Date: 30th September 2013 at 1:32am
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In his latest blog exclusively for OrientVital, Charlie Long reflects on Orient’s terrific opening to the new campaign.

For the first time this season, Orient failed to win a league game. How dare they?!

Orient went into Saturday`s match with 8 wins from 8 and as the only team in England with a 100% record, coming up against Dean Smith`s Walsall side.

From the first whistle, the match looked to be a close affair with both teams cancelling each other out, but then suddenly burst in to life on the 17th minute when the visitors captain Andy Butler received his marching orders for a heavy challenge on Vincelot.

The ball was then in Orients court. A man up and in such good form, many would have expected the hosts to take the game to Walsall and win the game comfortably. However, the game wasn`t to pan out that way. With 38 minutes on the clock, David Mooney stepped up to continue his rich vein of form and grab his 9th goal of the season, pouncing on a loose ball just inside the box after the Walsall keeper failed to claim the ball under the challenge of Lisbie. 1-0 Orient at half time.

After half time, Orient looked to push on for that vital second goal but struggled to recreate the fluid passing that has punished many teams this season. The ball was given away very easily on several occasions and Walsall never appeared to be stretched due to Orients midfield staying narrow for much of the second half. Although Orient were not at their best, you can take nothing away from the performances of the Walsall defence and goalkeeper. The defence frustrated Orients free-scoring attacking line by limiting clear chances, and when Orient did get past the defence, they were to be denied by the visitor`s goalkeeper, Richard O`Donnell, who pulled off several fine saves.

As the game got deeper in to the second half, only having a one goal lead became less and less comfortable and on the 71st minute the Walsall equaliser came through Craig Westcarr, who nodded in from close range. Orient brought on Shaun Batt in the hope that the striker could continue his super-sub form after scoring in each of the last 2 matches when coming off the bench. Baudry came closest to grabbing the elusive winner, but was to only see his header pushed on to the bar by O`Donnell.

Frustration started to show amongst the team and in the last few minutes it was Vincelot who received his marching orders for a second yellow card after a challenge on Craig Westcarr. Walsall stood firm and held on to the draw showing the resilience that has seen Dean Smith`s side only lose 5 matches in this calendar year.

At the final whistle it was frustrating not to carry on the winning run but on the flip side Orient still sit top of the league by 3 points and are yet to taste defeat. Happy days!

So on to the next one, Oldham away. Orient will go in to this match looking to get back to winning ways but will be without the influential Romain Vincelot whilst he serves his suspension which could see Marvin Bartley deputise in the centre of the midfield in place of the Frenchman.

And finally, as the Orient players spoke of their disappointment to see the winning run come to an end, Barry Hearn made a valid point.

“If you had offered me 25 points from our first 9 games, I would have bitten your arms off!”

Mr Hearn, I couldn`t agree more.

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