O’s boss Slade: “It’s probably one of the toughest moments for me as a manager”
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Leyton Orient boss Russell Slade admitted the manner of his side’s play-off final defeat to Rotherham United was a bitter pill to swallow.
The O’s held a 2-0 half time lead thanks to goals from Moses Odubajo and Dean Cox, only for an Alex Revell double to force extra time.
No winner was found in the 30 minutes, and penalties ensued. Hopes were raised after Lee Frecklington’s miss but Mathieu Baudry and Chris Dagnall saw their efforts saved by Millers goalkeeper Adam Collin and secure back to back promotions for Steve Evans’ side.
And the defeat understandably left both Slade and his players very dejected.
“It doesn’t feel too good, it’s probably one of the toughest moments for me as a manager and I am sure it’s a very tough moment for my players who have given everything yet again to the cause,” said Slade.
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“I have been in management long enough to know that 2-0 is a very difficult scoreline at half time.
“I just think the 15 minutes after half time where they really came at us we didn’t really deal with that as well as we ought to have done.”
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Slade did have one gripe after the defeat, with the O’s boss believing the free-kick which led to the first goal should not have been awarded, though he did praise the opposition for their comeback.
“I am just very disappointed with the way they got a free-kick, I don’t think it was a free-kick for the first goal,” he added.
“They are a little bit fortunate with that goal, the goalkeeper has punched it against Matty Baudry that has let the ball drop in for Alex Revell.
“Other than that it was two very tight teams and you have got to give credit to Rotherham for coming back in a final like that being 2-0 down.
“It was a good advertisement for our league, it was always going to be a tough game and unfortunately we have not been able to make it.”
Winning a penalty shoot-out can be the best way to win a match of that magnitude, but a defeat means it is even harder to take.
And it wasn’t a lack of practice of the spot kicks which saw the O’s miss out, and Slade believed Rotherham just had Lady Luck on their side.
“Penalties are cruel. It’s not like we’ve not practiced them. We have done that religiously,” he remarked.
“It’s all about the moment isn’t it and making sure in that moment that you do the right thing and get the ball in the net.
“Having said that, goalkeepers out there are not quite sure what your fourth or fifth penalty takers are going to do so there’s a bit of guess work in there as well. You need that little bit of fortune which Rotherham got.”