Having not been to an Orient match since 14th January due to being at Uni, my first game back was to watch our defeat to Wednesday 1-0. It was the first time I had seen us without both Dawson and Spring, which highlighted how much they were key to our progress. Dawson was the engine room in the midfield which has somewhat been replaced with Reed and Spring who was the experience there picking passing and sitting in front of the back four.
McSweeney Chorley Cuthbert Forbes
Smith Leacock Reed Cox
Now albeit we are playing against a top team within the diversion, playing basically 4-5-1 at home is always defensive which means that the opposition just comes straight onto the front foot. Campbell-Rice seemed to be getting into the same positions as Cox which is always a problem. Cox didn’t seem to be with the game, even though he created both goals the previous week against Brentford. Forbes seemed out of his depth at left back, any Orient fan could have told you that he is a center back and that is it. Playing him at left back was just an initiative for Wednesday to give the ball to Antonio to run and run at Forbes all day long. Playing one man up top, in Lisbie who isn’t the tallest, why the hell were we playing long ball upto Lisbie when he was towered above by the Wednesday center halves, didn’t make any sense.
The midfield battle was lost pretty much every time, Leacock looked out of his depth as well hereby highlighting the need for Spring there. I was never happy with the loan signing of Rachubka after his display for Leeds against Blackpool earlier on in the season. He didn’t do much wrong to be honest but one main concern is when he saves a shot, the ball is parried straight back into the danger zone rather than to the side which keeps us under pressure. 1-0 flattered us, it could have easily been 3 or 4 nil, we only looked better when Porter came on, using his pace to get behind the defence and we could have leveled at the death, when Porter’s volley flashed just wide.
My main concern was the substitutions, if Reed is there to replace Dawson, even though he wasn’t having the best game, to leave Leacock on when he was performing the same way was strange. But then it made it worse when Leacock is taken off 13 minutes later, I don’t think anyone was expecting three points but a performance where we actually have more than two shots on target would be nice.
Tuesday’s game away to Oldham was a key game for Orient to bounce back, going into the game we had Dickson back at full back from injury and Spring but again injury crisis had hit the club again with Mcsweeney, Cuthbert, Cox and Campbell-Rice were all out.
Forbes Chorley Leacock Dickson
Porter Reed Spring Mooney
The formation seem for us to go there and get a point, but gave us an outlet on the wing with Porter. A more balanced midfield with Reed and Spring give license to go forward as Smith was sitting behind. Listening to the commentary, Porter was the man to watch, impressing on the wing getting behind the defense. For a long time on the message board, fans have been asking for Porter to start and last night he delivered, creating the chance for Mooney to slot home in which he did. Porter was the attacking threat and Man of the Match according the commentary, which was good for the young boy who hasn’t been given many chances this season.
On the upside as well, Rachukba played well, making important saves and a confidence building clean sheet. I for one am still concerned with the goalkeeping issue but he is the only one fit at the moment. If he makes a mistake on Saturday, I’m sure I will be one of the first to highlight what I think of him. He has already cost us plenty of goals this season, I would love to have Jones back but will have to wait and see. I spoke to Butcher on Saturday before the game, he is not back to Christmas, he had one op yesterday and still got to have another one.
Lastly, as soon as we get a full-back fit, he either gets suspended or injured, Orient definitely have a problem with full-backs and goalkeepers this season which is a real pain. We haven’t properly replaced Daniels after he went to Bournemouth.
Saturday’s away day at Charlton will always be a tough game for us, having outplayed them last year and losing 3-1 with a Jamie Jones mistake and a disgraceful decision by the ref to disallow Jimmy Smith’s header. As long as Orient show heart and desire on Saturday and Slate plays basically the same side, I will be and I think many other Orient fans annoyed if he drops Porter.
Charlton aren’t in the best of form winning only 1 0f there last five, are they feeling the strain of the title push. This can either be a good thing or bad thing, they could still be vulnerable or they could come back and produce a fine performance. We will have to wait and see.
Come on Orient, keep the momentum from Tuesday’s victory and go into the London Derby going for the victory. My first away game since Stevenage where hopefully we can replicate the performance and result. Onwards and upwards Orient.
Our last win at Charlton lets see us to the double: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItXzXrGBNc8 I wouldn’t mind if we have a lucky goal just like this one in the return game at Brisbane Road http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arGhipu-0fM