Football: A team without an away goal in over seven hours of football against a side that hadn’t conceded in 12 consecutive home games. The result, on paper, seemed a foregone conclusion.
But one clean swipe of Lee Cook’s left foot rendered all previous statistics pointless as Leyton Orient claimed their first points of the season in fine style against Swindon Town.
Cook has endured a torrid time with injuries since Fulham stumped up £2.5 million to prize him away from QPR in 2007. At that point, he was being touted to plug the much-publicised gap on the left wing of the England team.
He has fallen from Premier League grace since, via an unsuccessful stint back at QPR, but he looks fighting fit judging by this performance.
If they can keep him in rude health, Orient could have a player to build their team around.
“I thought he was excellent,” Orient manager Russell Slade beamed. “And he’s only going to get better as he is still behind in terms of fitness. The more game time he gets, the more he is likely to bring.”
Orient had suffered three straight league defeats prior to this clash, but were good value for three points. It was a performance full of hard work, topped off by Cook’s guile and ability in the final third.
He had already put two chances on a plate for Kevin Lisbie and Michael Symes — both of which were wasted — before he took the bull by the horns on 59 minutes and fired home a left-foot drive.
“Today was worth waiting for,” Slade added.
“We created a couple of really good chances in the first period, where we perhaps could have gone in front, but it was great that Lee could slot the all-important goal home.”
The home dressing-room was a less happy place. Manager Paulo di Canio had already vented his frustration by punching the dug-out and even ran onto the pitch during play to berate the officials before tearing into his disappointing side at the post-match press conference.
“It is difficult to think that a Paulo di Canio team can play in this way — it was empty, no desire and no commitment,” said the Robins boss.
“I think these players have to change as we had a bad moment. The opponent was not good. I am worried. I didn’t recognise that this was my team.”