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Orient manager Slade praises legend Finney after poignant Preston clash

13:26 16 February 2014

Captains Nathan Clarke and John Welsh present wreaths to the Finney family. Pic by Simon O

Captains Nathan Clarke and John Welsh present wreaths to the Finney family. Pic by Simon O'Connor

2 BURNHAM RD CHINGFORD LONDON E4 8PE

It was always going to be a poignant occasion as Leyton Orient joined their hosts Preston in remembering their favourite son Sir Tom Finney, who died on Friday.

O’s manager Russell Slade was full of praise for the tributes to the great man and called Finney a “legend” for his “loyalty.”

“We were very respectful of the situation and it was great to see so many people here,” he said. “The minute’s silence was done in spectacular fashion.

“People use the word legend too loosely. But Sir Tom Finney was an absolute legend. “Not just for his football which was unique but because he was so loyal, and you find that’s not often the case in football today.”

The game itself was understandably subdued with clear chances few and far between.

Mathieu Baudry wasted an early chance to give the visitors the lead, firing straight at Declan Rudd from close range, but Eldin Jakupovic had to be alert on his return to the O’s goal to keep out Craig Davies and Neil Kilkenny.

Baudry did put Orient in front just before the break when he volleyed in Kevin Lisbie’s knockdown but the Frenchman gave away a spot kick in the second half after tangling with Davies, Garner converting from 12 yards to ensure the spoils were shared.

That penalty was one of two refereeing decisions that irked Slade, the other being what seemed a clear handball outside the penalty area by Preston goalkeeper Rudd to keep out a Romain Vincelot shot.

“For me the penalty situation was an excellent dive,” he said.

“And Rudd is three or four metres outside his box and he’s got a good arm on it. We’re very disappointed the referee didn’t spot it and give him a red card.”

Slade made three changes from the side which lost 3-1 at home to Bristol City. Jakupovic replaced Shwan Jalal in goal while David Mooney and Lloyd James came in for Chris Dagnall and Marvin Bartley respectively.

But the biggest surprise was a place on the bench for Shaun Batt, who had been expected to miss most of the rest of the season with a torn hamstring.

The forward played the final 10 minutes and Slade praised the medical staff for getting him “back ahead of schedule.”

One time England striker Kevin Davies missed a late header to win the game for the Lilywhites, but the O’s boss thinks that would have been harsh on his team.

“We were set up well and there weren’t many chances at either end,” said Slade.

“We didn’t deserve to lose. We might reflect at the end of the season that it was an important point when you’re 1-0 up and the penalty decision goes against you then you might think it could have been three.”

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