As the O’s prepare for the play-offs, we take a look at the Orient players and staff who have experienced it all before:
The Orient boss has experience of play-offs, reaching two finals in two consecutive seasons. However he is yet to win promotion via the play-offs.
In 2005/06, Russell Slade kept Grimsby Town in the League Two automatic promotion places for much of the season. In the final month of the campaign the Mariners slipped to 4th place, but they were still in contention for a top three finish going into the final day. Grimsby needed 3rd placed Orient to drop points against Oxford and to take care of their own business by avoiding defeat against Northampton Town. As you will know Orient won promotion to League One by beating Oxford 2-3 on a tense afternoon. Meanwhile, Slade’s men only managed a draw against the Cobblers after conceding a late equaliser, meaning they had to settle for a play-off place.
Grimsby travelled to local rivals Lincoln City and won the first leg by a goal to nil. In the home leg they came from behind on the day to win 2-1, sending them to the final with an aggregate scoreline of 3-1.
They met Cheltenham Town in the League Two play-off final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, but missed out on promotion as they suffered a 1-0 defeat.
After missing out in the previous year with Grimsby, Slade lead his new club Yeovil Town to a 5th placed finish in League One in 2006/07.
The Glovers faced play-off favourites Nottingham Forest. Despite losing in the home leg after conceding two penalties, Yeovil managed to turn things around at the City Ground in a seven-goal thriller. The Glovers were 1-3 up after regular time, taking the tie to extra time. Forest eventually lost on the day by five goals to two, which sent Yeovil into the final with a 5-4 aggregate scoreline.
However, Slade fell at the final hurdle again as his Yeovil side lost 2-0 to Blackpool. Hopefully it will be third time lucky for Russell with the O’s.
Goalkeeping Coach/Chief Scout/Comedy Programme Columnist Kevin Dearden was a part of the Brentford side that finished 4th in Division Two in 1996/97.
The Bees won 2-1 in both legs of the semi-final against Bristol City. Dearden continued in goal for the final at Wembley against Crewe, but the Railwaymen won 1-0 to seal their promotion.
Kevin Lisbie was a member of the Charlton Athetic squad that won promotion to the Premeirship by winning the First Division play-offs in 1997/98. The Addicks beat Ipswich Town 2-0 over two legs before defeating Sunderland 7-6 on penalties in the final at Wembley. However Lisbie did not feature in any of the play-off games.
David Mooney had a taste of the play-offs while on loan at Charlton Athletic in 2009/10. The Addicks finished in 4th, setting up a League One play-off semi-final against Swindon Town.
Charlton lost the first leg at the County Ground 2-1 but they won by the same scoreline against ten-man Swindon in the second leg, with Mooney getting a goal. As a result, the match went to extra-time, during which the Addicks also had a man sent off. The two teams could not be separated after 120 minutes, but Charlton eventually lost 4-5 on penalties.
Scott Cuthbert played in the Swindon Town team that reached the League One play-off final at Charlton’s expense in 2009/10. The Robins had finished 5th in League One and Cuthbert lined up against Mooney in both legs.
Cuthbert also started in the final against Millwall at Wembley, but Swindon were denied promotion by a Paul Robinson goal that sent the Lions up to the Championship.
Shaun Batt started on the opposite side to Cuthbert in the 2009/10 final, making Batt a League One play-off winner with Millwall.
The Lions played out a goalless draw at Huddersfield before beating the Terriers in the return leg by two goals to nil. However Batt played no part in the semi-finals as he was not in the squad for the first match and he was an unused substitute for the second.
Nathan Clarke started in both legs of the 2005/06 League One play-off semi-finals for Huddersfield against Barnsley. The Terriers won the away leg 0-1, but they lost to the Tykes on home turf by three goals to one, meaning they lost 3-2 on aggregate.
He was also a part of Huddersfield’s League One playoff campaign in 2009/10. He was an unused substitute in the first leg, and like Shaun Batt he was on the bench again for the return leg, however he did manage to come on in the latter stages of the 2-0 defeat.
Robbie Simpson was an unused substitute in both of Huddersfield’s play-off matches in 2010. The Terriers had finished 6th in League One.
Romain Vincelot won the League Two play-offs in 2009/10 with Dagenham & Redbridge. The Daggers thrashed Morecambe 6-0 in the first leg at Victoria Road. The Shrimps won 2-1 at the Globe Arena, but their capitulation in the earlier game was too great to overturn as the Daggers won 7-2 on aggregate.
The final at Wembley was a five-goal thriller against Rotherham United that saw John Still’s side promoted to League One with a 3-2 win.
Mathieu Baudry came off the bench in extra-time during Bournemouth’s League One play-off semi-final against Huddersfield in 2010/11. The Frenchman wasn’t included in the Cherries’ squad for the first leg which ended 1-1.
The two teams were level at 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes in the second leg and a goal for each side in added time took the tie to a penalty shoot-out. Ten-man Bournemouth went on to lose 4-2 on penalties.
Chris Dagnall’s first experience of the play-offs was with Tranmere Rovers in the 2004/05 League One semi-finals against Hartlepool. Rovers were 2-0 down going into the second leg, but they managed to draw level on aggregate in the second leg. Dagnall came off the bench in extra-time but the teams remained level after 120 minutes. The striker converted his spot-kick in the shoot-out, but Tranmere lost 5-6 on penalties.
Dagnall reached the League Two play-off semi-finals with Rochdale in 2007/08. He played an important role, scoring against Darlington in both legs. The first match ended in a 2-1 defeat for the Dale, but they managed to turn things around with Dagnall contributing to a 2-1 scoreling on the day. The 3-3 aggregate scoreline took the tie to extra-time and despite being reduced to ten men, Rochdale held out for penalties. Dagnall was first to step up for his side and he scored from 12 yards, helping Rochdale to a 5-4 win.
Dagnall was named in the starting line-up for the final at Wembley, but Stockport sealed their promotion to League One with a 3-2 victory.
In the following season, Rochdale secured a play-off place by finishing 6th in League Two. The Dale hosted Gillingham for the first leg, but they couldn’t make home advantage count as they drew 0-0. In the second leg, Dagnall found the net for Rochdale, but they missed out on a final this time around as they lost 2-1.