13 October 2019

Leyton Orient 3 Walsall 1, 12/10/19

A game in which... Joe Widdowson scored. Take that in for a moment and spare a thought for Eliud Kipchoge who, just hours earlier, became the first human to run a sub two-hour marathon only to find that by teatime his feat was only the second greatest sporting achievement of the day.

But wait, there's more: Joe Widdowson scored the goal – his first since 2009 BC – with his right foot. Remember, the defender is so left-footed that he rarely even bothers booting up his right, preferring to take to the field wearing a single novelty Spiderman slipper he received for Christmas a few years back. Occasionally he simply leaves his right foot with kit man Ada for safe keeping.

And so, in scoring a right-footed screamer, Widdowson's achievement transcends that of sporting endeavour and sits proudly alongside man's first landing on the moon; the mapping of the human genome; the development of vaccines; and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.

From an Orient perspective the sheer euphoria of the goal propelled them to perhaps their most convincing 45 minutes of football this season, scoring twice more in the second half and cruising to victory. And there was only the one catastrophic defensive calamity too, which is progress.

Moment of magic... Widdowson aside there was also the fortifying sight of Matt Harrold scoring his first career goal that wasn't either a header or a tap-in during a last-minute scramble in the six-yard box. And thank the Lord that when Craig Clay was put through on goal by a Walsall mix up he had enough time to remember he couldn't shoot for toffee himself and therefore the good sense to square the ball to his ginger-headed team mate. Tidy finish it was too from Harrold, who is likely to lead the line for the next three games thanks to Conor Wilkinson's attempt at strangling an opponent to death.

Taxi for... James Alabi. And I mean that in the kindest and most literal sense: Alabi would have needed a taxi home after expending so much energy chasing down lost causes in his first three minutes on the pitch that he was subsequently unable to even drag one foot in front of the other. This was unfortunate as in his fourth minute on the pitch he was actually played through on goal and could do nothing more huff to a bewildered stand still. Which is a shame as he would almost definitely had scored had he made it anywhere near the goal. Right?

In the dug out... It's incredible to witness how simply removing the title "interim head coach" from Ross Embleton has liberated him into making sensible footballing decisions like not playing five at the back and dropping Sam Ling. Yes, yes I know he's injured, don't write in. Credit to Ross though, he seems to have got the team into something of a groove, just about in time for a new manager to come in and rip it all up again.

In the bars... On Friday night fans of the recently introduced O's Lager – all zero of them – were left shell-shocked when it was announced that the lukewarm dishwater was to be replaced in the bars around the stadium. By what, though? Well, the logic from CEO Danny Macklin appears to be that since it would be impossible to find a lager universally liked by all Orient fans it was safer to opt for two that are universally despised, namely Budweiser and Coors Light. The last word, however, went to the club's social media manager who cheekily chose to celebrate victory on the official Twitter feed with the off-brand message "If Carlsberg did second-halves..." I say "last word" because he's now been fired.

Meanwhile in the Director of Football's office... 

Kent Teague: Hi Martin, what's up?
Martin Ling: Not much
KT: Just wondering how the search for a new manager was coming on Martin
ML: It take time to read 40-plus application forms Kent
KT: Right, I estimate it would take about four or five hours. It's been three weeks
ML: I also have to cross-check them on Wikipedia
KT: Ok, but again that's probably another three or four hours' work...
ML: And I've been on the phone to Colin Calderwood
KT: Great! What about?
ML: Oh nothing, just saying hi really
KT: Martin...
ML: Yes?
KT: Have you lost the application forms?
KT: Martin?
ML: I think they're definitely somewhere... Sorry. I heard Ryan Jarvis has got his coaching badges. No?
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