Orient book trip to Wembley
21:47 13 May 2014
League One Play-off: Leyton Orient 2 Peterborough 1 (3-2 on aggregate)
Orient talisman Dean Cox fired the O’s into their first Wembley appearance in 15 years – and they’re just 90 minutes away from a return to the second tier for the first time since 1982.
The winger settled a tense affair at Brisbane Road with his 16th goal of a hugely impressive season just after the hour mark, firing past Peterborough goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik after his free-kick had been blocked by the wall.
Substitute Chris Dagnall sealed their passage with a late goal to calm the nerves before Conor Washington pulled one back to fray those same nerves again.
The second leg was not as open as the first at London Road on Saturday, perhaps understandably so with what was at stake.
Posh were set up to play on the break and had the better chances before Cox’s decisive intervention. Danny Swanson blazed wide and Mark Little’s shot grazed the post as Jamie Jones’ goal led a charmed life.
Orient made one change from the first leg draw – Lloyd James slotting into the midfield in place of John Lundstram.
Posh made one change of their own with left back Kgosi Ntlhe dropping out after Moses Odubajo gave him a torrid time at London Road. Nathaniel Knight-Percival came in for him.
The atmosphere was cacophonous throughout and the O’s could have taken the lead within 60 seconds. Bobby Olejnik, so impressive in the first leg, flapped at a long throw but David Mooney could not gobble up the chance.
Clear cut chances were few and far between in the first period. Tommy Rowe tested Jones from distance and Kevin Lisbie headed a deep cross from Cox over he bar before hotshot Britt Assombalonga blazed over from the corner of the area.
Orient finished the half strongly with James testing Olejnik from distance and Mooney prodding wide after another mistake by the goalkeeper but it was Posh who started the second half on the front foot.
Swanson blazed wide when squaring the ball would have presented Assombalonga with an easy tap in.
Little’s shot flicked off the post to audible gasps from the sell-out Brisbane Road crowd but it was Cox who struck the decisive blow.
Lisbie was hacked down right on the edge of the area and after the winger’s original effort was blocked by the wall, the winger gave Olejnik no chance with the follow-up.
The goal was greeted with pandemonium as his team mates and fans alike piled on the smallest man on the pitch.
But the O’s gathered themselves to defend stoutly and substitute Shaun Batt could have made the game safe, but he was denied by Olejnik.
Dagnall did score though, prodding in after Batt used his searing pace to break clear down the right.
There was still time for Washington to grab one bag for Posh to make it a nervy final three minutes. And Craig Alcock headed over with practically the last action of the game.
It was Posh’s first ever play-off defeat but the final whistle was greeted with the obligatory pitch invasion – and O’s fans can dream about heading to Wembley on May 25.
Orient: Jones; Cuthbert, Baudry, Clarke, Omozusi; Odubajo, James, Vincelot, Cox (Dagnall 73); Mooney, Lisbie (Batt 68). Substitutes not used: Sawyer, Larkins, Bartley, Lundstram, Simpson.