Swindon Town were probably the ideal team for Orient to play as they continue to build momentum following their mini slump.
We started as sharply as we have in any game recently and quickly forced Swindon into a number of mistakes which we were unlucky not to capitalise on.
The Wiltshire team seem to make headlines, as much for off as on-field issues over the last few years, and the lack of cohesion at the club showed on the pitch as they gave the ball away or put it straight into touch on an alarming number of occasions. On the other hand you couldn’t pick out a man-of-the-match because it was a true team ensemble performance from Orient.
It helped that Russell Slade had his first choice players in most positions. The defence looked solid with Elliot Omozusi back and in the midfield Romain Vincelot and Lloyd James are getting stronger game by game after seeming to struggle a little with knocks during our bad run.
We do though have an abundance of players up front, so much so that talented youngster Jamar Loza can’t even get a place on the bench. However, over the last month none of the options has earned the right to an unchallenged starting spot.
In an ideal world, David Mooney will rediscover his early-season form, which isn’t quite there yet following his injury. He could create a dangerous partnership with Chris Dagnall if he can get that touch back.
Dagnall works so hard, always shows for the ball and isn’t afraid to come deeper to get it before barrelling into the heart of the defence. His finishing isn’t at the same standard as Mooney or Kevin Lisbie but he causes so many problems that partnered with someone in form, the pair would be a real handful.
If they can do that now then Lisbie can be rested up for the final run-in and provide a dangerous option from the bench.
Being at the top of the table for so long has certainly meant that Orient haven’t been lacking in attention this season. Most of it has been positive but it has had the odd less positive side effect.
Firstly some Brentford fans (a team from West London that have been below Orient for 95 per cent of the season) felt moved to set up an anti-Orient Facebook page. We should be flattered they care so much and it’ll be a good thing if their own players start showing similar signs of nervous bravado ahead of the two teams’ clash in three weeks time.
More seriously teams will be coming into games prepared to do anything to thwart the team of the season so far.
Over the last few games that tactic seems to include targeting Vincelot off the ball, in the hope that taking out Orient’s engine room will disrupt the whole team. To some extent it has. The Frenchman picked up an injury at Wolves and has spent recent games chasing the referee more than the opposition, complaining about the treatment being dished out.
He has begun to temper his dissent but he knows what is going on out there. On Saturday he went to speak to the referee at half-time after a very late foul by Massimo Luongo wasn’t penalised with a card.
The combative midfielder may need a lot of patience because the way we’ve recovered from our February flop suggests we are going to remain the team to beat for the rest of the season.