FAITH AS POSH ARE LET OFF THE HOOK
Dominant O’s fail to take their chances
LEYTON Orient boss Russell Slade was left to rue a duff call from a linesman and the errant finishing of his own players after the O’s blew the chance to take a hefty lead to Brisbane Road.
Replays showed that Britt Assombalonga was way offside when he bundled home to give Posh an early lead.
And whilst Orient did eventually equalise through Moses Odubajo, they also missed a string of chances with Dean Cox, Kevin Lisbie and Odubajo himself all fluffing their lines.
“I wasn’t happy with the goal they scored,” said Slade. “Assombalonga’s got the last touch and he’s clearly in an offside position. For that not to be seen is very, very disappointing.
“But full credit to my team. They dug in. I thought we were dominant second half and created chances all afternoon.We missed too many but thankfully we got one in the end.
“On another day, on a better pitch, the game might have got away from Peterborough. I thought we had a grip of them. But it is what it is. It’s evenly poised and it promises to be a tough fight.”
Darren Ferguson wore the expression of a man given a get-outof-jail-free card and, while Posh had legit claims for a penalty when Assombalonga tumbled, the Posh boss could barely hide his jubilation at dodging a bullet.
“We started well and when we were composed on the ball, we caused them problems,” he said. “But overall, they were better than us on the day.
“Second half, we didn’t keep the ball well enough. We lost a poor goal.
“But if I was in their camp, I’d feel it was a missed opportunity. I think we’ve got a great chance now to go on and win the tie.
“Today was always the game that concerned me. I think it suits us better away from home and history has shown we’re very good at oneoff games.”
Posh did indeed start the brighter and having survived a scare from Kevin Lisbie, took the lead when Jamie Jones spilled Danny Swanson’s low drive into the path of Mark Little.
The full-back lashed across goal and the muscular Assombalonga, from an offside position, held off Nathan Clarke to nudge home his 33rd goal of a spectacular season.
Thereafter, Orient did more to preserve Peterborough’s lead than the men in blue shirts. Time and again the away side took advantage of hesitant defending to fashion excellent chances.
But time and again, both legs and minds turned to jelly in the box, resulting in a succession of keystone cops goalmouth scrambles.
Cox fluffed a header, Lisbie’s effort was more like a backpass and, in the second half, Odubajo elected to pass with the whole goal to aim at.
But the goal that Orient deserved finally came when sub Shaun Batt – who spent two years at London Road – nodded down for Cox to shoot. Bobby Olejnik saved, but Odubajo was on hand to sweep home the rebound.
“He’s a handful Batty,” said a rueful Ferguson. “I signed him for £5,000. He’s a good player, a great lad.
“And you can see what he does – he’s awkward, he’s gangly, he’s quick. He caused us problems.”
Odubajo and Cox both went close in the dying stages, with Peterborough certainly the more relieved to hear the final whistle.
Slade added.“I said to the lads at half time ‘We don’t have to go looking for any magical recipe. It’s the values that we talk about – never giving up, the work ethic, the togetherness.’ That’s what wins you things.
“It’s no good wishing we get to Wembley. It’s no good wishing we’ll win on Tuesday.
“Wishing never won anything. It’s all about hard work.”
BREAKTHROUGH: Britt Assombalonga heads in Peterborough’s controversial opener
STAR MAN ROMAI