Day of the Game - Barnet (h)
The opportunity to see Orient's fringe players in action against the worst side in the Football League in the illustrious Johnstone's Paint Trophy, what a way to spend a Tuesday night. Orient took on Barnet, bottom of League Two, in the Second Round of the 'paint pot' with a place in the Quarter Finals at stake.
I swore that I would never punish myself enough to see another JPT game after last year's Dagenham debacle. A crap 90 minutes followed by some horrendous penalties and copious amounts of standing around waiting for someone to miss a penalty. However, the thought of sitting in whilst my sister watched hours of mind numbing soaps was too much and so, I embarked on our 2012/13 JPT campaign.
Having worked half day on Tuesday, I headed home and after boredom set in, I decided I'd take a look around our potential new home, Stratford. Well, the Stratford City Westfield, to be precise. After an hour or so of wondering around aimlessly I noticed something interesting in a sports shop. It was their choice of Football shirts. I saw one London sides shirt, Arsenal. With West Ham vying to move into a stadium a few hundred feet from this shopping complex, it was intereesting to see no claret and blue. The shop did, however, have a number of shirts such as Lille, Athletic Bilboa and the Ukranian national side. I don't think it was any coincidence either. Like any business, I'm sure supply and demand came into mind and it seems that there was more demand for a Lille shirt than that of the local Premier League side.
Away from politics, I hopped back onto the Tube, got off at Leyton and made a pit stop at Ladbrokes. With Barnet being bottom of the Football League and me thinking we had enough players who would be strong enough to see off the Bees, £2 went on a 2-0 Orient win at 11/2. Hardly a return that would effect my life but something to make the JPT a bit more interesting.
Upon arriving at the Supporters Club I learnt that Orient made five changes from the side that were beaten by Sheffield United. Ben Chorley missed out through suspension and Kevin Lisbie picked up a hamstring injury in that defeat. In came Moses Odubajo, Mathieu Baudry, Lloyd James, Michael Symes and David Mooney. I was slightly concerned by our forward line of Symes and Mooney. Neither possess any form of pace and with Symes in the side to win headers, I didn't see how Mooney provided anything to the starting XI. I was also a bit miffed that Russell Slade had returned to his 'square pegs, round holes' philosophy as Odubajo started at right back and Jimmy Smith at right wing whilst the obvious choice for right back, Lloyd James, played in the centre of midfield.
The first twenty minutes were an even contest with both sides having a fair share of the ball but Odubajo scored what turned out to be the winning goal five minutes later. A low cross from the left by Dean Cox evaded the strikers in front of goal and fell to Moses at the far post who fired across Graham Stack in the Barnet goal.
From that period on, Orient were just going through the motions and the game fizzled out somewhat. Credit does have to go to Ricky Holmes of Barnet, who looked head and shoulders above his teammates and gave Moses a tough game at right back. The second half was much of the same for the Orient fringe players as they were in total control and could have extended their lead with better finishing.
Symes was getting a lot of stick from three men behind me throughout the game. These three men were men that wouldn't look out of place on a Dagenham market stall with their flat caps and thick comments as they slated Symes for almost anything they could. The trio answered almost everything with 'yeah, yeah, yeah' in response to almost every question. One of the best comments was 'you dog, you win flick ons to no one'. That made me chuckle. With Symes actually winning high balls, surely their abuse should have been aimed at the useless David Mooney. If the ball doesn't go to Mooney's feet he won't get there, he's possibly the slowest man in football and also the most one dimensional to boot.
The introduction of Leon McSweeney after the hour mark saw danger. He's a man who I think is out of his depth within League Football as it is so surely he couldn't be that bad against a woeful Barnet side? He was. Countless amounts of passes from him or James were misplaced and allowed Barnet to put some pressure onto Orient but Ryan Allsop stood up to the pressure and stopped everything thrown at him.
The last couple of minutes were probably the most exciting of the night when Barnet threw their keeper up to attack a corner. Stack charged towards the box and Orient's keeper Allsop claimed the ball. The Brummie unleashed a long kick and in the excitement of it all, there was a collision between sub Affy Obafemi and a Barnet defender. It was clear that Obafemi would have beaten his marker for pace but the pair clashed and Obafemi was left clutching himself on the floor. I have no idea what happened as I was watching the ball rather than those off of it but only a yellow card was produced for the visiting defender.
A clean sheet, a win, one step closer to Wembley and another impressive display from the exciting Moses Odubajo. The game was not a classic but you got the impression that, if needed, Orient could have gone up a gear or two and won more comfortably.
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