Well, Well Well, a 320 mile round trip on a Tuesday night to see Leyton Orient crumble in the second half once more. Why do we do it? We love the club but as I have said in recent weeks, we all know the blueprint for a match currently. Dominate the first half, fail to put chances away then punished for sloppy mistakes again. Last night was no different, Orient in truth played some neat football in the first half but the inevitable arrived when Neil Bishop’s deflected effort went beyond Alex Cisak early in the second half.
Soon after Scunny Captain Jack King bundled in from a corner to put the Iron 2-0 up and confirm Orient’s exit from the cup. How games of football can change, Orient lost confidence and the ability to find a black shirt after the first goal. Despair came over the away end, well hang on a minute we all knew that our best chance of making the third round was the first match which we somehow failed to win. Adelakun wrapped up the victory for Scunny in added time to leave Orient to concentrate on the league…
Scunthorpe came in to the game off the back of a 1-1 away draw to Port Vale on Saturday. Manager Mark Robins made only two changes to his side with former O’s midfielder Jamie Ness coming in for Tommy Rowe and Kyle Wooton coming in for Kevin Van Veen who dropped to the bench.
Orient drew their fourth game in a row away at Mansfield on Saturday and Ian Hendon made three changes to that side. Frazer Shaw came in for the cup tied Cole Kpekawa while Bradley Pritchard and Ollie Palmer were handed a start with Blair Turgott and John Marquis reverting to the bench.
As expected it was a quiet start at Glanford Park with both sides keen not to make a mistake in the opening minutes. Scott Wooton had a tame header at Alex Cisak while Jay Simpson fired high and over for the first chances of the game. Orient who were the dominant side in the original tie began to take control of proceedings. The away side were having large parts of possession and passing the ball around nicely.
Orient could have taken the lead on the 11th minute mark, following a period of possession, the ball fell to Bradley Pritchard inside the 18 yard box. The former Charlton Athletic midfielder saw his shot deflected off the head of Charlie Goode on the post and away for a corner.
The game started to open up with Scunthorpe looking to make the pitch wide and switch possession. Orient started 4-4-2 but moved at times to a diamond with Payne at the bottom, McAnuff at top with James and Pritchard as the two. But with both full backs for the home side in attacking positions, the final pass was continually wayward from the Iron which infuriated the home crowd. Luke Williams saw a free kick deflect for a corner but it was the away side trying to create going forward.
Set pieces are always key in every match and it was Orient who really should have taken the lead on two different occasions. Recent signing Jean-Yves M’voto headed over when free in the six yard box before Mathieu Baudry saw his header tipped over by Luke Daniels in the United goal.
Both sides were enjoying spells with the ball but it was clear to see the home crowd were getting frustrated when United passed the ball backwards. Ollie Palmer saw a header comfortably saved by Daniels before Bradley Pritchard went down under a challenge in the box but referee David Webb waved the appeals away.
Orient looked more threatening in the first half but failed to make the most of the chances that came their way. The home crowd were anxious and it was key that the match would be won by a bit of magic or a mistake.
The second half was a whole different story, the crisp and neat passing of the first 45 somehow vanished after the half time team talk. Orient were second best right from the whistle, losing the first and second ball in midfield. It was obvious that Iron’s boss Mark Robins knew that if you rattle the Orient side, you might force a mistake. Scott Laird fired over at the start of the half while Paddy Madden looked to play on the shoulder of the last defender, nearly getting in on several occasions. Captain Jack King thumped a header over 9 minutes into the second half when he really should have scored however only a minute later, they did.
Following a Scunthorpe attack, the ball fell to Jobi McAnuff on the left side, under pressure he fired a ball to Sean Clohessy at right back. The full back looked to play the ball back to Matheiu Baudry however the ball was terribly under hit. Luke Williams nipped in and played in Neal Bishop who saw his effort deflected off M’voto and into the away sides goal. An uphill task for Orient who had failed to win in any of the 8 games they had conceded first in the league.
Same old story, the blueprint for a match had been followed, Scunthorpe rarely threaten in the opening 55 minutes until a mistake gifted them an opener. Just 5 minutes later the tie was over, unlike Orient, Scunthorpe were able to take their chance from a corner. Luke Williams’s corner caused panic in the Orient box to leave Jack King to poke home.
Hendon threw on Blair Turgott and John Marquis but the damage had already been done. Scunthorpe were dominant with the ball looking to add a third while Orient struggled to create any openings. Pricthard saw an effort saved while Jack Payne saw a looped effort easily gathered. Hendon chucked on Victor Adeboyejo and the youngster did cause a few problems in the United back line however no chances were created.
United put the gloss on their “Chelsea Bun” when second half substitute Hakeeb Adelakun slotted home a third in added time to see Orient’s FA Cup adventure come to an end in Scunthorpe. Orient now enter a key period of fixtures which can help determine the second half of the season.
Was the defeat a surprise? Even the most optimistic Orient fan must have seen what was going to happen at half time. Numerous times this season Orient have dominated a game, failed to take chances at be punished: Cambridge away, Northampton away, Hartlepool away, Scunthorpe home, Plymouth away, the list continues. Is it a managerial problem or play problem? Hendon had no chance to prevent the first goal, with another mistake costing Orient however the problem remains how do we react when falling behind?
Orient have one good half a game and if we fail to score in that period we are in trouble. Despite that the second half last night was terrible, we never looked like we would create and get back into the match. The midfield were carved open on numerous raising the question of “is our midfield to lightweight” The service to Jay Simpson is 99% of the time in the air, do we not realise he likes the ball to feet? It is so apparent that if Simpson is nullified in a game, we don’t look like scoring which means with January around the corner: it is even more key we hold on to the former Arsenal striker.
Hendon is under pressure, that is clear but individual mistakes are costing Orient dearly currently. The most worrying part is Lloyd James spoke after Saturday’s draw at Mansfield to leytonorient.com “We have to start turning these draws into wins” . The midfielder said the exact same thing before Northampton away in September “as a team we are doing well, need to start turning draws into wins and I am sure they will come”.
Scunthorpe are a league above Orient but as Barri Twinn said last night “they created nothing in 135 minutes of football” and somehow Orient managed to lose. It was always going to be a rebuilding job this season but nothing appears to have changed since September. A 320 mile round trip after a 5am -2pm shift yesterday why? It is Orient but sometimes you wonder why, we never learn or know any better but it remains ingrained in the blood. I mean the next Tuesday game away is Carlisle.
Yeovil at home on Saturday is massive, draws away from home are fine as long as you get the wins at home. Fail to do that and you won’t be in the mix at the end of the season. We shall see what Saturday brings but with Francis Zoko on trial in the summer now playing for Yeovil, who would bet on him scoring for the Glovers on Saturday….
Only thing left to do now is find a game for the 9th Janaury