Orient's Express reaches Whitts End

Last updated : 29 August 2007 By Michael Morris
Players acknowledge the crowd at full time
The game looked like stretching into extra time when Whittingham fired low into the net just seconds after another stunning save from O's keeper Stuart Nelson. The keeper was congratulated by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink after he dived superbly to his right to push Jimmy's header around the post but as the keeper was re-positioning himself after that save he was finally beaten when Whittingham picked up the short corner and rifled the ball home. The clock has just turned 90 mins and it was a blow for Orient and their support but overall they can have no complaints after City rattled up over 25 efforts on goal.

Both Robbie Fowler and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink started the game in front of over 6,000 home fans. They lined up against an Orient side who boasted a 100% record so far this season.

It didn't take long for City to pressure the visitors goal and a succession of chances came and went. Fowler saw Nelson stop one shot and another that beat the keeper come off the bar. Hasselbaink blasted an effort that Nelson kept out before Fowler again hit the woodwork.

It was one way traffic and the only efforts from Orient troubled the fans on the Grange End rather than Ross Turnbull. But with the game level they were still in it.

Into the second half and City's biggest scare came from a moment of confusion between Roger Johnson and the keeper, who came needlessly too far off his line. Except for that Orient were reduced to attacking at the break and then defending in numbers as City continued to pound the goal.

Parry saw a goalbound shot saved by Nelson and ball after ball enetred the O's box before being cleared or efforts being denied.

For me Peter Whittingham was struggling with his delivery whereas Paul Parry on the right hand side gace the Orient full back a torrid time before delivering quality balls into the box.

Orient went down to 10 men on 68 mins when Sean Thornton got a second yellow for handball. They stuck at their task though and nearly robbed the game. As the clock wore down they had a couple of forrays towards City's goal. Fortunately City dealt with the threat.

Darren Purse was subbed on the stroke of half time and City, without another defender in the squad, had to rely on Darcy Blake as a makeshift centre half.

So how did the new boys do?

Well they are obviously short of match fitness but the quality of movement and many of the touches by both Fowler and Hasselbaink had the crowd thrilled. Both tired, we expected that but both showed they could real assets this season. They could have both picked up hat tricks tonight if Nelson wasn't having the game of his life in the Orient goal. There's a gag in their somewhere about his namesake and battling like Trafalgar but I'll stick with my headline as my line of the night.

I thought Hasselbaink was finished around the 70 minute mark but he stayed the distance and played the full game. Fowler was subbed one minute from the end of injury time so he managed over 90 mins as well.

Unlike the last two league games City managed to avoid giving away a silly goal and as such didn't revert to lumping desperate balls forward. We had a thoroughly entertaining 90 mins of football. The best team won, the most deserving team won but full credit to Orient who battled hard and especially to their keeper who was just brilliant.

Cardiff are into round three where the draw is open (no seeds) and the 32 clubs involved include the 8 Premier League teams who are in Europe (Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal etc).