04 May 2015

Swindon Town 2 Leyton Orient 2, 3/5/15

In the end, this was a fitting conclusion to a woeful season. Fitting that Orient couldn't beat a Swindon team cobbled together from a handful of reserves, a couple of under-16s, two or three random passers-by and some sticky tape; a team that had nothing to play for and one reduced to 10 men for 72 minutes.

"He's left Scott Cuthbert on the bench!!!" 
Things began as they always do under Fabio Liverani: with a team selection and formation that suggested the manager is either randomly picking names out of a hat, insane or part of an elaborate season-long TV prank in which Ant & Dec communicate with him through a concealed ear-piece with instructions such as, "Leave Scott Cuthbert on the bench, it'll be hilarious!!"

Anyway, the players tried to make sense of the latest strategy, which I'm going to generously describe as 4-3-3, and actually fashioned a few chances in the opening minutes. These mostly came through the endeavour of Jay Simpson, almost as if the ex-Premier League striker might have come in useful in the preceding 15 games in which he was mostly sat on the bench. Hey ho.

Still, unsurprisingly Orient failed to convert anything until Swindon – who appeared to be deliberately trying to lose the game – gifted us a penalty and got their goalkeeper sent off. Lloyd James is of course the Os most reliable spot-kicker so it was with grinding inevitability that he chose this moment to miss.

Following that Swindon did everything in their power to gift Orient a goal, until finally figuring out that the only reliable way to do so was to just give the ball to Dean Cox and let him do the rest. He duly obliged.

And so, with 45 minutes to go and results in other games going our way Orient were halfway to safety. What was needed was one of Fabio Liverani's legendary team talks – a stirring call-to-arms translated by Rob Gagliardi while he teased the tangles out of his hair in front of a full-length mirror.

And yet, and yet... Did Orient come out snorting fire out of their noses and throwing their bodies on the line for their very survival? Erm, not really. They got an early goal to put them 2-0 up and then things just sort of fizzled out like a cut-price sparkler discarded into a puddle by a disappointed child on Guy Fawkes' Night.

Matt Baudry gave away a pointless foul on the edge of the box. Swindon scored. Fabio Liverani switched to 5-3-1-1. Swindon scored again. The players looked to the manager for some indication of what they were supposed to be doing. He responded by playing Scott Cuthbert and Matt Baudry up front. The final whistle blew. Orient were relegated.

Did we deserve it? One hundred per cent. If you spurn a two-goal lead against a 10-man reserve team with nothing to play for then you're asking for it really. If you can't win a single one of your last seven games when relegation is staring you in the face, then you can't really complain. (And, looking at the final league table, just one victory in one of the games we lost would've kept us safe.)

Let's leave the final word to ex-CEO Matt Porter, who knows a thing or two about football, and a thing or two about Orient: "Dear oh dear. No words to describe what a waste of a perfectly good football club and a completely avoidable situation this is. Devastated."

34 comments:

  1. Wonder how many of the players are going to Italy for their summer hols ? Ha Time for an honest statement from our owner as to how he is going to address this crisis within OUR club and repair the damage his actions have done. Radical surgery is now required!! COYO'S

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  2. Many thanks Matt for another blog and the clarity through humour that defines them all.
    Things have got to change, surely that's obvious even to the budgie in a cage in the flats, let's hope our owner can see it too.

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    1. Thanks. You're right, things need to change or we'll be facing a League Two relegation battle next season.

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  3. Good luck next year. I salute each and everyone who supports Orient (rather than a plastic London Premier team). Swindon fan, Gloucestershire

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  4. Total commiserations from a Swndon fan who, having lived in Hackney for many years, has a soft spot for the O's.

    Criminal whats being done to your team by outsiders, especially after having such a good team last year.

    [and alas as you can see elsewhere is becoming increasingly common - blackpool, leeds etc]. Hope you find your way back up again. If it continues to be pear-shaped, the Blackpool response yesterday might be worth thinking about...

    PS remarkable humour blog.

    PPS Your away following was also seriously impressive in numbers !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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  5. Time for LOSC to rethink policy of GIVING MONEY to LOFC and for LOFT to put a serious arrangement in place to enable fans to invest in a savings scheme that produces a fund to buy every single - LOFC share that comes up for purchase, that is affordable from the total amount sitting in the investment fund.

    Who knows, a genuine fan's investor with a spare £million or more might come along and then the true fans are on their way to at least getting a board member of their choosing and maybe one day the ownership of the whole club. If it can happen for other clubs - why not LOFC?

    I am in for £10 a month, that I need to be able to withdraw at (say) 3 months notice - if I need to pay the fees of a care home for myself one day - I might even leave the investment to LOFT in my will if I do not after all need it when I finally go doolally.

    I am sure LOFT have got the legal and financial brains to get a scheme going that is self funding - I am not looking for a cash return (that is why it is an amount I can afford to lose - an amount I might be prepared to increase, once I see a successful scheme is running) I just want my dosh to be invested in LOFC & for that investment to be controlled by LOFT and if I need the money back, I can get it at reasonably short notice - say 3 months.

    ReplyDelete
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