How costly Saturday’s Brentford defeat proves to be in the coming weeks remains to be seen.
We certainly didn’t do ourselves any favours against an admittedly well-organised side, who showed just why they had only lost one game in their last 20-odd starts.
But, every cloud has a silver lining, as it was undoubtedly heartening to see Wolves only drawing at home to Shrewsbury.
However, both sides in the automatic promotion frame have two games in hand over us – so it will be a case of hoping for the best if their opponents can raise their games and do us some favours. After all, Jimmy Smith came up trumps for Stevenage last week - so you never know what is around the corner.
Probably the most galling things about the game was our lack of finesse – or luck in front of goal, not scoring when we were on top and – most crucially – the Bees taking their only real chance of the game.
Obviously, there is never a good time to concede, but they say either seconds before or after the break is the worst. And, it was a body blow from which we never recovered – to such an extent that Brentford – despite their numerical inferiority – grew into the game and never looked back.
Indeed, the O’s looked like the side playing with a man down. But, perhaps, with two long trips behind them – the most recent being the midweeker at Port Vale – had ultimately taken their toll.
Brentford on the other hand, with two consecutive home wins behind them, hadn’t been out of the capital all week so you could use that as a possible reason why the O’s looked a little ‘leggy’ late on and the visitors appeared to have a spring in their step.
But, hope springs eternal and as Scott Cuthbert alluded post-match, that there are still nine games and 27 points to play, we are far from out of the promotion race.
Orient fans – though - must take a reality check in some ways. Year after year we have got to this mid-March stage either a few points short of a play-off place or looking over our shoulders at the drop zone. Remember, we could so easily be in Tranmere’s or even Notts County’s boots.
Admittedly, with every win the expectation levels have risen and ‘promotion’ seems to be the only word on many people’s lips. But, one look at the table would show we are 22 points clear of seventh place – so it’s not all doom and gloom as a play-off place is the ‘worst’ that can surely happen now.
I just hope we can bounce back at faltering Dean Smith’s Walsall this Saturday, though. After all, they ended our 100 per cent record so we owe them one and a win would keep us in contention.
Keep the faith,
Up the O’s.