It struck me as I was coming out of Brisbane Road last Tuesday evening that things are starting to get serious for the Orient faithful. I always go into our matches hoping for a decent performance and a good result, but the level of nervous tension has really ramped up over the last couple of weeks, as the games start to tick down, and we now find ourselves very much in one-game-at-a-time territory in our beloved club’s push for promotion.
All through the early part of the season I was very much in the “it’s way too early – let’s see how things shape up once we are past the halfway mark” camp. When we reached 23 games played away at Newport at the end of the year, we were two matches into our winter “blip”, so I then started to fret that we might throw it all away as many longer-serving fans have assured me “only Orient could.”
However, having bult on last week’s two victories over Wimbledon and Crewe with a creditable point away at Walsall and a hard-fought victory against bottom-of-the-table Rochdale, it is now starting to dawn on me that our chances of promotion, and whisper it quietly even the League 2 title, are the reason for the increase in tension each time we play.
Up in Birmingham after what felt like a pretty ropey opening start in which we found ourselves a goal down at half-time, I thought we fought our way back into the game well showing a lot of grit and determination. When Ed Turns equalized in the 83rd minute it almost felt like a winner. Judging by the reaction in the away end, I was far from alone in that feeling. As the missus is very fond of saying: a draw when you come from behind always feels more like a point gained, especially away from home. However, this felt different still.
After the match the gaffer summarised his feelings towards the team: “I’m proud of the players…it’s a tough place to come especially going 1-0 down to a set play,” difficult to disagree with those thoughts of course. We were absolutely buzzing all the way home as were the O’s travelling supporters we bumped into on the return journey.
Tuesday night felt like a completely different scenario: at home to a team that is desperately fighting to stay in the Football League. Normally facing a team that has won just five games all season would feel like a fairly straightforward proposition, however as we alluded to earlier, these aren’t normal times, and you could almost feel the tension in the air in the build-up to kick-off.
In almost a complete reversal from the preceding Saturday we dominated the early proceedings finding ourselves 2-0 up before we had even played half an hour, thanks to goals from Ruel Sotiriou playing in the number 10 role in place of George Moncur, and the outstanding Idris El Mizouni. In fact, the Tunisian dynamo could have even grabbed himself a first half brace with a rasping drive from fully 25 yards that crashed back off the frame of the goal.
The second half was much more of a struggle and when Rochdale grabbed a goal back just ten minutes into the second half, it felt very much as if we were going to have to dig in to see out the result. Thankfully we did and we all left Brisbane Road to the happy refrains of “Rocking all over the World” once again. After the game Richie revealed there had been illness in the camp which only highlights how hard-fought the victory was, whilst we also got the news that Stevenage and Northampton had drawn, and Carlisle had lost meaning that our destiny is back in our own hands once again, as even if those behind us win all of their games in hand we would still be in top spot. It almost feels as if we have gone through our tough period and come out the other side, whilst the other teams are currently in the midst of their own. There may well be further bumps in the road to come, but right now it feels like we are kicking back into gear at exactly the right time.
With just 14 games to go we now have a total of 67 points and as we said last week (Orient Nerd Weekly Ramblings- The O’s burst out of the doldrums with two statement victories.) we need another 6 wins to get to 85 points which should be sufficient to secure promotion, which is starting to feel very much within sight. Of course wining the league, which I suspect is very much a target for the gaffer and the players, will no doubt require more than that, assuming of course Stevenage and co pick up their form again, but we can start worrying about that if/when we have secured third tier football.
Next up of course is another struggling side in the form of Crawley, who have won just twice in their last 10 matches and are hovering just above the drop zone themselves. It promises to be another tense afternoon, but if we were to secure the win and take our points total to 70 with just over a quarter of our matches remaining, it would be another major step forward. Here’s hoping the Status Quo classic gets another outing at 5pm on Saturday evening.
Up the O’s
2 thoughts on “Orient Nerd Weekly Ramblings- Is it still too early to mention the “P”-word?”
Totally agree Mr Nerd!
See you against the Robins !!
Cheers! A bientôt… à bicyclette ou à pied !! Glenn Sent from the Bicyclette Go ! iphone
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Great minds think alike hey! Also cheers for the shoutout in the latest ‘Ear. See you for the home game against the Robins in a couple of weeks’ time!