Date:Saturday October 6 2007
6th October 2007
Well. Before the game, I was thinking about things to say when writing this report as i was expecting an average performance and a draw. But without sounding too ecstatic, we were pretty damn good today and there is plenty to write about. Orient had their chances, though I think the main emphasis of Martinez' team talk was the word "clinical". And that's exactly what we were.
The game started brightly with around 1000 of us in the stand running along the touchline, in a ground which to be quite honest, isn't magnificent. Lets call it 'quirky' instead. Both sides had chances. Orient had one through Adam Boyd whilst we probed the flanks with Anderson on the right and Butler on the left.
With only a few minutes gone, Darren Pratley picked up the ball in the centre circle and drove a crossfield pass to Butler amidst groans from some of our support who thought he'd booted it into touch. But no. Butler picked up the ball, cut inside, ran past the right back and curled an absolutely exquisite (dare I say, Trundlesque) shot into the far top right hand corner. Its definitely the best goal I've ever seen him score!... 0-1.
From that point on, the first half became a bit of a cat and mouse affair. Chances to both sides through Feeney and long distance drives from Bodde, added to the dangerous and bleach-blonde Sean Thornton efforts, made for a bit of a tactical half an hour. For some reason, about 10 minutes before half time, our support picked up with a "Robbie Martinez' Barmy Army" effort. This chant went on solidly..and I mean, uninterrupted for a good 10 minutes. The Orient support had no answer.
Now then. If we played every game for 90 minutes in the way we played for the first 20 minutes of this half, we would absolutely belt every side in this division. The game kicked off and immediately we were on the attack down the left through Butler. He was having one of those days where everything he tried came off, and all the rebounds fell at his feet.
But anyway, the ball was crossed in and as it was headed out, Pratley lurked about 7 or 8 yards outside the D of the box. As most of us expected him to bring it down and pass it sideways, unbelievably he decided to have a go, and "cor-blimey" as they say in Leyton, from all of 25 yards, Pratley lobbed Stuart Nelson who did well to even get a hand on it.. Pratley was happy (but his pretend 10-pin bowling strike celebration is dodgy! ) we were stunned and the rest of the team just piled on the midfielder who was at the bottom of a mass of blue-shirted bodies.. 0-2.
By now our tails were up and we were knocking some great passes together. It seems we are not going to play a counter-attacking style under Martinez, but a pressure and keep-ball game. Some of our support wont like or understand that, but they are the ones who abuse the likes of the solid and reliable Painter. Paul Anderson who seemed lacking in confidence during the first half was beginning to come more into the game now, pulling out wide to the touchline and opening up space for Pratley and Bodde in the middle.
Bodde, for me however, was a bit of a concern. He showed some great touches and a few good efforts on goal, including one well-saved free kick.. but he shirked a number of tackles today. Yet again Painter played the ball up to the midfield and I believe it was Pratley (again) who played a sideways ball to Thomas Butler who went outside his man and hit a speculative shot at Nelson's near post. The goalkeeper should have saved. But strangely he seemed to dive over it and Butler was off celebrating in front of us once again. 0-3.
I wish Paul Anderson would run at defenders more often. When his confidence is up and he is flying, he is a terror. He is soooooo quick. If any of you remember a goal scored by Marc Goodfellow against Kidderminster a few years ago, then our 4th on the day is a replica. Anderson picked up the ball on the right, nudged it past the left back, who by now must have been sick at the sight of the Scouser and then opened up, and I mean.. roadrunner speed!! He flew past the left back and rifled a low shot across the keeper and into the far bottom corner. In fact, I don't think it touched the floor! An absolute ping! 0-4.
After the fourth went in, the game went into a bit of a lull as we took our foot off the gas. Orient began to creep back into the game and had a few chances of their own. Notable through Thornton and Boyd. Nothing particularly dangerous. Mainly from distance. For me, Monk, Lawrence, Angel and Painter were all solid, and the jibes aimed at one or two of them were nothing short of petty and a lack of any understanding of the game.
Now Warren Feeney. Like Monk, a player who I have criticised this season. But I hold my hands up, the guy (like Monk) is firmly ramming the words back down my throat. He's been very good so far without being spectacular. He does the donkey work. He ran the channels well, some good link up play and put himself about well. His only problem being he was playing alongside Scotland who doesn't look the player I saw last time. But Feeney's goal was well taken and well deserved.
Yet again a ball down the left hand side and Feeney ran onto it, outmuscled the defender in a shoulder-to-shoulder and squeezed in the finish from a tight angle, into the far corner. He was delighted. We couldn't believe it, the Orient fans had long gone home! 0-5.
What more can be said. We were very, very good today. We need to play like that more often. An early goal and we never looked back. As for MOM, flip a coin between Butler and Feeney for me (although any of the back 4 could do to) but for me Its Butler!
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Date:Saturday October 6 2007
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|5. Man Utd||4||2||1||1||1||7|
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