09 March 2020

Leyton Orient 2 Cambridge United 1, 7/3/20

A game in which... Orient did the footballing equivalent of a reformed 90s indie band who get a festival crowd going by playing all their early hits, then shoot themselves in the foot by announcing mid-set "Here's a new one we wrote..." thereby extinguishing all goodwill, before just about pulling it back again by finishing with one of the same early hits played for the second time.

Look, what I'm saying here in this tortuous analogy – obviously – is that the Os were so dominant in the first 63 minutes that to then concede and find themselves hanging on at the death was rather pointlessly self-destructive. That said, what an impressive 63 minutes it was, where it almost appeared that Orient were a coherent football team. Well done.

Moment of magic... Orient's out-of-character first goal, in which James Brophy – a left back who's never knowingly made a tackle – executed a crunching interception, then Craig Clay – a box-to-box midfielder who's never knowingly run box to box – took the ball the length of the pitch to lay it off to Jordan Maguire-Drew – a man who's never knowingly passed a mirror without stopping to conduct a three-hour personal grooming regime – who then actually scored.

Praise be... So many candidates for praise today but let's start with Jobi McAnuff for an explosive return to the pitch, where in the space of 15 minutes he covered more distance, completed more passes and took more shots than he did during the entirety of his Becchetti-era spell at the club.

Next: Craig Clay. Incredibly, he's raised his level from last season. His level is now mid-to-lower table League Two midfielder. Respect.

Next: Danny Johnson. Now, it may be true that the striker has had absolutely no discernible impact on any game of football he's ever played in, other than scoring tap ins, but by God if you need someone to not miss too many open goals from six inches out then he's your man.

Next Laurence Vigouroux, whose personal motto appears to be: "Why do something the easy way, if instead you can do it with a load of shithousery thrown in." Remember, this is a man who once paid a £50 fine with 5,000 1p pieces, a philosophy he brings admirably onto the football pitch.

In the dug out... Say what you like about Ross Embleton's formations, selection or tactics, but his philosophy of playing half the team out of position finally paid dividends today and for that I salute him. And moreover, he did that without Dean Brill – off sick – by his side with a clipboard which meant no one knew who they supposed to be marking at corners.

Meanwhile in the treatment room... 

Ross Embleton: Sorry to hear you're injured Wrighty – shame you'll have to sit this one out
Josh Wright: No, no gaffer – I can play, it's only my quad that's gone
RE: Do you know what your quad is Wrighty?
JW: Yep, it's the muscle that allows me to execute four varieties of sideways pass
RE: What are the four varieties?
JW: Short, quite short, very short and really short
RE: So if you can't do that, what else do you think you'll contribute to the game?
RE: You're back in next week
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