The non-battle of Brisbane Road: Leyton Orient 1 Exeter City 1

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Two sides, equal of points, equal on goal difference, with identical records, without a win at home and coming off the back of respective three-nil tonkings. This could have gone one of two ways - a goal-fest as both sides went for it in order to restore some pride, or a dire draw with both sides showing themselves up as bottom-half teams. Want to guess what we got?

Orient were poor, Exeter were also not very good and it's telling that when the goals did come they both required a slice of luck.

City started 4-5-1 with Stuart Fleetwood up front on his own again and, oddly, Danny Seaborne at left-back. Quite what this says about the manager's confidence in Steve Tully, who's done alright this season, and Scott Goldbourne, I don't know, but playing a centre-half not known for going forward at full-back? Curious.

Actually, Danny did ok, as he's done for most of this season. After last season's loss of form and headmess he seems to have knuckled down and decided to fight for his place. He's not a left back, but he didn't do too much wrong.

Of more concern was Fleetwood, who doesn't look match fit and doesn't look like he can play the lone striker role. I can understand 4-5-1 away from home but at least have somebody who can hold up the ball.

But then we have a winger. An actual, genuine wideman who takes the ball past defenders, hogs the touchline and crosses the ball. It's been so long, I'd nearly forgotten what they looked like.

And boy is young Noone good. He was quiet in the first half, largely because the team seemed as surprised as the fans were, but once they worked out what Noone good do, they gave him the ball and let him have fun.

His goal wasn't a huge surprise - he'd been getting plenty of joy against the right back and fired in several crosses and half-chances, so when he got a bit of time he launched one towards goal.

Now, we could be cynical and say it was a mishit cross, but it was certainly heading towards goal before the Orient keeper decided to give it a helping hand to make sure. If it was intended, it was a moment of brilliance. Regardless, it was no less than the boy deserved.

Their goal was one of those things - an awful free kick that took a huge deflection off the wall and trickled passed Jansson, who couldn't be blamed as he surely had it covered. A bit of a freak goal, but they all count and we can't keep saying "oh, it's only a freak goal'.

As for the rest of the game, it was dire. Orient are not a particularly good side, Exeter had flashes but only really got going in the second half and were guilty of some very sloppy play.

Matt Taylor was awesome at the back, Jansson did well in goal, with a fantastic tip onto the bar in the second half from Scott McGleish. Ryan Harley also looked near to his best with plenty of possession and probing balls and, unlikely the rest of the squad, he didn't waste one ball. Noone, I've already eulogised about - that boy will be a star, even if he is an Argyle player.

The frustrating thing is, we don't seem to be too far away from clicking as a team, but there's a few areas where it's not quite happening for us. Sercombe, I rate, but he's out of form and Russell and Harley haven't really gelled as a midfield pairing, so it would nice to see Bertie get back into the side.

Like I say, 4-5-1 is fine with the right personnel, but with Tranmere, currently the worst side in the division, up next we can't afford to be cautious. It's a great chance to get our first win of the season. If only we can settle on a side.

I've got confidence we can win this, I suspect the manager and players know it as well. Geddin City.

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Happy As Larry

This is an Exeter City fan blog by Gary Andrews, covering news, views and action from the real St. James' Park.

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