Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Orient 1-1 Daggers: Every Little Helps

A terrific display against Leyton Orient last night where we played so well we see it as 2 points dropped in some cases rather than one gained. Don't get me wrong, at the start of the night I'd have happily taken a point, but having been ahead for most of the game and it then being snatched away from you is a bitterly hard pill to swallow as we found out.

Orient Away End
 The journey to Brisbane Road was a pleasant one, well as pleasant as it could be I suppose, everyone in great spirits following the recent good results against Charlton & Swindon to name just two teams. After a quick walk around the place we entered through the turnstiles as you do, trying to communicate with the turnstile operator was a nightmare ! After eventually getting through with my mate we went straight into the seating area, only to realise that the drums and the "band" were in the other section, so back round we went, getting what seemed like a very thin programme on the way. Collecting a drink as well we got up high into the stand and yes that is over exaggerated waiting for kick off. With a nice half an hour wait watching everyone piling in, well I say piling more like the Daggers fans whilst Orient's came in dribs and drabs, a pretty poor turnout for them considering the game. After everyone was into the oldest stand in the ground the game was about to get underway with all Daggers in great voice.

Green Again !
 Mr Trevor Kettle started proceedings after the Daggers had swapped ends with Orient and it was the O's who had the first chance, Harry Kane given too much room for my liking and his shot was deflected over by a Dag & Red defender. This continued for a couple of minutes, some decent O's possession and another shot that went wide, this was however to come to a stop as the Daggers established a firm grip on the game. Danny Green went down the right hand side and whipped in a lovely ball which was just tipped away by Jamie Jones before the in form Jon Nurse could get to it. Just after the ten minute mark Orient were attacking before a superb interception, the ball rolled down the side and Doe lumped it up field, as he made connection the villain of the night Dean Cox came diving in on him with a reckless challenge, but the referee saw nothing. Then came a magnificent move by the Daggers. Just outside the O's box, Danny Green played the ball to Scannell who played it back over the top of the defence for Green to latch onto and slot a Messi like finish over and around Jamie Jones. Green went over to celebrate as the 798 Daggers were sent into raptures, dancing, singing cheering, well anything really ! After another kick off the ball was given away as Savage broke away, but his ball in was cleared with three players left in the middle. Just after the 20 minute mark as a ball was whipped into the O's box, two players went for the same ball and it fell to Arber on the edge who put his effort wayward. Orient then broke up the other end, a looping header was then touched over by Roberts, to everyones great suprise the referee didn't see it so he gave a goal kick ! Just afterwards Vincelot worked an opening in the middle, the ball was struck through to Nurse who had between the offside trap, but it was just too far ahead of him and Jamie Jones got into it.

Then came the wrath of the stewards, this did happen slightly previous to a couple of parts of the above but it's worth a mention. With all the Daggers fans in great spirit and good voice, a bunch of stewards worked their way up to have a go at some of our fans. Apparently they were not meant to be at the back, which was unjust as they were causing no harm and there was enough space. After about five minutes of arguing, several fans were forced to move to everyones dismay, in cases like these stewards create their own enemies. At least a couple of chants about the stewards came out of it !!

Tehoue had Orient's best chance
 Just after came Leyton Orient's best chance of the game. FA Cup hero Jonathan Tehoue sprung the offside trap superbly and after what seemed like a certain goal, a magnificent save by the veteran Roberts who was left with a one on one saved the Daggers. The ball was then cleared away by Scott Doe to get rid of the danger, which let the Daggers preserve the 1-0 lead, however Doe went down and after a bit of treatment was on his feet again. Then came the usual flurry of corners, Orient had several but all were cleared well, the O's were enjoying a decent spell of possession now without creating any real chances to threaten the Daggers goal. Jamie Jones was making no friends by taking an absolute age to take a goal kick, stuttering several times before actually making a connection, he could have had a role in The Kings Speech! The fourth official indicated for three minutes of added on time and after a Danny Green corner found its way onto the Orient bar and over it was basically the end of the first half, bar what should have been a penalty for handball from an Orient player, but as we know Mr Kettle works in mysterious ways so I won't delve into it, as I may go into a rant. The Daggers had produced a resilient display to retain the lead and almost build on it in the first half but could they keep it up in the second ?

Straight through half time as I can't think of much happening other than the Orient burger bar running out of almost everything. The first meaningful attack was when Dean Cox went down the left past three of four players, weaving in and our before unleashing a good shot that was tipped round the post well by Roberts between the sticks. The corner then came in and Tehoue was given a free header, but it bobbled just two or three yards wide of the post. The Daggers then went upfield from the goal kick, Gain finding a lot of space down the left, running into the box with the ball he had the opportunity to cross or to shoot. He took a fierce shot that was sliced wide of the post, one of the better chances of the game that he really should have done better with. Orient then worked well down the left with Cox who couldn't find anyone in the box and Green tracked back to make a superb tackle. From the resulting throw in, the ball went through the midfield until Romain Vincelot picked it up, a good little run was ended as he was brought down about 5 yards outside the box on the right. Danny Green placed the ball down and with his trademark run up smashed the ball wide, although I'm more inclined to think it was a cross that no one got on to. Russell Slade was now getting disgruntled and took off Charlie Daniels who was a doubt before the game and replaced him with Jason Crowe. Defender Stephen Dawson nearly scored a screamer, about 30 yards from goal, his fierce curling shot just went wide of Roberts' post, who would have struggled to stop it should it have been on target.

Cox was the villain
Slade then made another change, Jonathan Tehoue came off for the veteran Scott McGleish to come on. Nurse broke free down the right I think it was and stuck a ball into the box which was just too high for Scannell who chased it, but it just ran out of play. The Daggers then made the usual sub, Marvin Morgan replaced the excellent Bas Savage who has really shown his worth recently, whilst Orient made their third and final sub, Adam Chambers was taken off and Paul-Jose Mpoko came on to replace him. Morgan showed his enthusiasm straight away, closing down an Orient defender before the ball ran back to Jones in the goal who narrowly avoided taking it out of his own box. Then come good work winning the ball back in the midfield resulted in Nurse having space on the outside of the box, his direct shot was comfortably saved by Jones who seemed to be in constant action. Dean Cox was unleashed down the left of the pitch, Abu Ogogo slid in with a perfectly timed challenge on the winger, then as the ball went out for a throw Cox reacted absurdly. From where I was it looked like he tried to pin Ogogo down, cue everyone else getting involved. After it had all died down Mr Kettle booked Simon Cox as well as Ogogo, which was unbelievable considering he had done nothing wrong. How Simon Cox was not sent off one way or another in this game was beyond me, Mr Kettle had me at boiling point ! Well I had to fit that in somewhere. McGleish then tried to switch the play, but it didn't work and the Daggers broke away down their right. Danny Green given the ball, ran at the defence before slotting a delightful ball inbetween defender and goalkeeper. All Morgan had to do was get a decent connection on it and the game was sealed. True to form he made a dreadful cock up of it, getting the side of his boot to it so it rolled agonisingly wide of the goal. Would this miss be decisive ?

Scannell Was My Man Of
The Match

Jamie Jones booted a free kick right into the Daggers box, a header from an O's player went just wide of the mark, it was squeaky bum time now for Orient. Then Green once again broke down the right, his ball once again just lifted over the head of Scannell and out for a throw in. McGleish then had a good move down the right, after taking Doe out of the game completely a superb tackle from Romain Vincelot saved the Daggers as everyone wondered how many minutes of injury time we would have to endure. Then disaster struck. As Mpoku was running into the box Femi had him over, personally I don't think it was a penalty, but I haven't looked at replays yet. The dubious penalty was made even worse by the fact that Femi then received a red card and trudged lifelessly off the pitch, devastated. It was down to Tony Roberts, could he be the hero and save the day ? In a word answer, no. The calm penalty by McGleish went to the right as Roberts dived left, but that's luck of the draw, if Robbo goes the right way he saves it, at the end of the day it's not his fault. Phil Ifil was then brought on to cover at left back for the final 5 minutes of added time as Scannell was sacrificed. Within seconds Ifil was the villain, a short ball back to Arbs from kick off led to Arber giving away a free kick, the ball was pumped in but it came to nothing luckily. The Daggers tried to assert more pressure with Green getting a couple of long throw ins, but they were cleared. Then as the ball went back into the Daggers half, Nurse picked it up and slid a wonderful ball through to Morgan who looked like he was in, but had it taken off his toes in the last action of the game.

The referee blew his whistle and we were understandably devastated, but at the end of the day it's another point and at the start of play I definitely would have taken that. As the players came over to clap us, we continued to sing tremendously, the 798 Daggers fans had done our team proud all  the game, not laying quiet for a minute. Added to that, the team made the 798 Daggers fans proud, a magnificent performance that deserved a win, battling, gritty and determined. If we would have taken our chances then it would have been a foregone conclusion. My one disappointment was that we didn't see the new Spurs loan signing, Cameron Lancaster, but it's early days and I'm sure he'll get his chance. As for Femi, I was devastated for him, he's come back in once again and done well, just that unlucky decision at the end that would have zapped his confidence. I really thought he was picking up, but McCrory may make the place his again.

Match Ratings: Roberts 8, Doe 8, Ogogo 8, Arber 8, Femi 8, Green 9, Vincelot 8, Scannell 9, Gain 8, Nurse 8, Savage 8. Subs: Morgan 7, Ifil 5.

Tight At The Bottom

Next up is Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday with a 1pm kick off. Added to it is the scary thought of having Phil Ifil at left back, although I don't think we're quite that desperate yet, McCrory may even be back and Femi's card may be appealed.

Come On The Daggers !!!                                

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