Someone had to win. Unfortunately, in what ultimately proved to be the season of ‘almost’ the O’s came up short.
Missed out on promotion by a couple of wins and at Wembley they threw away a two-goal lead and failed in the spot-kicks lottery.
Those are the bare facts. But, you shouldn’t take away the immense pride I am sure everyone felt for the team and throughout this ‘season of seasons’.
It was unfortunate too that we were conquered by a side which finished below us in the final classification. After two close league games, this final was surely always going to down to wire – but it was former ‘O’ Alex Revell – reportedly offered a better deal to go to the Millers almost three years back – who once again came back to haunt us.
They say a two-goal lead is one of the most dangerous in football. The next third goal was always going to be crucial and by the way we started the second-half, I thought there was only going to be one winner.
You have to give credit to Rotherham though. They must have received a half-time grilling from their management and the free-kick that lead to their opener was delivered into almost no-mans land leaving our keeper with the dilemma of staying on his line or attempting a clearance.
The latter choice proved fatal but thanks to a deflection from a team-mate, the slip proved to be the turning point.
From then on, I thought there was only going to be one winner – not us - especially after Revell’s ‘worldy’ leveller – so it was perhaps a relief to get past extra-time unscathed – but unfortunate to lose out in the penalty shoot-out lottery.
Our time will come again surely and I am convinced this experience will only serve to make the team and club as a whole stronger and those 20,000 or so present on Sunday will come back in their droves to Brisbane Road next season.
If the noise generated at Wembley and to a lesser extent at home to Peterborough a couple of weeks – is anything to go by – then I hope we can make our home ground a fortress on and off the pitch.
Up the O’s,
Keep the faith.