Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Same, same, same... : the Mighty vs Leyton Orient

Right. Enough of last week. Boring games happen. It's just a fact of life. We all just want it to be *a bit more interesting* and it's definitely going to be this week isn't it? 

Inside it's all very casual. They've only brought a few and the sun is shining It's still mid August. Time for some sun soaked football magic. 

No one seems to make that much of Richie Wellen's presence either. There he is, padded jacket incongruous in the warmth, looking like he's barely aged since he made his debut (from my distance anyway.) Everything is set for a good day. 


They are terrible. For the first 15 minutes, we're all over them. They can't pass, when they try to run with it, they look sluggish. Their central defenders' use of the ball makes Marvin look like prime Pirlo. 

We're busy and playing with intent. Lavery smashes a snap shot and draws a good save. We're happy enough with an open game and better for it. 

There's a scramble in the box following a corner and Jimmy hits one well and there's another tidy piece of keeping. 

I wonder in my head after we have a shot 'Will Critch be pissed off that we lost possession?'

For all that we play in the first spell, we then hit a long, long patch where we just, well, don't. It's like a sailing ship becalmed. Orient stop being shit and start to do basic stuff in a vaguely competent way. 

That has us baffled. Repeatedly the ball ends up with Marvin who looks like a lost child in a supermarket, who doesn't know what to do, turning one way then the other as if searching for a familiar face but seeing only a sea of strangers. The general discontent at this is probably not helping his sense of inner calm. 

We offer next to nothing and thus we start to concede chances. Grimmy makes a brilliant instinctual stop, Grimmy dives tidily to his right and keeps out a drive. Grimmy bends himself backwards to get a touch on one that loops up and drops in front of an empty need and somehow Casey (I think) gets away with strong arming their lad off the ball and the ball is levered away. 

We're second best for a long period, until, as if fearing the half time reaction we decide to have a little go at attacking again as if fending off the boos. 




We come out all guns blazing and score immediately, fired up by a new found self belief and bolstered by two attacking changes, releasing some of our pent up young players into the game to finally have their shot at glory. 

Oh. No. That didn't happen. Instead we labour manfully and the game basically continues as it did before. 

It wasn't quite as shit as Tuesday. Beesley wins a few headers. We have the odd corner but it's not like we're establishing ourselves in their half and battering the door down. 

Morgan drives it. Their keeper sprawls, Lavery charges on to the loose ball and cracks the base of the post. Things calm down. Time for that definitive attacking change ..

"Replacing number 15, Jensen Weir, no 17, Matty Virtue...' 

Jensen Weir has been fine. He's a kid. He's done ok, he played a couple of nice passes, had a shot or two blocked. The ball has mostly sailed over his head. Matty Virtue is on. 

Now, let me be very clear about this. I like Matty Virtue. If you're going to do ok, you need some Matty Virtues. He's honest, he's bustling, he can pass a bit, shoot a bit and there's nothing at all wrong with him. But... Him coming on is just the most Critchley change in the world. We're struggling to break down a fairly limited side (relative to our stated ambitions at least) and we've made the same fucking sub we make every week. 

Matty Virtue isn't an agent of change. He's the kind of player who is good at keeping things the same. He's not the man you give the ball to to make the magic. He's the man that goes and gets the ball and gives it to the magic man. 

We've no fucking strikers on the bench. We're basing our game on pressing from the front and yet we can rotate out a striker and bring on fresh legs. Owen Dale isn't Messi but he's as close as we've got and he sits gathering splinters. Rob Apter is somewhere else, being 'developed' for when he's finally ready at the age of 29 to come on in a game that matters. Brad Holmes isn't on the bench because we need space for all the other Matty Virtues. It's like we're a team of Matty Virtues. All of them are variations on Matty Virtue. I like the actual Matty Virtue, but when you've got about 15 of him, then it's hard to get overexcited about him coming on. To be fair, he does ok. He does what he always does which is fine. In and of itself. 

You can probably tell I've had enough. Leyton Orient do some stuff. We do some stuff. Our stuff includes a few scrambles in the box, one in which Beesley waves his leg at the ball in possibly the most unconvincing attempt at a finish I've ever seen and the other sees super Jimbo unable to get it out from under his feet. 

We make a fundamental tactical switch, throwing caution to the wind and chucking Marvin up front and pin Orient back. 

Actually, we don't do that - we swap Weir for Sonny and carry on the same but (check this next level shit) we swap the full backs over. It has little impact. 

We're better than them. Aren't we? Surely? I'm not sure. 9 minutes injury time... 

A ball, Lavery, onto it, he's fighting, he's winning,he's cutting inside, he's through and he's putting it past the far post.... 

I never felt like he'd score. I never felt like we'd score. I never really felt like they'd score. We're trapped in a never ending 0-0. 

Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaackpoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeytooooooooooooooooooooon Oooooooooooooooooooorieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeent NiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiL 

It's like time has slowed down. 


It's not that it's *all* shit. 

It doesn't even have the tragicomic appeal of a shit show. Casey and Jimmy were again good. Norburn is perfectly suited to his role. Morgan is kind of almost really impressive but somehow not quite yet there, Weir looked like there's something there if we can work out what to do with it (basically, see Sonny and extrapolate the same conclusions) Lavs ran hard and kept at it from first minute to last. Beesley is a curious blend of physical and timid. He'll win one really well and then look like he's pulling out the next. To me, it looks as if anything above waist height, he's more than fine with but as if he's jumpy about certain challenges on the ground, yet he's also quite neat with his feet. He works hard, he gets about but I'm struggling to pinpoint what he is. 

We know what we lack. A Gaz and some magic. It feels like we've built a platform but forgotten to actually put anything on it. 

It's all so functional seeming but lacking the key element - on one level, it's impressive we haven't conceded and yet, the architecture of an oil rig is impressive but also kind of pointless without the drill. 

We're a white painted wall without any artwork. We're a town square that is just paving and no fountain or statue, we're a chilli without any spice. A fireplace laid for decorative purposes with no actual airflow. We're breeze block without the plaster coating. We're beige.

It's not 'disgraceful' football. It's just boring, so much so that I found myself wondering if we have to lose to force us to learn to try to win. 

I've not got many problems with the players in the team beyond the fact a couple of them aren't quite good enough ('suitable' might be a kinder description) for the role they're playing. It's more a yearning for the two or three players that make all of this make some sense. We are surely looking for them... 

It isn't good enough but... let's take a deep breath and see where we are at the end of the window... 


 You can follow MCLF on facebook or Twitter or use to get posts sent to your email If you appreciate the blog and judge it worth 1p or more, then a donation to one of the causes below which help kids and families in Blackpool would be grand.


Post a Comment

Follow on Twitter!

Get MCLF in your inbox!

Subscribe with a feedreader!

Buy the book (proceeds to Blackpool Foodback)

Blog Archive

Yet another bad owner. Where do they breed them?

This is Brooks Mileson. He owned Gretna FC. If you don't know who he is or what the score is with Gretna, it might be worth giving it ...