SLADE’S BASKING IN REBIRTH OF ORIENT
LEYTON ORIENT boss Russell Slade says his club are “reborn” after reaching the play-off final.
Orient, who finished a respectable seventh last season, were tipped for mid-table mediocrity before a ball was kicked this term and upset the odds by simply reaching the play-offs.
But after seeing off Peterborough 2-1 on Tuesday night – deservedly sealing a 3-2 aggregate triumph – Slade claims the confidence is coursing through the players’ veins once again.
And with Rotherham lying in wait at Wembley next Sunday, he is adamant Orient can prove the doubters wrong and rise to the second tier for the first time since 1982.
“It was a like a football club being reborn, there was a real belief and togetherness and if we are together we can achieve a lot of things,” said Slade, who was mobbed at the final whistle by Orient fans who had streamed onto the pitch.
“It was an amazing night for the club, and I’m sure it will live on in its history, we have achieved something quite remarkable already by getting to Wembley, but we’re not going there to make the numbers up.
“I thought the players were an absolute inspiration and I thought the crowd were an inspiration.
“I’ve never seen any- thing like that in the fourand-a-half years that I’ve been here.”
With the scores level at 1-1 after Saturday’s draw at London Road, Posh wasted a number of early opportunities to take the lead.
Their best first-half moment came when prolfic frontman Britt Assombalonga collected a flick from Nicky Ajose and sent an angled shot over the bar.
Orient took the lead on the hour when Dean Cox volleyed in after his freekick had been blocked.
They extended their advantage with two minutes remaining when Chris Dagnall poked home before Conor Washington set up a tense finale by pulling a goal back in stoppage time.
But the O’s fans were not to be stopped and Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson hopes they are celebrating again next weekend.
“I have to congratulate Orient and I really hope they go on and win it now,” said Ferguson.
“In my opinion I don’t know if Orient have done enough over the two legs to go through.
“The difference was they were more clinical.
“To have four three-onthree situations in the first 45 minutes and not take advantage of any of them, that was our downfall.”