Hoarse from an atmospheric night at WHCS; Dom & I set off for Brisbane Road to take a peek at next week’s league leading opposition. Soggy wasn’t the word for it. We were not surprised that the nearby Charlton game was abandoned at half time.
Orient lined up with U’s exiles; Nathan Clarke; Lloyd James; Mooney and Lisbie; and enjoyed the better of a first half spoiled by the conditions. Both teams took a no nonsense approach and thumped the ball skyward out of danger and it was a lottery where it emerged. Players were sliding twenty yards after a missed tackle; reminiscent of that awful WHCS game against Norwich; whilst every stride produced a distinct splash as if skipping along a foreshore. Crewe were attacking the wettest end where it was nigh on impossible to play the ball forward to feet. It was a fascinating spectacle in one respect; but frankly should have been abandoned inside the first quarter.
A speculative ball skidded forward; eluded three defenders and both Lisbie and Mooney (both miles offside); then found Moses Odubajo. I won’t be sure if he was onside until I see the TV replay (but I thought offside); but with everybody forward of him still sliding; he neatly jinked to slot the ball home. He is the O’s real danger man; but limped off in the 65th minute after a bone shaking tackle. So he may not feature next week. Without Moses; Orient looked uninspiring; but by then they had done the job.
Mooney and Lisbie had tugged, pulled; ducked and dived to such an extent that multiple bodies twice tumbled in the visitors area with the benefit of the doubt going to the attackers; whilst we neutrals thought the defenders were fouled first. Lisbie missed his resultant penalty; but Mooney converted his. What struck me was their constant aggression (cheating!) that didn’t characterise either player when wearing blue & white.
Throughout the game; Orient’s prime tactic was Hoofroydesq; with Lisbie surprisingly the architect of most skulduggery nonsense. I reckon that the U’s need to play a high line; and force the older legs of Mooney and Lisbie to do far more stamina sapping chasing work. Indeed; before the end of the game; a spent Mooney and James appeared to be limited to walking; and were substituted.
By the start of the second half; the rain had eased; and during the interval much water drained away. Crewe now found themselves attacking the dryer end. In a performance reminiscent of the U’s second half against Carlisle; Crewe played by far the better fluent flowing football; had the lion’s share of possession; shots and corners. Frankly; Orient were lucky to hold on and looked in a state of panic for the last twenty minutes; with the fans cheers turning to jeers of anguish.
Orient seem vulnerable to the style of football that is played by the U’s; and Crewe were truly unlucky not to get at least a point. On a dryer day; I think they would have at least earned a point; if not the full spoils. Frankly; I don’t think we have much to worry about if the U’s play to their potential – but Crewe on a dry day may be far more interesting – and I thought (notwithstanding the result); were the better side.
[Post edited 24 Aug 2013 19:49]