11 January 2020

Leyton Orient 1 Grimsby Town 1, 11/1/20

A game which... heralded the start of a bold new era for Leyton Orient, albeit one that differs from the previous era only by the fact Ross Embleton has blacked out the word "interim" on his business cards with a felt-tip pen.

So, same old, same old, with the new Orient paying homage to every single Orient team of the past by being mostly shit, then getting a bit of a head of steam up and nearly scoring, only to concede catastrophically before somehow rescuing a point.

But let's not be too harsh, hey, because even though the board have clearly given up on this season, the team haven't and put in a fair degree of effort for at least 20 minutes of the second half.

Converting pressure into goals might help, but Rome wasn't built in a day – indeed, if the Leyton Orient squad had been tasked with constructing the eternal city it would probably now resemble Stevenage.

Moment of magic... An outrageous bit of showboating by Conor Wilkinson in the second half when he weaved Lionel Messi-style in and out of probably at least 40 Grimsby players before collapsing to the ground in the penalty area dazzled by his own brilliance.

Jordan Maguire-Drew, of course, was hugely affronted by this blatant land grab for his title of Official Resident Showboater and immediately pulled off a defiant –if entirely pointless – succession of stepovers. Not to be outdone, James Brophy then attempted to dribble the width of the pitch – and I do mean width, not length – only to lose the ball, allowing Grimsby to score. Great work lads.

Taxi for... Josh Wright. Not because he was particularly bad – he never particularly is – but because he's in danger of joining the ranks of players such as Tom Newey, David Hunt, Tom Parkes and Andrew Cave-Brown who made numerous appearances for Orient with no discernible impact, good or bad. Let's call them The Forgettables. The type of players about whom, towards the end of a match, you wonder aloud as to their injury status, only to find they've been on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes.

In the dug out... A chance for head coach Ross Embleton to prove he was his own man and set himself apart from his predecessor interim head coach Ross Embleton. That meant leaving Lee Angol on his own up front trying to deliver flick ons to himself; Josh Coulson inexplicably returned to the side; and recent goal-scorer Ruel Soteriou without a part to play. As you were...

Meanwhile, in the director of football's office... "I'm 100% convinced Ross Embleton is the right man for the job," said director of football Martin Ling this week, which is why it only took him until January to appoint Ross even though he's been at the club for years. "Football is a results business," he went on, neatly explaining why he's backing a man whose record in League Two is played 23, lost 9, drew 8, won 6.

I jest, of course, and I'm hardly going to question Martin Ling's judgment just because in Steve Davis and Carl Fletcher he made the two worst appointments in managerial history, so to speak. Truth is, I'd also have given it to Ross who is the most decent bloke you're likely to come across in football and deserves a shot at this, even if the process by which we arrived there appeared to have the hidden hand of Alessandro Angelieri guiding it...

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