09 August 2015

Leyton Orient 2 Barnet 0, 8/8/15

A game which... was preceded by a sort of 80s rock band reunion version of the Cheery Os, which saw Francseco Becchetti, Alessandro Angelieri, Ian Hendon and two other random blokes take to the pitch. But just as quickly as fans thought "Hey, I didn't know Flock of Seagulls had reformed" and meted out a mild ripple of token applause, they were gone again.

If we were underwhelmed by that, then the first half really let us down when Orient were out-muscled by a physical, if profligate, Barnet side and it became apparent there was a huge Romain Vincelot-shaped vortex in the middle of the pitch. But in the second 45 minutes the home side were transformed, almost as if the half-time team talk was delivered in the English language, and put the opposition under the cosh with some neat passing and attacking verve. Seeds of promise, then...

Jump off your seat moment... What a joy it was in Orient's first chance of the game to see Paul McCallum rather than David Mooney clean through on goal. "At least he's not just going to try to chip the keeper," thought every fan who'd been exasperated by our former striker's season-and-a-half's worth of failed lobs. Hearts sank when McCallum did actually try – and inevitably fail – to chip the keeper, though the new front man did redeem himself later when he stuck his laces through a fortunate rebound to put Orient 2-0 up. This is League Two lads – leave the showboating on the training ground.  

Give that man a medal... It's one of the immutable laws of physics that if Bradley Pritchard is within a five-mile radius of a football match his bodily matter will instantly teleport and rematerialise in the starting XI. And so it was with grinding inevitably that the fifth Orient manager in succession deemed the midfielder worthy of selection, and a typically lightweight first-half performance left fans once again scratching their heads as to why. In the second half, however, Pritchard showed what he could really do – which is play very short passes near the touchline to players better able to cross the ball. As such he was instrumental in both Orient goals and made a good case for further influence this season.

Martin Allen. That's not the sea: it's his sweat
Taxi for... Martin Allen. Although it would have to be a taxi in which the interior was entirely covered in water-resistant plastic tarpaulin, such was the rate at which sweat was cascading from every crevice of the Barnet manager's ample body. Particularly from his arse crack, interestingly, making his choice of beige chinos a particularly curious one. Either that or Mag Dog had genuinely shit himself at the prospect of facing Orient, which really would be a first for an opposition manager.

In the dugout... When Dean Cox finally departs this earth and is presumably playing in the Heaven FC first XI, what are the chances that even God thinks it's a good idea to play him at the tip of a diamond? And so it was that Ian Hendon – like every Orient manager before him – figured to himself: "Hey, Tiny is my best player so let's get him more involved and play him behind the strikers." NO, IAN, NO. THIS NEVER WORKS. It's like chucking a dwarf into the path of 11 onrushing juggernauts. Leave Coxy out wide, where he can do far more damage.

Meanwhile on Twitter... "Football is back!" tweeted an excitable Jamie Jones, almost as if he'd forgotten he's going to spend the whole season sitting on the bench. Still, that should leave him plenty of time to bait the fans of the club that paid his wages for five and half seasons, eh Scouse?
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