Leyton Orient 4 Carlisle United 1

Saturday 16th March 2013
Amid suggestions that a trip by train to London wasn’t the brightest of ideas after an awful lot of rain, I pressed ahead regardless in the hope that London Bari’s Essex Senior League game would survive. It didn’t, so instead I re-routed to Leyton Orient for a first visit to the transformed Matchroom Stadium on Brisbane Road since November 1990. The O’s maintained their recent good form by scoring twice in each half to record a 4-1 victory over Carlisle United who had goalkeeper Mark Gillespie sent off. Romain Vincelot, Shaun Batt, Kevin Lisbie and Dean Cox all scored to maintain Orient’s push for a play-off place. Matt Robson super shot briefly gave Carlisle hope of salvaging a point during the second half.

Leyton Orient 4 Carlisle United 1
npower League One
At: Matchroom Stadium, Brisbane Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £25; Programme: £3 (68 pages)
Weather: sunny spells

The lure of a couple or three more pubs on the Cask Marque Ale Trail and a long-desired return visit to the Old Spotted Dog Ground tempted my to London for the first time in four weeks. No problem with the pubs but I headed down to Euston more in hope that expectation that the London Bari v Stansted game wouldn’t be a victim of waterlogging.

Liverpool Street station looked a sensible place to base myself over lunch and I spent a pleasant hour in first the Railway Tavern on Liverpool Street itself (half of Mordue Bunny Hop) and then the Lord Aberconway, located a few yards away on Old Broad Street (half of Stroud Brewery Organic ale). Not being able to establish whether or not the London Bari game was on, I threw caution to the wind and headed to Stratford.

For once, Twitter and Mitoo let me down and now know I should have looked harder as the on/off answer was on Non-League Matters and Essex Senior League’s Full Time website. Where it be tiredness or not, for some reason I alighted my train from Liverpool Street at Stratford station rather than reducing the walk to the ground by a third by continuing to Forest Gate. After a half-hour trek to the Old Spotted Dog ground, I realised it was ‘game off’ and faced a dilemma of heading instead for either Leyton Orient (definitely on as they had tweeted team news) or Sporting Bengal United at Mile End Stadium (which wasn’t flagged anywhere as off).

My head ruled my heart by opting for the O’s, though that game between Sporting Bengal United and Eton Manor did go ahead. Half-an-hour later, after a jog back to Stratford [as least I knew the way!], then one stop on the Central Line to Leyton and a short walk up the High Road, I was in my seat in the East Stand at the Matchroom Stadium.

Some people find it strange that I actually want to revisit grounds on a Saturday outside my area. My previous visit to Brisbane Road came 22 years ago – Monday 12th November 1990 v Fulham in the Leyland DAF Cup – and my memory of that dark evening is hazy. A good enough reason for revisiting the place in daylight especially as the ground has subsequently changed beyond recognition?

I remember sitting in the East Stand, which is the only stand or terrace that has survived the intervening 22 years, but not the attendance of 1359 nor the two late goals by Fulham’s Phillip Gray and Kelly Haag. The ground is now all seater. An interesting new main West Stand, Baskin Robbins North Family Stand which replaced previous terracing and the Tommy Johnston Stand at the south end have all been built. Another interesting feature are the floodlights in each corner with a apartment block behind each named after a Leyton Orient legend – Cunningham, Kitchen, Bloomfield and Johnston. Apartment blocks also tower above the stands behind both goals.

Leyton Orient (10th on 57 points from 38 games) went into today’s fixture needing a win to keep up the momentum towards a place in the top six and a place in the end-of season playoffs. They’d won their last two games and were unbeaten in their last five. Further down the table, it looks like visitors Carlisle (17th with 45 points from 37 games) just need a couple of wins from their remaining nine games to ensure they finish above the relegation zone. A run of one win from their last eight league games by Carlisle was in contrast to Orient’s recent good form.

It was Leyton Orient (in red) who got the game underway attacking the Tommy Johnston South Stand end in the first half.

The first significant moment came in the 13th minute when Carlisle goalkeeper Mark Gillespie picked up a booking for handling outside his area.

Orient took the lead in the 32nd minute when Dean Cox crossed from the right and Romain Vincelot powered a header past Gillespie. It was the Frenchman’s first goal for the club.

A period of pressure by the home side led to a second goal in first-half stoppage time. The Carlisle defence failed to clear Moses Odubajo’s right-wing throw into the area allowing Lee Cook to play a low ball across the face of goal which Shaun Batt turned in to score his third goal of the season.

Gillespie, having already been booked, picked up a second yellow followed by a red card in the 68th minute for tripping substitute Charlie MacDonald inside the area. ‘Super’ Kevin Lispie sent substitute goalkeeper Adam Collin the wrong way with the resulting penalty to give Orient a decisive three-goal lead.

However, home fans must have felt the odd nerve when Carlisle got themselves back in contention with a super goal from matt Robson in the 78th minute. The defender got forward down the left and hit a low long-range shot past Jamie Jones into the far corner of the net via the post.

Cox seems to be a popular player at the Matchroom Stadium and he restored Orient’s three-goal cushion with a late goal scored in the 89th minute. Cook’s cross found Cox around the penalty spot and he volleyed home.

With time to spare after the game before my train home, I headed back to Euston and spent a bit of time in the nearby Crown & Anchor on Drummond Street. Four ales were on offer and I sampled a half of both Robinson’s Optimus Prime and Redempton’s Urban Dusk while keeping an eye on the Wales v England Six Nations clash which had attracted many to the pub.

Again this was another good day out even though Plan B was needed. Five goals at the Matchroom Stadium plus four halves of real ales at pubs I’d not previously visited. I wonder if I can get away with another London trip in seven days time when London Bari host London APSA?

Leyton Orient (red/red/red): 1, Jamie Jones, 2. Leon McSweeney, 4. Romain Vincelot, 5. Scott Cuthbert, 7. Dean Cox, 15. Nathan Clarke (capt), 17. Moses Odubajo, 21. Lee Cook, 22. Martin Rowlands, 28. Shuan Batt, 9. Kevin Lisbie. Subs: 3. Gary Sawyer (not used), 11. Jimmy Smith (not used), 14. Charlie MacDonald (for Batt, 67), 27. Elliot Omozusi (not used), 39. David Mooney (for Lisbie, 72), 19gk. Charlie Grainger (not used). Manager: Russell Slade.

Carlisle United (green/green/green): 20. Mark Gillespie, 2. Frank Simek, 3. Matt Robson, 4. Jon-Paul McGovern, 5. Danny Livesey, 12. Paul Thirwell (capt), 16. Brad Potts, 17. Mark Beck, 21. James Berrett, 22. Jordan Mustoe, 23. Sean O’Hanlon. Subs: 6. Peter Murphy (for Livesey, 29), 7. Andy Welsh (not used), 8. Liam Noble (not used), 9. Rory Loy (not used), 11, Danny Cadermarteri (not used), 19. David Symington (for McGovern, 59), 1gk. Adam Collin (for Berrett, 68). Manager: Greg Abbott.

Referee: Simon Hooper.
Assistants: Adrian Gillett and John Magill.
Fourth Official: Paul Kelly.

Attendance: 4387 (431 away fans)

Duration (45): first-half: 47:30; second-half: 48:06

1-0 Romain Vincelot (32)
2-0 Shaun Batt (45+1)
3-0 Kevin Lisbie (69 pen)
3-1 Matt Robson (78)
4-1 Dean Cox (89)

Leyton Orient: Nathan Clarke (YC, 73)
Carlisle United: Mark Gillespie (YC, 13), Peter Murphy (YC, 33), Mark Gillespie (YC, 69)