Too Involved

 

GAME OF THE WEEK

Leyton Orient 2 Maidstone United 0

Vanarama National League

Attendance: 5,085

Gate: £17

Programme: £3

You would think that after 400+ games I would be able to plan a day out correctly wouldn’t you? Well, think again. Another cheap away day courtesy of Virgin Trains and I was looking forward to a day in the smoke. Following doing my research on the good old world wide web I settled for Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Or so I thought. A final look into my plans midweek, showed engineering works that would mean I could not make it to the Beveree Stadium. Damn. I had to make a decision quickly, so Leyton Orient it was. Ticket bought on their website and I was off to E10. On Friday, I realised that th World Athletics Championships were on a little under 2 miles away. Do your research!

 

Though to be fair, the running round a track (never got that personally, I understand running from a to b, but round in a big circle? Nope, just stay where you are) games did not cause me any harm. In fact the journey both ways was more than satisfactory. Alighting at Leyton Underground, Brisbane Road, as I have always known it, is a 10 minute stroll away.

Ticket collected from the main stand on Oliver Road I made my way back round to Brisbane Road and into the East Stand. I must say that Orient’s home has to be one of the weirdest grounds I have ever been to. The West Stand on Oliver Road looks completely normal on the outside until you notice that there is a Polyclinic near the main entrance. Both sides have blocks of modern flats attached to them, to the point it is difficult to distinguish which is flats and which is club. Only the old East Stand looks normal, though at the North Stand end, the flats come right into the ground. Weird, but for some reason, I like it.

 

Pasty and drink purchased, seat found, I opened my programme. There was a little sticker album in it and a few stickers to put in it. Marvellous for the kids, both young and old. By the way, if somebody wants mine, let me know and I will get it to you.

As we waited for the teams to come out, Maidstone’s travelling army started singing, apart from at half-time I don’t think they stopped all afternoon. Sides out, into the sun and off we went. The hosts started brightly, but it only took a few minutes for United to show danger, especially on the break. In fact, the best chance of the half fell to the visitors in the 20th minute when Pigott volleyed straight at Grainger in the home goal, looked easier to score. The rest of the opening half was played out with the final ball all too often missing.

The O’s started the brighter after the break but once again there was a lack of quality in the final third, Bonne firing wide when free looked as though he was going to sum the game up. However, all that changed on the hour, an excellent cross from Dayton was headed home by Mooney, good strike that beat Worgan all ends up, and the game improved almost instantly as the hosts turned up the heat trying to find a second.

Bonne went close again a couple of times, Mooney missed a glorious chance at the far post as the hosts looked very dangerous on their right wing. As time ticked away to the final whistle, Maidstone started to throw more bodies forward and in the 90th minute they thought they had rescued a point. Pigott twisted and turned on the edge of the area, his low shot was turned away by Grainger but the ball was loose in the area, Sam-Yorke just beat Grainger to the ball and fired into the empty goal. United and their 595 fans celebrated, but only for a few seconds as the linesman raised his flag. I can only presume the Maidstone number 9 was offside for the original shot. The home fans took their turn to celebrate.

They did again a couple of minutes later as salt was rubbed into the wound, substitute Boco was away in the clear and then showed his team-mates ho to finish in such a finish, 2-0 to the O’s.

 

Time to head home, a thoroughly enjoyable day, thanks to the visiting fans for making a great atmosphere and Leyton Orient for the rest, love your ground, in a weird way.

 

ADDED ON

After a day at the cricket last Saturday I headed over the hills to South Yorkshire on Sunday to the oldest ground in the world, to watch the second oldest team in the world, play in the oldest competition in the world.

I honestly thought Bootle would win, but they were never at the races. Hallam ruled from start to finish and the 3-0 scoreline did not flatter them. A date with Atherton Collieries awaits. Don’t write The Countrymen off just yet.

Just over 24 hours later and I was back over the Penines again for a first ever visit to Bradford Park Avenue. A cracker of a game with Southport made the trip worthwhile. End to end stuff with chances for both sides going begging.

With the match evenly poised, ex-Manchester City full-back Javan Vidal saw red and the visitord nicked the game at the death.

Tuesday saw me at Moss Rose, my third visit, recently relegated Hartlepool United the visitors on this wet August evening.

Really a match of two halves as the hosts were better before the break, going in 1-0 up thanks to a Whitaker glancing header shortly on 38 minutes. The ‘Monkey Hangers’ equalising, also with a header, just before the hour through Cassidy. A draw was probably a fair outcome.

GAMES

Sun: Hallam 3 Bootle 0

Mon: Bradford Park Avenue 1 Southport 2

Tues: Macclesfield Town 1 Hartlepool United 1

Sat: Leyton Orient 2 Maidstone United 0

FACTS

Games: 403

Goals:  1373

Grounds: 196

Games since a 0-0: 16

SOUNDTRACK

A Catholic Education – Teenage Fanclub

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