If only - as Orient boss Slade is preparing for next season

O’s boss already has his sights on next season

Plymouth Argyle 1 Leyton Orient 4

ORIENT made the long journey back from Plymouth with a short word - if - dominating their thoughts.

Russell Slade’s side finished their season with a comprehensive victory and ended just a single point behind Bouremouth, who claimed the final play-off place.

Another solitary win somewhere along their 46-match programme would have been enough for the O’s to make the top six.

If Orient had beaten Tranmere the previous weekend. If they had not dropped points at home to Dagenham & Redbridge, Yeovil and Carlisle during the run in. If they had not picked up injuries to key players during the closing stages of the campaign – it could have been so different.

But while those thoughts will occupy the players’ minds during the close season, the team can take a huge amount of positives from the season.

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Tipped by the bookies to go down, after a poor start they went on to record their highest finish since winning promotion to League One five years ago. They had a great FA Cup run and have the nucleus of a side that can challenge again next season.

The O’s made sure of the points against Plymouth with two goals in the first 15 minutes. Veteran striker Scott McGleish fired the visitors ahead from the penalty spot on 13 minutes to take his goal tally for the season to 18.

Two minutes later Dean Cox fired a free-kick into the corner of the net – a carbon copy start to when the sides met at Brisbane Road last month.

This time the scoring didn’t end there. Yala Bolasie pulled a goal back in the second half, but Argyle’s revival ended when goalkeeper Romain Larrieu was sent off for handing the ball outside the area.

Substitute Alex Revell, back after injury, saw his free-kick take a deflection and end up in the net, before he took his goal tally to 16, when he netted a minute from time. If only he had not missed the last six matches!

After the game O’s boss Russell Slade admitted: “Overall you have to say that it’s been a very, very good season. But when you get so close there’s still that tinge of disappointment that you’ve not got one of those top six slots.

“My attentions are already on next season and I’m looking at and speaking to players now.”

Leyton Orient: Butcher, Omozusi, Forbes, Barrett, Daniels, Spring (Chorley 67 mins), Dawson, Carroll (Chambers 80 mins), Cox, M’Poku, McGleish (Revell 67 mins). Subs: Whing, Crowe, Tehoue, Kane.

Orient bookings: Dawson, Barrett.

Attendance 11,501 (inc 395 Orient fans).

Referee: Dean Whitestone