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Leyton Orient v Walsall fan's view
Full credit to the O’s for progressing to the next round of arguably the ‘world’s greatest tournament’ after the narrowest of wins over our fellow divisional opponents – especially with the squad decimated by illness.
Perhaps some of the squad were still smarting from the result back in September when Walsall, themselves down to ten men, nicked the point that ended our perfect record at the time.
But, fast forward ten weeks and we are still at the top of tree and showed the gritty form that was required to book ourselves a perfectly winnable tie at Championship strugglers, Yeovil Town, the first weekend of the New Year.
Undoubtedly, many an O’s fan would have been delighted having drawn a side we know a lot about in what is a very important round when you consider the possible ‘riches’ at stake in the next round.
Not only was it a home tie, but we avoided any potential ‘banana skin’ of a televised clash on some non-league ‘cabbage patch’ of pitch.
However, it came at a cost with skipper-for-the-day, David Mooney, getting his marching orders for two yellow cards – although the referee appeared to brandish a red for the challenge on his marker.
So, unless we lodge a successful appeal, it almost certainly means Moons will be missing some crucial games and we might not see him back until the post-Christmas Wolverhampton showdown.
The FA Cup is now put to bed for a full month as we embark on what are arguably going to be five season-defining fixtures. Whether we can match the performances, and more importantly, results of the previous 19 games remains to be seen.
It will certainly be a big ‘ask’ to go to Bradford and pick up maximum points – on the back of two indifferent league displays against two of the lowlier sides.
The gaffer however has always managed to find the right formula this season with his selections and will no doubt have to shuffle the pack up north this weekend.
The big question whether we have now peaked and especially having taken only two points out of a possible six. But, on the plus side, we’re now unbeaten in four – including the Walsall cup win – although both Preston and Brentford are on our heels only six points apiece behind.
So, the pressure is back on, but a win at Bradford would certainly silence the doom and gloom merchants.
Up the O’s.
Keep the faith.