LOFC - Day of the Game - Yeovil Town
Its been an odd day. We're now a point better off than we were at the start of the day but the manner in which we played, especially the second half, was somewhat infuriating. Yet again, we threw points away from a winning lead, this time it was Yeovil's turn to prosper from our capitulation.
The topic of conversation since the Sheffield United defeat and before today's game was hardly about the Orient but actually Wycombe Wanderers. I've read on the Internet all week about how Wycombe's run in is 'harder' than ours and how we'll be safe because of that. What many failed to factor into their opinions was that Football is a funny game and is played on a green field and not on paper. Orient should never have beaten Norwich City in League One in 2010 and nor should we have held Arsenal in February of last year so writing off Wycombe seemed false to me. What also didn't make sense was how people seemed to think Orient would suddenly start winning games, something we've failed to do on a regular basis all season.
It was easy; we win, Wycombe lose to Charlton and we're all but safe for another year. It seemed as if the Orient players got that memo as they dominated the early stages of the game. Twenty-three minutes had elapsed when some nice football from the Orient midfield saw Dean Cox place an exquisite delivery on the unmarked head of Kevin Lisbie. 1-0 ORIENT.
Half time approached and it was all going so well. Orient were winning 1-0 and Wycombe were drawing 1-1 with Charlton. he gap between ourselves and Wycombe was five points. I have to say that at half time I wasn't convinced with the outcome of the game, I felt that we were still pretty likely to concede so another goal or two was what we needed.
Whatever was said at the break by Russell Slade turned out to be a load of rubbish. If his post match interviews are as good as his team talks its no wonder we're in a mess. From the whistle, Yeovil were the better side and began to press with more presence.
Totally against the run of play, Jamal Campbell-Ryce tore up the left side and placed a high, hanging cross into the Yeovil box where Kevin Lisbie was waiting to prod home. 2-0 ORIENT.
As I mentioned, I believed we needed a second goal and now we had it, I felt we were safe no matter how poor we've been all season. How wrong I could be!
Yeovil made a substitution, Kieran Agard came on for Lawson D'Ath and that for me was a game changing moment. At this point, Yeovil recognised that at 2-0 down they really had to chase the game and threw on an attacking player. At this point, Russell Slade was lapping up the adulation of the home crowd and waving his bald head around like it was the Olympic torch. At this point, Slade should have been making decisions and subs, if needed, to make sure we saw out the game 2-0 up and left his celebrations till the final whistle.
Five minutes after the substitution of Agard, Yeovil scored. The dangerous Andrew Williams turned a ball in from close range. 2-1 ORIENT. Yeovil continued putting pressure on the Orient defence and we had just four minutes to hold out, thanks to the fourth official.
The 90th minute approached and it was time for that oversized head of Slade's to make yet more bizarre decisions. The time was right to make two attacking substitutions. Yes, you've read that right, ATTACKING substitutions. With a home record that is one of the worst in League One and a record worse than that of the disastrous 94/95 season under John Sitton, any normal manager would throw on a defensive player rather than a striker. But this is Russell Slade, he does the bizarre but its brushed under the carpet because he has a big, shiny bald head.
Deep into injury time a corner was hit into the Orient box, only as far as Williams who knocked a ball back into the danger area for Jonathan Obika to slot home as the Orient back four stood around clueless. 2-0 AND WE EFF'ED IT RIGHT UP. Slade reacted by thrashing a foot at a water bottle and the whistle blew soon after as the clueless no hopers in red trudged off without any recognition towards the crowd.
Sitting in the Tommy Johnston Stand, I didn't see much of the back four in the first half but in the second half our defending was comparable to under 7's football. Terrell Forbes was shaky and seemed to struggle with his distribution, Leon McSweeney made an appearance that would get laughed at in the Ryman League, Syam Ben Youssef looked to struggle communicating and Ben Chorley was his usual erratic self.
No wins in the first eleven games and three wins from sixteen as we stand, thats three wins in twenty-seven games. That's well over half a season and three wins is a disgraceful return yet there is very few 'Slade Out' chants around. I doubt highly that Paul Brush or Geraint Williams ever recieved as much support from a record similar to Slade's yet we'll brush this season under the carpet because its Slade and after all 'we don't care'.
However, after that negativity we now sit five points from safety with two games left so it hasn't exactly been a bad afternoon, the bad afternoon was the manner in which we capitulated yet again.