A historic day for the O’s as they sealed promotion in the dying stages away to Oxford
- Credit: Archant
A huge moment in Leyton Orient history came just over 14 years ago when they secured promotion to League One but relegated Oxford to the Conference on a dramatic final day.
The O’s sealed a late 3-2 victory over Oxford thanks to goals from Craig Easton, Gary Alexander and Lee Steele.
Eric Sabin put Oxford ahead with a right-foot strike, but Orient equalised through Craig Easton’s header after some neat work from Adam Tann and Wayne Corden.
The visitors took the lead when Gary Alexander chipped the ball past Billy Turley despite pressure from the Oxford defence before Chris Willmott headed Oxford level.
Willmott was sent-off late on and deep in injury time Lee Steele surged through Oxford’s defence to sidefoot home the winner to seal promotion and end Oxford’s 44-year League status.
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Jubilant scenes followed at full-time, with almost 5,000 travelling O’s fans in attendance to see Leyton Orient get promoted, and the celebrations carried on until the night.
Manager, Martin Ling, warned post match: “You might find me in the gutter later tonight.”
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The O’s were then promoted into League One for the first time since 1995 - although it proved to be a real struggle for the Brisbane Road club at first.
The season in general was full of highs including a big FA Cup run where they knocked out Premiership side Fulham out of the FA Cup before falling to a narrow defeat at Charlton Athletic in the fifth round.
Most fans believe the cup run gave them the confidence to push on later in the campaign to put them in a position where they could gain promotion with that huge win on the final day.
Leyton Orient: Garner, Tann, Mackie, Zakuani, Lockwood, Corden (Ibehre 82), Simpson (McMahon 87), Easton, Keith (Tudor 79), Steele, Alexander.
Used subs: Morris and Barnard.