I’d realised that I had not been posting on ‘The Lower Tier’ recently and thought, what better way to mark it’s return than on arguably the biggest day of the season.

There was of course great anticipation as the two sides from London, battling for Championship football, were ready to fight for the chance to take second place on the League One table. Derby matches always seem to bring the most emotion out of those watching and today did not differ.

Going into the match there was an evident buzz of both hope and nervousness around Brisbane Road from both sets of fans. The game did not disappoint. Both sides began with real aggression and purpose and as would be expected from a derby match a lot of passion. In the first half Orient were dominant with some intricate passing and strong defensive play and most fans around the ground seemed optimistic.

However the pain of supporting Orient never seems to disappear and after brilliant build-up play we conceded an awful goal. Ask any Orient fan and they would tell you that Eldin Jakupović has been a terrific signing, however, he chose the worst day to have a bad game as the abysmal, trickling shot nestled in the bottom corner on the forty-fifth minute. It may be superstitious but perhaps the Bosnian should not have cut his fantastic locks because since they’ve gone Orient have suffered a minor wobble but perhaps that cannot be blamed on a simple hair cut.

As has happened consistently this season Orient came out in the second half lacking confidence and energy. Luckily for the O’s it didn’t result in them conceding and it was in fact a Bees player who lost his head and Towkowski was shown a red card.

The sending off reinstalled hope and life into the Orient stands however when you are behind and chasing the game time seems to go much quicker. As the game went on the Orient faithful became more and more aggravated but the essential goal never came.

The loss pushes Orient quite far out of the battle for automatic promotion but the play-offs are at least certainty. Anything can happen in the coming weeks but it does now seem unlikely that a top-two finish is possible.

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Yesterday was proof as to why football is loved so much worldwide; it can take you from absolute euphoria to excruciating agony.

Yesterday’s match was the chance for Orient to bounce back and pick themselves up after a disquieting loss to Rotherham. The Millers’ winner came in the fifth minute of injury time and was scored by an ex-Orient player, Alex Revell.

This season the squad have been unusually good at psychologically rebuilding themselves after disappointment which has also been rare. Yesterday however brought back memories of the “classic Orient”. Peterborough came to Brisbane Road and from the start were quite woeful, (they were creating chances but their finishing was not of a team tipped for promotion). The O’s controlled the match in the first half overall however a breakthrough was not achieved by either team. David Mooney had made his first start since recovering from injury and after his majestic finish against Coventry two weeks ago, he pulled Orient ahead with a thumping header.

At this point both the crowd and the team seemed to get perhaps too overconfident but Orient held out until two minutes from time. Posh’s Assombalonga headed home after some mediocre defending and after the equaliser Orient seemed to freeze up. Peterborough then managed to grasp another within two minutes and the game was over.

It was back to “typical Orient” and in a season when loss has been so sporadic it was quite painful for any O’s fan to take.

In truth, however, this season is still leaving quite a few perplexed with where the Red and White Army find themselves and a win on Tuesday against Bristol City could still leave us in the fight for promotion.

At least Leyton Orient fans know; “we’re not going down”.

The O’s have carried their impeccable run of form into the next year and have reclaimed their position at the top of League One.

Barry Hearn has allowed the addition of five new players this January which has enabled Russell Slade’s men to stay in contention for promotion.
Orient’s most recent signing; Chris Dagnall proved dividends almost instantly.

The Red and White Army found themselves behind to a controversial Crewe goal just after the start of the second half. New man, Dagnall was sent on by Slade at half-time and gave the O’s more presence going forward which resulted in two goals in seven minutes.

Dagnall’s dream debut proved to be key in the on-going promotion race as Orient succeeded London rivals Brentford to the top of the table. Luck is one thing that has never found its way to the East of London, however this season it is seemingly in abundance and that is the one reason that even the most pessimistic of Orient fans, is considering our chances.

Further depth was the one weakness that needed to be targeted to continue the production of great results and it has been this month. Now there is no real reason to under-estimate the possibility of promotion apart from the fact that you’re watching Leyton Orient: the club that is renowned for losing.

I will stay optimistic but at the same time realistic as you can’t allow yourself to be disappointed with what has happened thus far; for a team like Orient to be top of the league is almost incomprehensible.

Something that Orient have been famous for is lacking in consistency but this season is strangely irregular and consistency has been abundant in E10 this last year. 

The O’s were unlucky, not to be able to play on New Year’s Day and have the chance to continue their fantastic form of the last year into 2014. Although the break was a worry for some as there were theories that a break in play may hinder our form, the upside was that many could have time to recover from injury or suspension. At first it seemed that the break had had a truly negative effect on the team as Orient were subdued to their biggest defeat of the season in the F.A. Cup third round at Huish Park, 4-0.

However, it was argued that Slade decided to play a side that would lose as our main focus, for once, is the league and if this was the Manager’s strategy then it paid off well as the Londoners bounced back with two league wins in a row. The second of the two victories was yesterday’s dazzling 4-0 victory over Carlisle. The Cumbrians haven’t seemed to be able to handle Orient this season as they were subject to the 5-1 loss that started Orient’s amazing season so far and also now a four goal thrashing when travelling to Brisbane Road.

It was also a positive for Orient fans to see two of the new signings score which links with another brilliant point which links with lower league football; the fact that the O’s signed Hull keeper Jakupović on the day they faced Shrewsbury and there are speculations that he was picked up by the Orient bus on the way to the game. This is brilliant when compared to the example of Luis Suarez being flown in first class from his international fixture for Uruguay back to Liverpool to play the next day. Leyton Orient can’t afford their own injury recovery equipment let alone transportation for the player which is what makes lower league football so brilliantly applicable. Struggling for income whilst producing the results that we are this season makes it worth it.

With Hearn allowing an increase in depth this January and the form Orient are consistently showing perhaps promotion is not such an audacious hope and much less of an onerous task.

 

Yesterday was a Premier League experience for all involved. The game had a lot of anticipation and pressure put upon it to be the fixture of the season in League One football.

28,500 fans filled Molineux and that included 2500 Orient fans. The atmosphere inside the ground was electric and as kick-off neared the suspense began to become uncontrollable.

The first half was completely dominated by Wolves and Orient only managed to come up with one effort with was skewed wide by Dean Cox. The home side came out the blocks with great pace and intensity which resulted with an early goal within five minutes. From that point on Wolves completely dictated play and Orient’s defence along with substitute keeper Jake Larkins pulled off an outstanding performance to prevent the West Midlanders from getting a second.

Something had to done for the second half in order for the O’s to come back into the game. Slade brought on Sawyer and took off the injured Vincelot. This change proved to be absolutely essential later on as it allowed offensive winger Moses Odubajo to advance to the right-wing from the full-back position he was vacating in the first half. Every time this season that Slade has put Odubajo in a defensive role, Orient have not played well as the majority of the Reds’ threat comes from the wings.

Wolves continued their brilliant first half performance into the second as Jake Larkins pulled off a phenomenal double-save to keep the deficit at one goal. When fans were informed of Jamie Jones’ back injury all were very worried that the O’s would start to capitulate at the back but Larkins proved all the negativity towards him wrong as he put forward an unexpected astounding series of saves which saved Orient the loss of points.

As I mentioned earlier, the decision from Slade to move Odubajo into a more offensive role proved very effective and after patiently waiting for an opportunity the winger put a fantastic ball into the box which was met by a surprising figure: centre-back, Matthieu Baudry. The 2500 fans who had made the trip from the capital erupted and the sound ringing around the stadium was breathtaking.

It was an unbelievable performance from Orient to bounce back after being shellshocked by the atmosphere that they met at the start. Although Wolves were extremely poor in taking their opportunities, the O’s did well to take the isolated chance they had.

Overall, the match definitely lived up to its hype and it was very strange to experience something that the Premier League usually provides in a League One fixture.

Today Leyton Orient were able to pull off the admirable task of coming from behind to beat Gillingham. Unfortunately the O’s went behind to the Gills after just four minutes as Adebayo Akinfenwa justified the recent internet craze based around him and how he’s able to destroy defenders with his strength.

After conceding Orient consistently pressed and their hard work paid off when they were awarded a penalty. Omozusi however failed to capitalise on the opportunity and the game remained 1-0 until the end of the first half. Many Orient fans would have been praying for a victory as the Red and White Army travel down to Molineux on Sunday for a huge League One title race fixture.

The team boasted an inspired performance in the second half having undergone a great change in team spirit during the break. The O’s looked much more offensive and threatening and if finally paid dividends when loanee Marvin Bartley levelled the scoreline. Orient had a prodigious morale boost from the equaliser and there was a great sense of an inevitable winner for the league leaders.

I failed to mention that a player who I’ve not been too keen upon before, Jake Larkins, produced a hugely significant performance which continually kept Orient in the game. With first-team Goalkeeper Jamie Jones out injured for three months he is Orient’s only hope in keeping promotion within view so all at Brisbane Road will be hoping he can change the fans’ perception of him.

Keeping Orient in the game was in fact crucial as in added time Yohann Lasimant headed home a colossal winner which keeps the O’s top of League One. Late goals have been something that have been added to Orient’s game this season and although they are not something the fans are used to, I’m sure it will not take long for them to become accustomed to it.

That great injury-time winner leaves Orient top of the league on goal difference with Wolves second and that leaves Sunday’s tie looking very attractive.

Hopefully the O’s and Larkins can produce their best performance of the season when it matters and perhaps Jackett’s Wolves will crumble under pressure. It shall all be unveiled on Sunday.

Today was a very exasperating defeat. Now understandably from years of supporting Orient I have become accustomed to loss, but if your team loses due to woeful officiating then that is unacceptable.

A true fan will not be outraged if their team loses with a dignified performance. However, when the result is decided by the referee the game becomes a aggravating horror to watch. Today’s official against Crawley was referee, Trevor Kettle. From the beginning of the match to the end, he seemed to have both a biased opinion, along with the inability to understand the game.

The O’s took the lead early through the exciting talent, Moses Odubajo although the fantastic start seemed to have a negative effect on the team as the game completely deteriorated afterwards. The game saw a return for the former Orient captain Gary Alexander and he was inevitably the first to score and put Crawley back on level terms.

Kettle then decided to award a penalty to Crawley after the ball struck Lloyd James’ arm from one yard. Something I cannot comprehend is the fact that a player is expected to move their arm away from the ball’s path no matter where they are on the pitch. Nonetheless the penalty was given and as if that wasn’t infuriating enough; Jamie Jones was able to push the ball onto the post but unable to prevent the rebound. I will admit that from this point on Slade’s side lacked any real purpose despite sitting fourteen places above the opponents.

Although the team played poorly from then on it was not helpful that the referee consistently gave decisions against us that effected many goal-scoring opportunities. Not only did this effect any chance of an equaliser but it hindered the team spirit and that was what made the loss so much more difficult to take.

Of course I am not that distressed but expectations have grown so much with what we’ve achieved and whether that will be beneficial or negative will have to be seen.