Robins then there's still a chance we won't be the ones left flailing round in the relegation zone while everyone else races to the finishing line.

Jump off your seat moment... Have you ever seen a giraffe try to tap dance? Or a sea-lion do the splits? Or a lamppost attempt a pirouette? Well, never mind, because if you were at Brisbane Road you would have seen Gianvito Plasmati perfectly execute a bicycle kick and for that you are truly, truly blessed.

Give that man a medal... If Jobi McAnuff's post-injury return to the side in 2015 was a film, it would be The Godfather Part II – a sequel far superior to the original. That said, McAnuff's early season performances were hardly The Godfather, were they? More like Run For Your Wife starring Danny Dyer, Denise Van Outen and the blonde one from Girls Aloud. What I'm trying to say here is McAnuff was good again tonight. And earlier this season he was shit.

Taxi for... Oh Mathieu Baudry. So elegant, so handsome, so cultured... so prone to momentary lapses in concentration that lead directly to opposition goals. The Frenchman almost opened up an alternate timeline of doom when he messily gave away a penalty against Oldham, and tonight his errors – once in failing to shepherd the ball out and once in giving away a pointless foul – gave Bristol two opportunities to score. Cuthbert back in central defence next week anyone?

"Fuck the technical shit"... So, everyone likes Fabio Liverani now that he made a couple of mild jokes at the Meet The Manager night? Christ, you lot are fickle. But, to be fair to the Italian, he does now seem to have figured out who his players are and what position they're actually supposed to play in. What do you mean that's a minimum requirement for a football manager? There's no pleasing some people.

Meanwhile on Twitter... A touching thank you tweet to Andrea Dossena from Orient fan Jan, who received a bunch of flowers from the suave Italian to say sorry for nearly killing her with a miscued shot. Imagine if Adrian Patulea had offered similar sentiments every time he skewed one into the crowd – he'd have had to buy a stake in Interflora.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...