Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Leyton Orient 3 Port Vale 1

It was a slow start to the game on Saturday and Port Vale did most of the early running and put pressure on the Os from the start. This was perhaps a bit strange as Orient needed the points being in the League 1 relegation zone, whereas the visitors sit in mid table and could be excused for feeling that they were already on holiday. That said, the first real chance, after a couple of Port Vale corners that were easily dealt with fell to the home team. Marvin Bartlery sent a fine cross into theb box, but nobody was there to trouble Vale keeper Chris Neal. 

This was the story of Orient's first half, as both sides tried to hit each other on the counter attack. The away team looked more effective, where as orient looked like they had forgotten their striking boots and  Chris Neal looked like he was going to be hard to beat on the odd occassion where they found their footing. 

After the first 20 minutes of end to end, but ultimately ineffective football Vale started to turn the screw. Alex Cisak in goals for Orient had to make a spectacular save from Louis Dodds after a poor clearance and from the resulting corner Gary Sawyer cleared a Chris Robertson shot off the line. A couple of minutes later though, Vale were rewarded for their persistence when Chris Birchall raced down the right and fired his shot into the Orient goal.

The momentum was now clearly with the visitors and Mark Marshall almost made it 2-0 a minute later. Just after that the Orient defence had to make another goal line clearance when Tom Pope's header beat Cisak.

However, although Port Vale looked good going forward they didn't look quite as resilient in defence. Orient were able to show that they were still in the game, firstly when they beat the offside trap and Neal was forced into a brilliant save from David Mooney. Before the half was out Taylor and Dagnall both had good chances where the Vale defence was caught out, but Neal was equal to them. At the end of the half Vale looked like they might extend their lead if they could hit Orient on the break and the home team looked like they were going to find it difficult to hit the back of the net despite the chances that they had created.

Ten minutes into the second half and the game was turned on its head. Chris Dagnall was clear on goal and Chris Neal brought him down. The goalkeeper was given his marching orders and the Os were awarded a penalty. Sam Johnson's first job in goal for Vale was to try and stop a David Mooney penalty, he didn't and the Os equalised.

Vale were now looking ragged with just 10 men onn the pitch and Johnson didn't seem to have the same air of confidence that Neal had. He did make a save a minute later, but he perhaps should have caught the ball instead of palming it out, Dagnall should have scored, but he hit the post. The vistors seemed keen to give Orient every opportunity of staying up though, as Neill Collins took the opportunity on Orient's next attack to score a spectacular own goal to give the home team the lead.

Orient had all the pressure now and they should have taken the lead from another penalty when Johnson brought down Mooney. It wasn't a clear goal scoring opportunity this time though, so Vale avoided the indignation of having two keepers sent off in the same match and really gifting the game to the Os.

Vale were keen to not look like complete muppets though and resolutely attacked to try and find an equaliser. Nathan Clarke did well to clear from Ben Williamson shot and then Cisak had to be at his best to save a freekick from the same player. 

The Os were able to break from here though and Gianvinto Plasmati broke as the Vale defenders tried to get back. Plasmati found Dean Cox who did the rest of the running before pealing off a brilliant shot to make it 3-1 and give Orient all the points.

The point that changed the game: Chris Neal gets sent off after bringing down Chris Dagnall.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The yearly trip to Orient

On Saturday we went on the yearly trip to Orient. They beat Port Vale 3-1 to keep their hopes of staying in League 1 alive. The match report will follow shortly, but here are a few random photos for now.
Getting ready for kick off.

Orient players warm up. 

The teams enter the pitch.

Orient on the attack, unfortunately in the first half the most accurate person on am Orient shirt was a kid who threw a paper cup at the linesman in the picture.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Aston Villa 0 Swansea City 1

Neil Taylor of Swansea and Christian Benteke in action yesterday.

We went to Villa yesterday with some expectations yesterday, after a good run of results and no Lambert we had some optimism for the first time in ages, but unfortunately we went home disappointed.

Swansea started off the brighter of the two teams, and Okore, Hutton and above all Ciaran Clark were on fine form in defence. Bacuna looked good going forward and Delph was showing why he is in the England squad. The midfield in general weren't in top form and it was a relief when Cleverley had to go off early in the game, as he had been horrendous. Unfortunately, his replacement Carlos Sanchez found it hard to slot in and although he found his way later in the game he looked a bit flat footed at times. Scott Sinclair was eager to show his old club what they were missing, but he was overkeen and his final pass and shot were leaving a bit to be desired. Gabby wasn't at his sharpest and spurned a few chances too. Benteke was clearly playing injured. He still caused problems for Swansea, but was not at the top of his game.

Villa had the lion's share in the second half, but couldn't force the issue with Swansea and when Benteke came off for Weimann it seemed hard to see where a goal would come from. Unfortunately, it was Swansea who made the breakthrough with 3 minutes left when Gomis scored a wonderful goal that Clark and Guzan couldn't do anything about. After theis Gabby and Sinclair had some decent chances, but failed to find the back of the net. Villa didn't really deserve to leave the game with nothing, but luck and bad refereeing did them in the end.

Some photos from Aston Villa v Swansea City

IYesterday we went to Villa and we saw them unfortunately lose to Swansea, going down to a Gomis goal in the 87th minute. A report will follow.
Sean at the front of the North Stand before the game.

Villa players complete their warm up before the game.

The Holte End greet the players.

Villa fans protest against the demonisation of fans by the BBC and the Sun.

More football activism. A St.Pauli anti fascist sticker on the train.

Sean in my 1981 t-shirt.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Peterborough United 2 Bradford City 0

The photo above shows posh taking the lead

Yesterday we were back at London Road to see Peterborough take on Bradford City in League 1. We went without much hope. Peterborough had been on a terrible run of form that had seen them sliding down the table, which had led to Darren Ferguson being sacked as manager of Posh with Dave Robertson taking charge in a caretaker role. Bradford on the other hand are hopeful of the play-offs and are one win away from Wembley for a visit to the FA Cup semi finals if they can beat Reading next week. They have already knocked Chelsea and Sunderland out of the cup.

The first half was hotly contested, although Peterborough looked the better of the 2 teams. That said their main problem has been scoring goals and despite some nice passing Kyle Vassell didn't offer much hope of breaking the deadlock. Bradford were also finding it frustrating, but this was mainly due to the good work in central defence by Gabriel Zakuani and Ricardo Santos. The first half was exciting enough, but ended 0-0 and it was difficult to see where goals moght come from.

We didn't have to wait too long though after the second half got under way. After 53 minutes Gabriel Zakuani went up and a scruffy goal saw Posh take the lead. Peterborough were galvanised by this and Bradford didn't offer too much hope for their fans. A handball in the last minute allowed Michael Bostwick to double Posh's lead and it was like the old days again as posh ushered in a new era and we finally got to see a win.

A different kind of sport

Last week we did something different and went to the local rugby. It was good to see a locall team win for once, as Ely Tigers defeated Ipswich YM 22 -8. It made a change, but yesterday it was back to the football for Peterborough v Bradford City.