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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Leyton Orient home: Oct 21st 2008

Match Track

The Happy Chocker, Monkey Hanger and Jason accompany me on a cold and ultimately wet night to the West Yorkshire cathedral of football that is ER for the encounter with Orient. 
 After last years fright where we escaped with a point, despite Orient having a shot that was a good yard over the line disallowed, I was more than a little nervous especially after the Millwall performance.  That nervousness was somewhat dispelled in the car on the way to the match as we talked around all the issues, team selection, Orient's poor run, Telfer's return, Macca's bollocking of the team, can't play as bad as Saturday and before long I was confidently laying a bet on a Leeds triumph by 4.1 with Beckford netting first.............ever the optimist!
After a pre match pint in the Kop bar we took our seats with a not surprisingly low crowd of nearly 19000 diehards on a filthy West Yorkshire evening.
Macca had brought in Telfer as expected together with Parker at left back in place of young White and the Pieman was at least on the bench.  
Leeds opened as they were to continue all evening with a neat pretty passing game which at times had Orient chasing shadows.  Leeds certainly took the game to The O's and were rewarded for their enterprise when they were awarded a penalty after a handball in the box.  Mr Beckford stepped up to dispatch the ball into the net and earn me a tenner..............I mean how difficult can it be to hit the goal from the penalty spot?  Well the answer was very as Jermaine ballooned the ball into row Z of the South Stand , ala Beckham, after slipping on his run up.  This was not the last time our star striker was to resemble Charlie Chaplin as he tried to keep his feet on a greasy Elland Road pitch.  He needs to get some proper boots with proper studs in, not the fancy multi coloured slippers that are the boots of choice of many of today's stars (sorry reverted to a grumpy old man for a minute)  The only problem with Leeds' preference for a patient passing game is when they lose the ball they become stretched and expose the fragile back four............and sure enough after a couple of early scares Orient took the lead after Parker had lost possession 30 yards out from goal.  The rumbles of discontent within ER were audible and the clammer for a more "up and at em" approach from most fans was understandable. Fortunately we didn't have to wait that long before we were not only level but 2.1 up after Becchio forced an own goal and then finished off a class move and a pin point cross from Mr Beckford by thundering a header into the net.  The team trouped off at HT with the crowd much relieved and anticipating more goals in the second half.  News that most of the teams around us in the league, except Millwall, were struggling boosted the mood as we prepared for the next 45 minutes.
The 2nd half was a frustrating period as Leeds battered Orient and failed to take advantage of numerous chances, Becks hit the post and bar and produced a world class save from the Orient keeper as he failed to convert any of 10 chances a hard working midfield offered up.  So inevitably we entered the last 10 minutes with nerves getting ever more shredded and when Lucas was called into action to maintain our 1 goal advantage I feared they were going to extract revenge for last years "no goal" by snatching an undeserved draw.  Belatedly Robbo was introduced to rapturous applause and in the short time on the pitch created a chance for Prutton to finish them off but another fine save denied him.  The final whistle was met with a sigh of relief and the knowledge that 3 valuable points were in the bag.  MOM was Becchio for his tireless running and holding up coupled with his ice cool finishing, Deplh was the pick of midfield and Telfer brought some order to the back four.  Beckford looked dangerous all evening but still has to discover that coolness in front of goal to fulfill his massive potential.
So we spilled out into the wet West York's night safe in the knowledge that the win had solidified our position in the top four with only Millwall managing to match our three points for their nights work.  Concerns still exist regarding the defence but if we sort that out and Beckford buys some anti slip boots we will can still claim one of the automatic promotion spots.............still a long way to go though and I suspect a few more grey hairs before the end of the season.
Wallsall at home on Saturday.  I just hope that Macca has shooting practice on the agenda at Thorp Arch for the rest of the week.

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