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. 

BOOOO!!! 
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* 

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