Question of the Week
What should happen to the EFL Trophy next season?
Groundhog Day: Leyton Orient Report
By: Tony Butcher
A grey, mizzly-drizzly afternoon in the stadium of sighs with around 350ish Orienteers lined up in strict military order down at the Osmond end. A dead air of indifference hung over the ground; are we unhappy at being happy or simply realists? Câ€™mon, letâ€™s be positive, we havenâ€™t lost yet.
Town lined up in the 4-4-Lump-1 formation as follows: Mildenhall, McDermott, Whittle, R Jones, Newey, Francis, Bolland, Dr Kalala, Parkinson, G Jones, Reddy. The substitutes were Toner, Barwick, Ramsden, Gritton and Cohen. A dull formation for a dull day. The crowd bored before the start, doomed to see history repeating itself: hoofing for Reddy to chase; Lumpyman caught in the minefield, never exploding. The Town fans were praying the opposition werenâ€™t playing living tissue down their right. This is barely a Plan A, is it.
Dish of the Day: Alan Lambâ€™s king prawn melette, which is fine as long as you have some vegetables; thatâ€™s one way of describing fringe first team players, I suppose. Or even first team players with a fringe. It sounds like a Foo Yung to me, or did I mishear the description of the Morecambe game?
Hey look, theyâ€™ve got Keith Alexander playing upfront for them. Ah, sorry, thatâ€™s Keith and Alexander, so no inverse curse of the ex there then. And finally we get to see the Zucchini play, though whether heâ€™s fried, roasted, toasted or boiled only Reddy can decide. They played in red. Ah the laddies in red, looking for a little dominance, given half the chance.
Itâ€™s the big game in the division, what a fabtastic atmosphere. Stop dropping those pins. Has it started yet?
Town kicked off with the usual tap back to Newey and welly upfield and zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Letâ€™s dream about the land of chocolate. I donâ€™t know why we bother with first halfs.
After five minutes Orient crossed, Mildenhall punched and there was a Benny Hill chase inside the area as Ibehre turned, twenty yards out, and drivelled a low shot towards the right-hand post. Mildenhallâ€™s view was blocked by bathing beauties, the ball swerved and scuttled a foot wide. They looked quite good: two wingers winging and two strikers working together to manoeuvre the tall ships out of port. Their midfield swept up every loose pass, closed down Town players and did strange things like pass the ball. It was just a replay of all the games so far this season: we spent the first half watching the opposition.
Heard it all before? Itâ€™s getting a bit samey isnâ€™t it, but I canâ€™t help whatâ€™s going off out there.
And here they go again, Tudor flashing past Newey, crossing to far post and McDermott forcing Keith to steer a header wide from the edge of the six yard box. Ah, wingers: we used to have them you know. Donâ€™t blink or youâ€™ll miss it. Fortunately, Ibehre and Alexander did, for a cross that tribbled through the middle of the area managed to avoid contact with the human race.
Have Town attacked yet? What do you mean "attack?" Is kicking the ball a long way attacking? We donâ€™t create, we pressurise. Yeah, but who uses pressure cookers these days? Thatâ€™s so 1977. Wahey, a free kick to Town midway inside their half. Whittle and Jones trundled forward and Newey carefully caressed the ball onto a defenderâ€™s head, nowhere near any Town player. Francis finished packing his suitcase and dinked a little volley into the vacant area between goalkeeper and defence. Garner half came out as Reddy lurked, then did a star jump, with the ball bouncing off his chest and out into the mists of time. Reddy and Whittle barged about trying to get to the ball, but failed. A momentary moment, nearly near, hopefully hopeless.
Itâ€™s all a great big blancmange of gooey mankiness: what happened when, who did what? What is memory anyway? Did Dr Freud renew his season ticket, or did he only come to the Wycombe game to get a voucher for Wednesday. Typical. Town had a shot, and a tickertape parade was organised to commemorate this momentous occasion. The man with three names flapped a fizzer low to the left of goal, the ball hitting the "m" in the Ramsdenâ€™s sign.
Handball! Nah, forget about it. Orient broke from their left to right, Tudor dreaming past three, cutting back infield and drifting a shot a foot wide of Mildenhallâ€™s right-hand post. How did that happen? Simple: he moved, his mates moved, Town were all over the shop. Ibehre and Alexander kept running out to the wings, drawing Jones the Stick and Whittle away from the centre and leaving a huge space into which their midfielders ran. When they didnâ€™t, it just meant Orient had two players against our full backs. Interesting.
Newey spent several days preparing to lever a free kick into the back of the Osmond Stand. On that basis he succeeded. Awful. Reddy fell over a defenderâ€™s foot and... thatâ€™s so boring I canâ€™t bring myself to finish the senten...
If Hell is a city much like London, what is Sladeâ€™s Grimsby?
Parkinson had a shot; if the keeper waits long enough the ball will arrive, possibly after bird flu has mutated into humans. Now thatâ€™s an interesting concept. Thatâ€™s not a Scunthorpe fan, thatâ€™s H5N1. Of course my mind is wandering, random thoughts tumbling out with as much sense as Townâ€™s tactics. Jones the Stick headed over, or wide, from a free kick on the left, or right. As young people like to say "whatever".
They attacked again, crossing, shooting, that sort of thing. Town could not cope with any of their front four really; Ibehre and Alexander especially kept leading our Alices up the garden path. Newey threatened by shadows on their right, exposed in the floodlights, Tudor skipped away and crossed deep and low into the Town area, a bit like Barry White. McDermott managed to block Keithâ€™s volley at the far post but the ball squirmed across the six yard box. Whittle watched, Ibehre pounced and spun a shot a yard wide of the left-hand post as Jones the Stick and Bolland slithered towards Jabo the Hutt. Whittle received some advice from the Stickman.
I canâ€™t lie to you about Townâ€™s chances, do we have your sympathy?
Town got a free kick on the right for something or other; Newey banged the ball in and it was headed out straight to Kalalalalala-whatâ€™s-his-name, who lampooned the ball towards the bottom left-hand corner. The ball flicked off a defenderâ€™s ankles and ballooned away for a corner. In context, that was tremendously exciting. Someone stood up and made a noise.
A few minutes later Francis tried to seduce the local ladies one more time before his holiday ended and cha-cha-chaâ€™d along the edge of the area, wiggling his hips and a-shakinâ€™ his lips, rubbing a lovely pass inside the defenders. Parkinson surged in from the left and Garner raced off his line. They both sneezed and fell down, the ball rebounding back out towards the corner of the area. Francis tapped the ball past a defender and was bumped away by a red backside. He fell a little too obviously and no penalty was given.
You already know far too much about this disease-riddled rabbitâ€™s carcass of a half; letâ€™s skip Horace the cheese-board and go straight for coffee and mints. Iâ€™m sorry, we only do decaffeinated coffee, sugarless sugar, and dehydrated water. As the half ended Town had a sort of attack but Orient whelked it clear down their right. The ball seemed to drift out, then back in again, but it kept rolling, rolling until Ibehre had a raw hide when Jones the Stick swiped the ball out for a throw in under the Police Box. The Main Stand moaned and groaned as the Leyton buzzers chucked it back in. Parkinson and Newey were not paying attention, perhaps discussing whether to have curry sauce or watered down vinegar on their chips, and Orient were allowed to set up a crossing opportunity. In the ball came, flat towards the penalty spot. We watched the Town players watching the Orient players watching EASTON trot in and thump a header low across Mildenhall and in to the bottom left-hand corner. Francis was the nearest Town player to Easton, but he was just the last man standing in a short line of cosmic indifference. It was the very least Orient deserved.
A couple of minutes later those remaining awake were given the chance to resume an old favourite: the half time boo-boo-boo. They couldnâ€™t be bothered to do that much either. The booing was rubbish, and symptomatic of a lack of ambition in the boo boys. Perhaps if we had a new shiny stadium, hopefully down wind of a sewage farm and a fishmeal factory, the standard of booing would be higher. Thatâ€™s what ambition is.
Yeah, it was over, same old, same old, blah-blah-blah. Top of the league and were having a bath. Analysis not required, you know the drill by now. How long will Jones the Lump last this time?
Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk
"There are fifteen more of these left this year?"
The report continues in the Second Half.
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