3 packed CTSA coaches left base at 12 noon yesterday bound for the Matchroom Stadium in East London. After lots of long trips north it was lovely to be only 90 mins away. In no time at all we were travelling through the Blackwall Tunnel, past the O2 Arena (once climbed by those intrepid explorers Travel Ken and Travel Ben, for all you fans of extreme sports), past the Olympic Park and down Leyton High Road. On coach three lucky Dan Griffin won the football card and £20 quid. He said, “my first away game was to Gillingham last season (one nil Dannie Bulman), I was really pleased to win! On leaving the coach I had a walk down the High Road and swapped the pub for a nice meal and a cup of tea. It was a quiet but a nice match day experience. Many of the crew, however, lubricated their tonsils in the Coach and Horses, but I’ve decided to give up alcohol and henceforth will be known as “Builders Brew” rather than “Special Brew”!
Leyton Orient are a traditional London league club with many years of proud history. A solid club with a neat stadium and great fans. Their ground, which many will know as Brisbane Road, has changed a lot over the past 10 years. Each end has had seats and a roof installed and there is a stunning new main stand in place. The eagle eyed amongst you would have spotted luxury flats with balconies over looking the pitch. Certainly a room with a view! It was slightly lost on one of our more long serving supporters Steve Leake. He said on the coach ‘ I don’t really care about new away stadiums it’s all about getting 3 points !!’
Kicking off in very chilly but dry conditions the players did their bit and started with great tempo. We really did dominate the first 45 minutes, capped in spectacular fashion after a quarter of an hour when Billy Clarke wrapped his left foot around the ball and sent it curling past a despairing keeper. It was a real stunner and had the Red masses jumping around. By the way, well done to everyone that made the effort today. You did the club proud with the atmosphere generated. It was brilliant to be high up in the away stand surrounded by a continual din of CTFC songs and banter.
During the half time break I meet up with Jim Hayton (Pound Hill). Despite being a season ticket holder at Stamford Bridge he regularly comes along to watch his local team. He brought along his children and some of their friends for the day out. He said, “we normally get to around half a dozen matches at the Broadfield but not many away; this is a real treat for us all and its great for the children to experience something different.” Travelling Reds Mascot Reggie was out and about and they all had a photo with him. His daughter, Eleanor (8) will be taking a staring role on Tuesday (Brentford) when she becomes the match day mascot.
For most of the 2nd half Town continued to pile on the pressure and to be honest we really should have gone on to increase the lead. It wasn’t until around 75 mins the home team got going and started to cause a few heart stopping moments. Paul Jones earned his keep with some great handling and a couple of good saves. Sergio came on late doors to shore up the midfield and we managed to hold on for our 7th amazing away League One victory. Queue wild celebration amongst the travelling hordes.
Back on Coach 3 (which was lovely and warm by the way), Jim said, “Our Reds were brilliant for most of that match but the two Orient substitutions seemed to inspire them and give them a bit more zip; it looked for a time that one goal wasn’t going to be enough but in fact the turning point of the game was when Sergio came on. His tackles and passes snuffed out a lot of their forward play which allowed us more possession late on. I was relieved when the whistle went. The back four were outstanding today but after scoring such a stunning winner my man of the match goes to Billy Clarke.”
Young Robert Achucarro saw it slightly different. “Paul Jones was the main man today- he made some excellent saves and kept a clean sheet which was vital.” He added, “it’s been a really fantastic day out and if we have more of the same then there is still a small chance of making the play offs.”
The three coaches were safely back at base for 7pm, circumnavigating a nasty accident on the M23. A wonderful day out for the fans, club and for us here at CTSA.
They say that one swallow doesn’t make a summer and certainly one hard fought win doesn’t make a play off charge. However I get the feeling that something very special is growing around our club at the moment. Off the pitch, on the pitch and amongst us fans there seems to be a developing unity which just could just be the key to securing 6th place come 29th April.
I urge no one to give on that play off dream just yet!
Words and Pictures from Colin Bowman, CTSA Matchday Press – more pictures at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CTFCSA