SLADE’S BASK­ING IN RE­BIRTH OF ORI­ENT

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Tom Ede

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.”

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