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Just a Delusion
By: Andrew Doherty
IN spite of Saturday's dismal performance at Harrogate, I was quietly confident about tonight. I realise this is tantamount to signing my own Certificate of Insanity.
It's very easy to be delusional and find reasons why fortunes should change, but my thinking was along the lines of: we won our last home game, Leyton Orient have been on a poor run and from what I know play an open style like Crawley. They also play in red like Crawley. It's clutching at straws but 4 of our 6 league victories this season have come against teams who wear red, including an away win at Orient. I do think we have players who are capable of stringing together passes and creating chances but although the potential may be there we haven't yet seen this in terms of dominating and winning games.
Today's team was the same as for last week's home victory against Crawley: Eastwood - Hewitt, Waterfall, Menayese, Bunney - Morais, Rose, Matete, Adams - El Mizhouni - Payne.
Both sides were busy through the first half, but Town struggled to create anything. Rose and Matete were guilty of being dispossessed early on but the shot from the Orient player was weak. Orient attacked on 15 minutes and blocks from Menayese and Matete saved the day. Town looked to build something but although El Mizhouni found space, and Morais cut inside before delivering a weak shot, Town as a unit were guilty of poor interplay and control. Orient looked more dangerous going forward. On 17 minutes Bonney conceded a free kick 25 yards out. This led to a succession of Orient corners. The third one was planned and played short, and Kemp was clear to cross. His left-footed cross was perfect and as Town's defence stood still, Happe nipped in and scored. Town 0, Orient 1. Odd individual contributions from Hewitt, Matete, Morais and El Mizhouni hinted at the potential to be dangerous, but Town were struggling to supply Town's lone striker Payne who was having trouble with his control. El Mizhouni ghosted in on 36 minutes but shot over from 20 yards. Town didn't look like scoring and were lucky not to concede a second goal at the end of the half when Brophy ran in and passed to the unmarked Kemp who hit the bar from next to the penalty spot. Town's single striker option wasn't working, and although the players were trying, the overall quality was very poor.
Orient started the second half with three good attacks in the first five minutes. Matete slipped in midfield, causing the first attack. Then after a passing move involving a number of players, Freeman tried to walk the ball in before Orient's best move. Brophy found Kemp whose shot from 6 yards hit the underside of the bar. Town had no response and just relied on scrappy balls upfield which Orient snuffed out with ease. Town were lucky again when Johnson was given offside after another move starting with a Matete error. Payne's control let him down after El Mizhouni supplied a through ball, and then another attack broke down after Waterfall committed a foul. Town posed no threat. Adams was anonymous on the left while Morais scrapped but failed to provide crosses from the right. It was a relief when Hanson and John-Lewis came after 66 minutes, as Town hadn't looked remotely like scoring against a well-drilled Orient defence. Payne and Rose went off. Town had only themselves to blame with too many high balls and poor passes. After a big ball downfield Hanson nodded down to John-Lewis who fired a strong but inaccurate shot. Orient came back with a good move orchestrated by ex Mariner Craig Clay. Lamy replaced Adams on 73 minutes. Town showed some momentary promise when John-Lewis hit the post from the left after good work by Hanson. More had happened in the 7 minutes since John-Lewis and Hanson came on than at any point in the previous 66. Bunney saved the day with a good tackle on Kemp, and then Matete, who seemed to find freedom in centre midfield now that Rose was off the pitch, ran clear with 10 minutes to go, finding Lamy on the left. Lamy's cross was gathered by Orient's goalkeeper Vigoroux with John-Lewis pouncing. A minute later a Waterfall cross to Lamy found John-Lewis but the Town striker's header was straight at the goalkeeper. Town had picked up the pace but Orient now responded with 4 minutes left and 2 added minutes. A Brophy cross-shot ran across goal and then the same player won a corner. Orient attacked again 92 minutes but Abrahams screwed his shot wide. Town 0, Leyton Orient 1.
We can talk about tactics but the better side won. We could have lost at least 0 - 3. It was frankly embarrassing to watch Orient fluidly working the ball upfield from the right, the left and the centre. Town didn't look capable of the quality that Orient showed in midfield or attack. It was only when Hanson, John-Lewis and Lamy came on that we looked sharper but we just wasted the first 66 minutes. Orient's two central defenders had no problem in dealing with Town's lone striker, and in any case, the quality of distribution, control and team play was really poor right across the pitch for Grimsby. This was a continuation of Harrogate. I do not know how I could even have thought that we might have got something out of tonight's game, I clearly suffer from delusions. I saw good work from Meyanese, Matete and the substitutes but once more it's just crumbs and I can't see us getting out of this hole.
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