Date: 6th March 2012 at 4:06pm
Written by:

Welcome to the newest feature of VitalOrient, Day of the Game. This will basically take you through an insight into a normal Saturday (or Tuesday) as I follow Orient across the country. Hopefully, this feature will be a success and you’ll all enjoy. As usual, any feedback is more than welcome through an e-mail. So, here we go…

As I woke up, hangover free, on Saturday morning there wasn’t quite the same buzz about watching Orient as usual. This was due to our opposition. With no disrespect meant towards the Walsall club but games involving Orient and Walsall have always been drab affairs and I was expecting another one today.

As the afternoon drew closer and the bacon sat cooking on the grill, the excitement and buzz that was missing in the morning grew. This would be the first time that Dean Smith returned to Brisbane Road with Adam Chambers possibly making a return also, although he remained a doubt through injury. Its always nice to welcome back people like Deano and Adam to Orient as both gave their all in an Orient shirt and have both been involved in games that will live long in the memory.

As I boarded the Central Line towards the Footballing Mecca that is Brisbane Road, I had this feeling that this would live up to last seasons boring 0-0 draw between the two sides. After getting off at Leyton and walking into the Tommy Johnston Stand via trips to the new ATM machines at Leyton Mills Asda and chucking money away betting on Football at Ladbrokes, the talk turned to the game.

As Liverpool where seemingly battering Arsenal and the £2 pints of Fosters in the TJS Bar where flowing, the talk was largely about Jamie Cureton, Calvin Andrew and finally the outcome of the game. It seemed as if Cureton had a lot of people who felt he didn’t get the chances he possibly deserved, Calvin Andrew couldn’t hit a cow’s ‘arris with a banjo and that we had to win to stop this terrible home form.

The game kicked off without even the slightest mention of Deano’s return from the woeful PA man at The O’s, something many wanted.

Orient lined up with loanee Marek Stech in goal, a back four of Terrell Forbes, Scott Cuthbert, Ben Chorley and Ryan Dickson, a midfield of Matt Spring, Jimmy Smith, Dean Leacock and Dean Cox, with Jonathan Téhoué and Kevin Lisbie up front. Seven minutes in and the side was reshuffled due to Dickson picking up an injury to his thigh. Soloman Taiwo replaced the Southampton loanee and Terrell Forbes moved to left back with Dean Leacock dropping to right back.

Orient had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Andy D’Urso when Lisbie was wrestled to the floor by an opposition defender but from the TJS it seemed that Lisbie was on the floor again, a place he’s spent a lot of time this season.

Orient then scored the opening goal of the game, much against the run of play. A ball headed on by Jonathan Téhoué was chased down by Lisbie who then got himself involved in some comedy defending with the dreadful Walsall keeper and a defender, leaving Dean Cox to slot into an empty net. You’d think that taking the lead, albeit against the run of play, against a side with just two away wins to their name, that Orient were on course for their first win on home soil in 2012.

Three minutes after the Cox goal come a talking point that’s still being discussed. A ball was played across the Walsall midfield towards Florent Cuvelier, Taiwo raced in and made a tackle on the Saddlers man, the ball flying in one direction and the player in another. Andy D’Urso’s whistle blew and seven Orient players raced to the defence of Taiwo. From where I was in the TJS, it looked a rough tackle and I thought straight away that Taiwo was heading for an early bath and I was correct, D’Urso sent him off. Since then, people have been posting pictures on Twitter showing Taiwo only having one foot off the floor but that doesn’t show the excessive force behind the tackle. Tackling with excessive force is what is in the Laws of the Game, not tackling with two feet off the floor.

The break came and the general consesus below the TJS was that we needed a second goal. We’d have to look for that second goal with only one man up front as Téhoué was sacrificed from the field in place of midfielder Marc Laird.

Calvin Andrew entered the fold after the hour mark and quickly lived up to his expectation of ‘not being a finisher’ by having a shot that ended up nearer to the corner flag than it did to troubling the visitors.

Walsall were dominating the game, albeit a game between to very poor sides. The waives of Walsall possession were broke up by Orient counter attacks and Calvin Andrew and Jimmy Smith had two guilt edged opportunities to kill the game off. Andrew’s terrible header went well wide despite it being a free header and Smith firing a one-on-one shot straight at Grof in the Walsall goal, left us vulnerable. I just had that feeling that the worst was to come and Orient’s wait for a home win in 2012 would stretch a bit further.

Marek Stech was called into action and forced to make an outstanding save from Richard Taundry, with Stech tipping the fierce shot over the bar. At that point, my head sunk into my hands. I then watched through gritted teeth as Walsall’s keeper headed up to attack the Walsall corner, the ball was floated across the Orient box, Stech flapped at it, fell flat on his face and Olly Lancashire rose highest and headed home Walsall’s deserving equaliser.

I then retreated to the TJS where people were walking in lamenting Orient’s luck, spitting feathers and shouting obscenties regarding D’Urso. For many it felt like a lose but Walsall were deserving of the equaliser against 10 man Orient.

Marc Laird, Matt Spring and Scott Cuthbert were stand out performers for me in an Orient side that had resorted to the a terrible long ball style of football, akin to the style played under Geraint Williams.

Saturday night was totally ruined as well. I had no motivation to watch tele or go out boozing, so after moping around and not really doing anything, I went to sleep mulling over a third consecutive terrible performance.