On the eve of the season (Orient Nerd Weekly Ramblings- Another Orient adventure is about to get underway, but are we still optimistic for the season ahead?) we reflected on Richie Wellens’ clearly stated intention of wanting “to start fast this time around and to not end up chasing the leading pack”, we also looked ahead to the first 6 matches of the season and wondered how many points we might glean from some tough-looking challenges.
While there can’t have been too many of the Orient faithful who would have predicted that going into the final one of the opening half dozen matches we would sit top of the League 2 table with 13 points from a possible 15, having scored 8 goals and conceded just 2; I doubt there are too many of us that are in any way unhappy with our team’s start to the campaign.
The missus and I were actually in Rotterdam for the Colchester game last Saturday, which while it meant that we had to miss out on what looked like another fun awayday in the sun, it did mean that we were (legally I hasten to add!) able to watch the game live on the Orient TV stream. A process that turned out to be surprisingly straightforward once I had worked out the correct spelling of our address in my former home town(!), although it did hammer home the nonsense of not being able to do so in the UK.
While I (kind of anyway!) get the logic behind the introduction of the “football blackout” in the 60’s to protect attendances at lower league games, the football world has moved on significantly since then. The big Premier League matches screened by Sky, BT, Amazon and whoever else is prepared to stump up the requisite cash, are shown at times to try to maximise viewing figures, so a Saturday 3pm slot would hardly be appealing to broadcasters or indeed advertisers. Besides, as we all know, in this Internet-driven world there are ways and means of watching practically any game from around the globe, should you have the will and the know-how to do so.
Equally, does anyone believe that fans of EFL or National League teams would not go to watch their team live because yet another over-hyped clash of the Dirty Half Dozen breakaway-wannabees of the Premier League are playing? Really? Instead, what the regulation does is to deny genuine fans the opportunity to watch matches that they are unable to attend for a whole myriad of reasons and deny clubs lower down the divisions another potential revenue stream.
Anyway, that’s enough ranting against modern football, back to matters Orient. The only change to the starting line-up from the previous Tuesday at Swindon was the return of Dan Happe in place of Shad Ogie, a decision that got me wondering about whether Happe is the first choice with Shad coming in to spell him for occasional matches, as he works his way back to full fitness, or whether the left-sided centre back position may well still be undecided in our gaffer’s mind?
As we have seen fairly regularly this season, it took the O’s a little while to grow into the game and it was Colchester who had the first real chance, but also as we have seen throughout the campaign so far Vigs was alert to palm Coxe’s effort away. Orient responded and took the lead on 17 minutes when Chambers turned Paul Smyth’s low cross into his own net with Charlie Kelman lurking ominously behind him. There were a couple of good chances for Moncur and Kelman but we went into the break just the one goal to the good.
We seemed to step up another gear in the second half, Archie notched his first of the season on 77 minutes turning home another cut back from Paul Smyth. Then, somehow, Rob Hunt managed to acrobatically clear off the line from Freddie Sears, although perhaps we should be thankful that there isn’t goal-line technology in League Two. Even to my very biased eyes it looked like there may have been a decent shout for it having crossed the line.
As the final whistle approached Kelman drove into the area from the left and slotted it low past Hornby for 3-0 to the Orient. The only slight blemish on our copybook came in added time when Chilvers headed home Nouble’s (yes that Nouble!) cross for a consolation goal for the home side. It was another solid performance by the O’s and another impressive 3 points.
In many ways though, it still feels like there is a lot more to come from the squad that we have assembled. This was something that Richie alluded to in an interview with BBC Radio London stating that: “I’m a little frustrated because I’m not concentrating on the result; I want the level of performance week in, week out… We’re getting it in patches. We scored three but we could have scored six or seven – I’m actually a bit disappointed in the way that we played at times.”
Maybe he is (deliberately) being too harsh, but when you consider that our two top scorers from the last campaign, Harry Smith and Aaron Drinan, haven’t featured other than the odd sporadic appearance from H, maybe he is right to expect much more? If we can continue to improve on the performances we have put in so far then there is a lot to be positive about going forward (yes I realise this is Orient where pessimism is
often usually a vital self-protection tool!).
Next up is Hartlepool at home with the Monkey-Hangers not having managed a win so far this season and languishing in 22nd place in the table. Taking nothing for granted of course, another win would set us up nicely for two tough-looking matches at home to Tranmere and away at Wimbledon, if we carry on like this then we might all start to dream of how things might shape up for us this season.
Up the O’s