Rowland Lyons reflects on a hugely-impressive performance from Leyton Orient in their biggest game of the season so far

Leyton Orient players take the applause of the O's fans at full-time on Tuesday. Picture: Action Images

Leyton Orient players take the applause of the O's fans at full-time on Tuesday. Picture: Action Images

First published in Sport by

The O’s are now 90 minutes from the Holy Grail of the Championship – the second division in old money – and after last night’s scintillating, pulsating win over Peterborough, who would bet against them reclaiming a spot at a level from which they slipped a mighty 32 years ago?

As the gaffer quite rightly said, the O’s won’t be going to Wembley just for a day out and having taken points of both semi-finalists, who would bet against us going one step further?

To be totally honest, I was doubting whether we would progress last night. I thought Posh were much improved from last Saturday’s stalemate and with their left-back snuffing out Moses Odubajo for long periods of the first-half, I just wondered when and if we would make that breakthrough.

But, with our visitors spurning chances from good positions - especially straight after the break – it seemed just a matter of time that it would be us, given the increasing amount of possession we were enjoying and the ‘impact’ players on the pitch and the options the gaffer had in the dugout.

So, cue Dean Cox, winger-cum-striker whose finish from his own rebounded free-kick that sent most of the stadium wild on the hour. He has already dug up trees with his exceptional tally of goals and assists this season, so it was perhaps fitting his fine effort should set the ball rolling.

Chasing the tie, Posh began to leave gaps at the back and with better finishing the game could have been over long before the super subs Shaun Batt and Chris Dagnall had combined for the latter to bag our winner.

However, with a two-goal lead, seemingly cruising and that much-coveted place booked in the play-off final, United grabbed a consolation they probably deserved by way of the contribution they made to such an entertaining clash.

From thereon the last three minutes of stoppage time seemed an eternity and typically they gained a corner – which on another day goes in and we’re faced with extra-time. But, it didn’t and cue scenes rarely witnessed at Brisbane Road.

The rest is history and Russell Slade’s men can make history of their own when they step out at the national stadium on Sunday week.

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