In what state will the Orient players be after suffering a 6-1 demolition at Stadium MK yesterday. The East London club still have their fate in their hands with a game in hand on Tuesday away at Rochdale but what condition will the players turn up in? Gutless, heartless, passionless, three words which describe the performance or what performance you may say yesterday. After Dean Bowditch put the third placed Dons ahead, Did any Orient fans think a fight back was on the cards? No sooner than the celebrations from the first, the home side were celebrating once more, the question then was how many?
Non-existent defending once more with a third goal in 7 minutes forcing some travelling fans to leave after just 30 minutes. Dons were playing like a training game with Orient just letting them play, Hall crashed in a fourth before the break with a lovely volley outside the box with more O’s fans heading for the exits.
McAnuff had a shot early in the second half but Karl Robinson’s men appeared to still be in second gear. Rob Hall completed his hat trick when in acres of space on the edge of the box before Jay Simpson gave the remaining O’s fans their only cheer of the day before Delli Alli curled in a wonderful sixth. Does Liverani scout teams? I pretty sure most Orient fans could have told him pre match: their formation, personnel, and how they will play.
My pre match thoughts “The midfield battle could be key tomorrow with the Dons enjoying the majority of possession so Liverani could play 3 in central midfield. MK are free flowing in possession and full of goals playing predominantly a 4-2-3-1 system. In my opinion based on the last few weeks, 3 in central midfield is a must. James, Bartley and Wright should start if Liverani sets team’s out to deal with threats, his words not mine.” It appeared that Liverani didn’t take any notice but then is that any surprise, well not to me. The question will remain, why appoint a manager with no English League experience and managed only 7 games in his career?
As expected MK Dons lined up 4-2-3-1 making only 1 change from their 3-0 win at Fleetwood with Dean Bowditch replacing Daniel Powell who dropped to the bench. Orient lined up 4-4-2 (for some reason, only Liverani knows) making 4 changes with starts for Jay Simpson, Jake Taylor, Lloyd James and Shane Lowry while Andrea Dossena, Josh Wright, Darius Henderson and Ryan Hedges dropping out.
It would be a long afternoon for the Orient players and fans with MK Dons having a shot in the opening minute when Rob Hall shot straight at Alex Ciask. Orient’s plan was to sit back, inviting pressure and in relative good shape in the opening 15 minutes. Jay Simpson and Chris Dagnall were told to stop Darren Potter getting on the ball deep in MK Dons’s midfield. With Potter picking up possession, the center halves split and full backs went very wide opening up Orient. With Alli and Lewis Baker very comfortable in possession ahead of Potter, wave after wave of possession progressed.
The Dons have a philosophy under Karl Robinson playing youngsters and being easy on the eye creating chances. The first chance for the home side came after Will Grigg got behind Scott Cuthbert, he progressed into the box with him going down under Matheiu Baudry’s challenge. O’s fans breathed a huge sigh of relief as referee Chris Kavanagh waving away their protests. The Dons didn’t have to wait long as they took the lead after 22 minutes with Dean Bowditch tapping in at the back post. After a move broke down, Alli who was in space on the edge of the box played Grigg in behind Shane Lowry, Grigg crossed for Bowditch who tapped home.
Orient’s shape had immediately vanished, no sooner than the O’s fans had commented, Rob Hall’s cross shot from the right evaded everyone and crept in. Orient players complained about Will Grigg’s involvement as he ran across Alex Ciask but protests were waved away. The game was over, it just remained how much was our goal difference was going to take?
The Dons were unbeaten in their last 7 had confidence oozing through their side and after a short corner found Alli, he drove into the box going under the challenge of Chris Dagnall. A soft penalty decision but when your in Orient’s situation, it wouldn’t have mattered either way. Grigg stepped up, striking home from the spot for Dons third goal in seven minutes killing the game there and then.
The home side were in cruise control with Orient showing nothing in possession or out of it. It was no more than a training game for the Dons where they were playing the ball at will around Orient. Anthony Kay was allowed to pick the ball up from deep and drive towards the Orient area, no one wanted to make a challenge with Ciask saving his effort. Passionless, heartless words shouted from the away section who have put up with a lot this season with this performance finally testing their limits.
Rob Hall struck his second of the match and the Dons fourth of the first half after 37 minutes. Hall beat Shane Lowry with ease, playing a forward ball to Grigg, his poor control didn’t matter as the loose ball fell to Hall who fired home a stunning volley beyond Ciask. There were faults for every goal, Hall’s desire saw him beat Lloyd James and Marvin Bartley who just stood and watch the on loan Bolton winger fire home.
Jay Simpson had Orient’s only shot of the half but failed to trouble Dave Martin who was having easy day of the season. The half was drew to an end with Orient fans leaving in their droves, would Liverani read the riot act? Well, via the translator perhaps?
The second half actually started with Jobi McAnuff driving in from the left and forcing Martin in to a save with Shaun Batt weakly shooting at goal. Batt who had came on for Jake Taylor at half time was making his first appearance since the 14th February. Jay Simpson had dropped deeper behind Dagnall and was the one O’s player showing fight in attack but shot wide after creating some good space on the edge of the box.
However, Hall showed his quality on the right, cutting in but shooting at Ciask as he searched for his hat-trick. But the winger didn’t have to wait long for his first senior hat-trick, firing home from the edge of the box just 4 minutes later to make it 5-0. Chris Dagnall was replaced by Gianvito Plasmati with one eye appearing to be on Tuesday nights clash at Spotland with Rochdale.
Plasmati did head at the keeper following the corner but normal service was resumed with the Dons in the asdencdancy. But with 20 minutes left Karl Robinson would have been left fuming when Jay Simpson cut in from the right and fired into the top corner loosing a clean sheet. But this seemed to anger the Dons who with Lewis Baker creating space on the edge of the box shooting at goal only to find the post in his way.
Orient were having a bit more joy but this was mainly due to the scoreline with Dons clearly looking to reserve energy for another key game against Doncaster on Tuesday. Baker was allowed more space once more outside the area and his dipping, curling shot was touched onto the bar by Ciask. But number 6 was no sooner in coming, Delli Alli was found on the edge of the box, beat Plasmati with ease and curled in a delightful sixth.
The Dons were a league above than the Orient today who had failed to turn up to a game again. The fans deserve better, Liverani apologized post match, but it will take a lot more than that for the fans. No fight, organisation, heart, togetherness was shown with relegation staring them directly in the face. Only they know why, Liverani deserved some stick but so do the 11 who put on the LOFC shirt every week. You can blame the chairman, manager, back room staff but who are the ones that cross the white line 46 games a season?
The Dons were hungrier, younger and wanted the result more, Robinson prides himself in giving youngsters a chance with yesterday 11 having an average age of 25.7. That includes three over 30’s in that 11 highlighting the need for experience with youth. Orient’s was 27 not much difference but the desire in the final third was apparent, the Dons front 6 23.3 average age whilst Orient 27.1 highlighted in goals 4,5,6.
It will be a big task to survive relegation now with Orient’s sitting 2 points from safety and suffering a thumping. Only time will tell but in 3rd May Orient could be back in League 2 after nine year period in the league above.