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Sunday, 14 February 2010

Orient v Leeds Utd Feb 13th 2010

As we pulled out of York station en route to the big smoke and our clash with mighty Leyton Orient it seemed somehow fitting that we passed the resplendent Orient Express train all decked out waiting to whisk romantic passengers to Scarborough for Valentines Day. The Happy Chocker, Quiet One and me had much more serious things to worry about though. Would Beckford and Kissy be fit enough to play? Should I eat the pasty or the sausage roll first? and just what is the best tube route from Kings X to Leyton? All part of the rich tapestry of a typical away day.

On the train we were sat next to a very mature Spurs fan, dressed a bit more conventionally than last week's specimen, who regaled us in memories of Gilzean, Mackay, Mullery and Cup finals in the 60's. The Quiet One looked puzzled!

The iPhone tube app took us on a secret route to Brisbane Road as we didn't see any other footie fans until we'd exited Leyton Midland Road station and had walked for a good 15 minutes. The Coach & Horses on Leyton High Road is a welcoming old fashioned pub that inevitably was full of thirsty Leeds fans when we entered. Mayor elect Nelly and his Knottingley companions were good company as we discussed the forthcoming match and all things football. Didn't realise how much Scotty could talk without drawing breath though. I'm sure if he contacted the Guinness book of records he'd get himself in!

LUTV buttonholed me outside the ground for my thoughts on the game and after confidently predicting a 2.0 win and having a dig at the naivety of the Carlisle police chief we took our places in the neat compact ground.

No Becks or Kissy on the pitch warming up. Bollox, but at least Bradders and Killa were starting in mid field. In the stand behind me was Simon Rix from the Kaiser Chiefs was singing along with a lusty rendition of MOT. Wonder if that will be on his next album?
Leeds set off where they left off at Carlisle piling early pressure on the confident hosts. McSheffrey nearly opened his Leeds account with a clever lob that had the home goalie scrambling backwards. Not that they needed encouragement the Leeds fans responded by raising the decibel level a notch. We certainly did "all love Leeds".

The return of Killa and the energy of Bradders were evident in lots of Leeds' early play as we dominated the opening 20 minutes. Snoddy was toying with the right back as time and again he left him trailing in his wake. McSheffrey was switching play effectively and Orient were definitely on the back foot and clutching at straws. Jones in the home goal tipped over a McSheffrey header after more good build up play by Leeds. Even Bromby got himself forward and nearly got the opener. This was fantastic.....................all we need is a goal I suggested to the Happy Chocker. Hang on a minute didn't I say that last week at Hartlepool? Orient were defending doggedly but how they got to half time all level will remain one of the mysteries of Football............but they did.

The Gents at half time is always a good place to hear a consensus of views on the games so far and today was no different. Maybe LUTV should bring their camera in and get some earthy views on the match? Men are renowned for using only the bare minimum of words, excluding Scotty, so the simple view was "We've battered them but we need a goal" Summed it up nicely.
Leeds continued to attack at will as the 2nd half started. Soon it was Nayls who went close with a stunning left foot volley. Surely we must get one especially with Norwich one down at Brighton?

As the game progressed though the Leeds fans got more nervy at the lack of true cutting edge to covert their undoubted superiority into goals. Beckford was definitely being missed...........not that he misses lots of chances? Orient had brought on Tehoue up front and he began to cause ripples of concern in the Leeds defence with his muscular style of play. Casper at last had a save to make whilst at the other end good approach play fizzled out time and again. Mad Max was playing alongside Becchio and as ever was causing the home defence nightmares but too many times he took just one jink too many or chose the wrong option. He even swapped his garish boots for the 2nd half but to no avail.

Then just when my nerves were taught as a drum Orient scored. A cross swung deep into the Leeds box found the centre half un marked and he looped a perfect header past Casper and into the net. The sell out home crowd exploded at their unexpected lead. The vast away following were stunned into silence.

Leeds were desperate now but with only 5 minutes left time was against them. Grella, Howson and White had all joined the fray for the final assault, possibly a tad too late? Leeds are nothing if not persistent and as the game entered added time they continued to batter the Orient goal. Norwich had scored twice in 5 minutes to take the lead at Brighton. The sick feeling of defeat was washing over me when with one final push we grasped a vital point at the death courtesy of an own goal. Irony or what? Becchio celebrated as if he had scored, which he would have done if Daniels hadn't turned it in.

So relief engulfed the away fans as they streamed away from what had been a cracking game of football played in good spirit. I was definitely on the page of two points dropped and not one saved though and my black mood continued all the way back to O'Neills for the post match pint. The positives were clearly the way Leeds had dominated the game with slick passing football. The negatives are our inability to kill teams off when they are on their knees. Lord Grayson needs to find a remedy for this before it impacts our lofty league position. We can't simply rely on Mr Beckfords goals to win all our games...........we need more goals from elsewhere and quickly.

A group of hard core Chelsea and Millwall fans on the train back to Selby tried to cement the notorious reputation of football hooligans in the opinion of the general public with good effect. Knobheads!

So 3 games on the bounce at home and then a trip to the Puppy Dogs. Beware turbulence ahead!
Can't wait.

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