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Review - Game Nine: Bromley 1-1 Braintree Town
The trip to Bromley was made on a sweltering evening during the rush hour, even a few cold glasses of cider at Victoria station did little to relieve the discomfort felt as I and Mac travelled into Kent. A short bus ride from Bromley South station and we found ourselves at Courage Stadium. Personally I thought £10 entry was a little steep and the quality of the program wasn`t particularly outstanding. However the stadium was great and full of character, with one side having a small grandstand and the opposite having a number of large concrete steps, gradually losing a battle with the wild grass which is slowly attempting to cover it. Either end behind the goals are some terraces, a throwback to how all stadiums would have looked 20 odd years ago. The bar has to get a mention too, unlike the majority of those we have seen so far this season, the Bromley bar was roomy and well stocked with all manner of spirits, lagers and an ale and a stout, as well as lots of snacks. Less impressive was the quality of the burgers from a vendor just inside the front gate as Mac found much to his disappointment.
The game started with the most audacious kick off I have ever seen at a football match when Bromley cracked a shot at goal straight from the whistle. The Braintree keeper was always in control although the way he crashed into the post was probably unintended! Unfortunately both this bright start and my hopes pre-match for a high scoring and open game were to be nothing more than false dawns. What followed in the first half was stagnant and woeful to watch. Braintree took the lead on 15 minutes or so when the Bromley keeper fumbled a simple cross allowing Sean Marks to capitalise. Nothing else of note happened, I found myself wondering how Bromley had managed to score seventeen goals in the previous eight matches and how on earth they had managed four wins on the trot. Braintree were just as bad and it was a relief when the whistle went to call a halt to proceedings for the half time break.
Things seemed to be looking up when Bromley equalised a few minutes into the second half after an intended cross was miss-hit by Harrison Dunk and looped over a despairing lunge from Braintree keeper Nicky Morgan. Again though both teams seemed unwilling or unable to push for a winner with both midfields and defences lumping the ball forward to no-one leaving the crowd quiet and, in truth, rather bored. A quick mention of Braintree number 9, George Purcell, who desperately needs anger management classes. He vented his sizeable wrath at officials at every opportunity during the second half whether his team got the call or not. People often say that crowd`s need to be better behaved and improve their language but this needs to start with the players or else thousands of kids will simply repeat what they see live or on television. George, calm down, I was worried you would have an aneurysm!
Both teams were probably happy with a point once the ref had mercifully whistled full time and although I am not naive enough to think that this will be the last poor game we see this year I desperately hope there won`t be many!
Build Up - Game Ten: Leyton Orient v Exeter City
Orient were originally formed in 1881 by members of Glyn Cricket Club and became known as Orient in 1888 and Leyton Orient after the Second World War (but was then changed back until again becoming Leyton Orient in 1987). There are some suggestions that the name Orient came from a player who worked for a shipping company of the same name but this is disputed.
Just after the the end of the 1914-1915 season 41 Orient players and staff joined what was to become known as the footballers regiment, 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, and were the highest numbers of any team in England to join up. Three were killed whilst numerous injuries were sustained by others. Orient are the second oldest league club in London, Fulham being the eldest, and are known as the O`s. They have a strong rivalry with West Ham, Millwall, Southend, Brighton & Hove (who doesn`t it seems!?) and Leytonstone who amalgamated with three other clubs to become Dagenham & Redbridge.
The clubs most successful years were during the 60`s and 70`s, during this time the club played First Division football for the first and last time in it`s history and reached a FA Cup semi-final, again their best showing to date. Recently however the club have had to endure the agony of play-off final defeats in 1999 and 2001. The club holds the record for the fastest ever goal at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff at 27 seconds.
The club gained automatic promotion from League Two in 05/06 with a 3rd place finish and despite a player exodus the following year have managed to stay in the third tier of English football.
Orient are struggling so far this season in 19th place, one above their opponents for this match, Exeter City. With only one league win to their name a leaky defence which has seen 13 goals conceeded in 6 games and only a solitary point from a possible nine at home, Orient will be desperate to put some distance between themselves and the relegation places as well as keeping the home support happy.
Division 2 runners-up 1961-62
Division 3 winners 1969-70
Division 3 South winners 1955-56, Runners-up 1954-55
Tube; Leyton station on the Central Line is a short walk from the ground.
Train; Leyton Midland Road station is the nearest overground and again is a short walk.