Sunday, 8 May 2011

Leyton Orient FC

Please read below for my article on Leyton Orient who came close to knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup this season. It was published in the latest Football Focus magazine which can be viewed here for absolutely free! Included in the current issue are Dunfermline Athletic, Crawley Town and many more football clubs.

Leyton Orient
Jonathan Tehoue equalises against Arsenal
Leyton Orient have a habit of pulling a rabbit out of the hat at the last minute. Many will remember Jonathan Tehoue's stunning 89th minute equaliser against Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round earlier this season and the club hope they can pull out another rabbit as they search for promotion to the Championship. At the time of writing, Orient are sitting three points off a playoff place in the Npower League One table, with just two games remaining and they will need to win both if they are to knock MK Dons and Bournemouth out of their respective fifth and sixth positions.

If the club are unable to achieve a playoff slot, then their remarkable feat against Arsenal will undoubtedly be their highlight of the season.

With the Gunners having just come off the back of a fantastic victory over Barcelona in the Champions League, many feared Orient would be on the end of a resounding defeat.

However, this was the clichéd old fashioned cup tie, hosted at Orient's traditional lower league ground, which possessed a slightly bobbly pitch and was watched by over 9,000 roaring fans on a dark, misty, east London evening.

Arsenal, as expected, dominated possession, but created relatively few chances until Tomáš Rosický headed them into the lead on the 52nd minute. Soon after, Andrei Arshavin looked to have sealed the win for the visitors, but his effort clipped off the post.

Orient kept up their search for a goal and their moment of joy arrived just one minute from time when Tehoue surged forward, squeezing through two Arsenal defenders and lashing the ball past the helpless Manuel Almunia, sending the home fans into raptures.

It was a dream comeback for Orient and it set them up for a money-spinning replay at Arsenal's spectacular Emirates Stadium. Orient chairman Barry Hearn had promised before the match that he would take the players on holiday to Las Vegas at the end of the season, if the team could draw a replay against the Gunners and this action may been the influencing factor for Orient grabbing the equaliser.

Although Orient fell to a 5-0 defeat to Arsenal in the reverse tie, the players did not take their eye off the ball in the league campaign and now find themselves just inches away from the final coveted playoff position.

Whether or not The O's manage to clinch the final spot, they shall still possess a fantastic memory of holding Arsenal to a draw and will have undoubtedly laid the foundations for another crack at promotion next season.

written by Will Lyon

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