Who says goalless draws are boring?
Although there weren’t loads of clear chances, it was intriguing to watch how United, with a patched-up defence, coped with the best footballing side to play at the Lane this season.
It was a battle of wits – organisation and doggedness against persistent prompting and probing. Cloughie seemed to realise early on that to slow them down we had to press them higher up the pitch to stop Jonathan Douglas running the game.
In the end Mark Howard had a lot to do. But none of it stretched or worried him.
You could see, though, why Wolves are top and Brentford second. Although not as free-flowing, Wolves are more clinical and cynical.
It will be interesting to compare Orient and Rotherham with these two in the next two games. Wolves and Rotherham both saw off Brentford comfortably, but Brentford did the same to Orient.
Plenty were saying they had never seen a referee reverse a penalty decision before.
It actually happened a few years ago with Matt Kilgallon at Derby, where, after awarding a penalty, Chris Foy was informed by his assistant that the tackle was good, and a corner was given instead.
This instance was slightly different in that a red card also resulted. We had a perfect view of Kieron Freeman’s tackle – a view as perfect as the tackle itself.
I’ve never seen a whole stand rise spontaneously as one in such an expression of disbelief. It would have been a treble wrong had it stood – a goal down, ten men and a suspension for Freeman.
A big well done to the assistant referee for sticking to his guns and persuading Mr Ilderton to change his mind. Doing so didn’t demonstrate weakness but strength.