Sunday, 20 February 2011

Big test for the Orient lads

Kevin Scully
In between other tasks, I'm keenly following the progress of Leyton Orient as they take on Arsenal at Brisbane Road in the FA Cup this afternoon. They are, you could say, my "London team".  I must have seen them a dozen or more times over the last few years, courtesy of the good man in the picture.

Anyway, concerns about the future of the Os in the light of West Ham's Olympic stadium bid can be put aside for a few hours today, as the Waltham Forest maestros hunt a bit of glory at the expense of Arsene Wenger's crowd-pleasing millionaires.

East end priest, writer and Leyton Orient season ticket holder, Kevin Scully, was (unusually for him) reduced to clichés in the lead up to his team's clash with the Premiership titans. Arsenal are 43 places above the League One side, who often play at home to crowds of fewer than five thousand.

"It will be a big test for the lads in the Cup of Dreams but, by all reports, they are up for it," he said. There is a good delegation coming from Bethnal Green, where Kevin - a good friend - is the Rector of St Matthew's Church. "The afternoon draw means that the supporters from the church can be in both holy places in one day," he added. "I will make sure I am in the appropriate dress for both venues."

Initial impressions are good. A driving 25-yard strike from O's Charlie Daniels on the quarter hour has been the best chance of the game so far. BBC Sport's Chris Beva declares : "Orient promised to get 'in Arsenal's faces' and they have definitely done that so far. The League One side are setting an incredible early tempo."

16.58: "Twenty-six minutes gone at Brisbane Road and Leyton Orient more than holding their own, despite conceding the great majority of possession. Exactly as home boss Russell Slade would have planned."

Fingers crossed. So to speak.

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