Leyton Orient
Brisbane Road

Ground No. 147
Visited - Saturday 19th January 2008
Result - Leyton Orient 2-1 Luton Town
Competition - Coca-Cola League 1
Attendance - 5516

Brisbane Road had been a ground that I was avoiding for some time, with only two and then eventually three sides open, but after consolidating their place in League One, the club had finally completed the redevelopment by adding the North Stand in the summer of 2007. With this, I circled in the game against Luton, and when the day came round was looking forward to visiting, travelling down early and meeting up with a friend for a few pints before getting to the ground at 2pm.

From the outside, it is based on a tight site, with the East and West stands hugging the pavements adjacent. The West Stand in particular is quite imposing, standing tall and looking quite smart in contrast to the East Stand, which now looks quite sad and forgotten with the old offices and club shop boarded up, having moved to the opposite side of the ground when the West Stand was completed in 2005.

The South Stand is less imposing, and despite being nearly 10 years old now, still looks like a building site from the outside, whilst the new North Stand is hidden from view behind a row of houses.

After going in, it is much the same as outside. Attention is drawn to the West Stand, which has a good sized tier of seating, which unusually is dominated by a tall wall behind it, which contains executive boxes and offices looking out towards the pitch. The North Stand is a small, basic structure, as is the South Stand, although that is raised from the pitch, which means there are good views to be had from within. The only side left from pre-redevelopment is the East Stand, which is a single tier of wooden seating covered by a pitched roof and plenty of pillars restricting views. There is a gable sitting on top of the roof towards the North end, bearing the clubs name. Apparently it did used to sit in the middle, but the stand was shortened on the North side during redevelopment.

After taking a few pics, sitting in the South Stand, we went downstairs to the bar that the stand sat above. With big screens showing an earlier game, carpets and a smart d├ęcor, it was an excellent addition and with the bonus of drinks being the same price as the pub we were in beforehand, then it was a good place to go to before the game, and something a lot of clubs would benefit from having.

Eventually 3pm came around, and the game got underway. Luton had been in all sorts of trouble recently, having been deducted 10 points for going into administration, forced to sell their best players and seeing manager Kevin Blackwell hand in his resignation. Despite this though, they had still taken Liverpool to a replay in the FA Cup and seemed to take that form into this game, starting off the brighter side, looking particularly dangerous down the right hand side. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t convert their pressure into goals, and when your luck is down, apparently it really is, with them conceding a bizarre goal just before half-time. Goalkeeper, Dean Brill, had come out and collected a ball at the feet of Charlie Daniels, only for his momentum to carry him outside the box thanks to a slippery pitch. Dropping the ball, he let Daniels in, who played it back to an unmarked Adam Boyd to tap in a simple goal against his former club, making it 1-0 at the break.

Shortly afterwards the home side doubled their lead, this time not through luck, but after Andy Barcham had made a great run down the left on the break, cutting inside before chipping over Brill to make it 2-0. With that, it looked like game over, especially when the hosts could have gone 3-0 up, but for a miss from Barcham that looked much easier to score than his first chance, but Luton forced a way back in on 67 minutes, when from a corner, Keith Keane stabbed home. Both sides had chances after that, and Stuart Nelson in the Orient goal was forced to make a few saves, but when the referee blew his whistle, you could sense that Luton looked like a doomed side whom lady luck had well and truly deserted, not that that bothered the home fans too much, who spent the final 15 minutes of the game in party mood, creating a good atmosphere in the South Stand where we were sitting.

After watching the scores from other games come in downstairs in the bar, we eventually left the ground, heading back for a quick pint in the pub near Leyton tube station (The Birbeck Tavern), before making our way home.

Overall, it was a good trip. With the ground located just off Leyton High Street, it’s in a good location and just goes to prove that a small club can redevelop without designing a boring tin shed like other new stadiums popping up around the country. There is talk of the club moving out to the new Olympic Stadium once it’s built and the games are over, but that would be a crying shame as the club really seem to have done well, and Brisbane Road is certainly one of the better amongst the lower leagues and worthy of a visit.

Rear of the West Stand

The new Ticket Office and Club Shop

Rear of the South Stand

Rear of the East Stand

The old Ticket Office and Club Shop

The West Stand

The North Stand

The East Stand

The Gable on the East Stand

The West Stand

The North Stand

The East Stand

Brisbane Road Panoramic 1

Brisbane Road Panoramic 2


No comments:

Post a Comment