Sad O’s fail to hit the right note
Southend United 3 Leyton Orient 0 SOUTHEND UNITED might be short of money, but they did their best to entertain a crowd of nearly 9,000 for Friday night s game, writes TREVOR DAVIES. There was an opera singer performing on the pitch before the start and
Southend United 3 Leyton Orient 0
SOUTHEND UNITED might be short of money, but they did their best to entertain a crowd of nearly 9,000 for Friday night's game, writes TREVOR DAVIES.
There was an opera singer performing on the pitch before the start and there were dancing girls at half-time.
Even the home side, still looking for their first win of their season, tried to get into the spirit with a powerful second half performance.
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But sadly O's turned party poopers, and failed to enter into the spirit of things.
Instead of trying to match Southend, who hit the high notes in the second half, O's wilted away under a three-goal barrage from former loan man Lee Barnard.
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While Southend grew in confidence with a powerful display that matched the pre-match operatic performance, O's produced more of a Chas and Dave display at the end of Southend Pier!
The first half of the game was a frenetic affair played at 100 miles-an-hour and gradually O's started to look the better side against opponents whose confidence looked so fragile.
The more cultured chances fell Orient's way. Jimmy Smith fired over from 25 yards, and the impressive Adam Chambers played a neat one-two with JJ Melligan - who had more of a free role - and his shot flew just wide.
Smith also saw a free-kick parried by Steve Mildenhall in the home goal and Ryan Jarvis also went close.
It wasn't until 40 minutes had elapsed that Barnard shot wide and then Morris saved superbly from the dangerous Francis Laurent to ensure the first half finished level.
But Southend carried their momentum into the second half, and Morris had to dive to his right to deny former O's loanee Alan McCormack.
The dividing line between success and failure is narrow as O's discovered to their cost.
On 56 minutes Melligan whipped in a cross from the right and Andros Townsend nipped in, but his shot from close range cannoned off Mildenhall's chest.
It was costly. Minutes later O's skipper Stephen Purches looked to have his eyes on the ball and ran into Barnard as the Southend striker chased a harmless pass from Laurent.
But referee Trevor Kettle pointed to the spot, despite Orient's protests and Barnard sent Morris the wrong way, after having to re-take his original kick.
Adrian Patulea replaced Townsend and gave O's a little more invention and 14 minutes from time, after a neat interchange with Scott McGleish, he fired in a shot that Mildenhall parried and Smith fired home the rebound. But the effort was ruled out for a tight offside decision.
Two minutes later Barnard settled the game when he headed home Adam Barrett's cross from the right and the misery was complete in the 89th minute when Barnard's shot took a deflection off Luke Ashworth and flew past Morris to complete the misery.
After the game O's boss Geraint Williams said: "It looked a penalty to me, it was a silly challenge, but I thought the turning point was at the start of the second half. We never got out of the blocks.
"The first half was even and we talked about how we were going to take the game to them in the second half and get on top. But we never got going at all and it was a very disappointing performance in the second half. I didn't see that coming.