The Streets of London

Match report by ALAN ESSEX at the Matchroom Stadium (Brisbane Road)

Leyton Orient 0 Pools 2 (League 2) Monday March 28th 2016

Well in this part of London the streets are certainly not paved with gold. Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of Leyton, I'll show you something to make you change your mind. 

An anagram of Leyton Orient is ‘Ronney Toilet’ certainly quite apt as the streets are paved with toilets, sanitary ware, plumbing & building supplies and bedding – all the overspill from the local shops. A sad, shabby area on the fringes of the prosperous Docklands. An area that largely provides the cheap work force that services the wealthier a stones throw away.

Back street car sales and repairers that have been there for as long as I can remember Nestle (it’s Easter, I said I’d mention as many chocolate manufacturers as I could) amongst domestic dwellings and fast food outlets. A few years ago property prices rose on the back of the 2012 London Olympics. The street-long terraces were renovated and hopes for a sustained improvement were raised on the back of politicians' idle promises. The politicians have moved on and the money has dried up. It’s reverted back to its former state.
"Without doubt the best I’ve seen Pools play for many a year"

For all of this I still love the area as I used to live quite near for a long time and spent a lot of time in Leyton itself. It’s an honest area with no pretensions of being something it isn’t. I’ve always found this reflected in the club's supporters who go along in hope rather than expectation. Rather like many of us Pools supporters.

As a lot of you will know, Leyton Orient occupy the geographical footballing area dominated by those premiership giants West Ham, Tottenham and Arsenal with their Galaxy (there’s another one) of multi million pound players receiving astronomical wages. Until recently Kevin Nolan would have been one of them, having played in the top flight with Bolton Wanderers (yes, seems like a long time ago since they were top flight), Newcastle and West Ham. Sam Allardyce must have been a fan as he managed him at all 3 clubs. Well now Nolan is the player manager at the Orient, their 5th manager since 2014. His record going into today’s game was good having played 12, won 7, drawn 1 and lost 4. They were 8th in the table, one place outside of the play offs. Of course Hartlepool had also had a good spell and put some space between the bottom two and themselves.

The game started with Orient pressing but not looking dangerous. I was impressed by our back 4 and their ability to play the ball out of danger, rather than long hopeful clearances. The midfield too played their part in playing some great passing movements turning defence into attack. However in the first half Pools didn’t trouble Alex Cisak the Orient keeper. To be fair both teams were playing attractive football and neither side committed any notable fouls with the referee (Frederick Graham) having a good game.

Pools built pressure and at one stage had 3 successive corners, all troubling the Orient defence but with no goal as a reward. Towards the end of the half Thomas took an inch perfect free kick from the left to Paynter who headed in, only to be ruled offside. No one complained and it was the right decision. During the half time break there was a big roar from the Pools supporters at the news York (wonderful chocolate Easter eggs they make) were 3 down. Surely it would be Kinder (funny plastic tasting chocolate eggs with even more plastic inside) just to relegate them now?

Orient started the second half brightly but it was Pools turning defence into attack that led to the first goal. Featherstone found James who beat his man and passed to Carroll who ran the left wing sending in a low cross for Paynter to score. This was 4 minutes into the new half. Pools now piled on more pressure and looked good for a second. This came when Hawkins fed a ball to Thomas on the right wing, he beat his marker and sent a shot into the net, easily beating Cisak at an angle.

Woods, on as a substitute for Hawkins, who had taken a slight knock, nearly got a third with a good solo break, but was denied by the keeper diving at his feet. A couple of truly excellent saves by Carson kept out late Orient efforts and led to another clean sheet for the defence.

Without doubt the best I’ve seen Pools play for many a year – I don’t think I’ve ever seen the defence play their way out of trouble like they did today. Every player played their part well and none could be faulted. Orient played their part and were not an overly physical side, also trying to play with style, not like the days when they had ex-Sunderland player Sean Thornton (more chocolates!) in their side. A massive well done to Craig Hignett and Curtis Fleming who have turned the team around with the same players and got them playing attractive football with a sound defence.

I suppose it’s the butterfly effect but if Ellis Harrison had not been injured at Cambridge and had been a moderate success, which he looked to be capable of, Ronnie Moore may have had a few more victories and still be at the club. It just shows how fragile and interconnected everything is. What a pleasant change to report on a good result and performance. Let’s have some more.

Oh, and an apology to Cadbury’s I just couldn’t think how I could get you into this report. Well, I’m off for a Gluten free, dairy free, additive free, vegan, sugarless Easter egg.