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Play-off duo two of a kind

Leyton Orient take on Rotherham in the League One play-off final at Wembley on Sunday and the purists will be happy as the two highest-ranked sides meet for the chance to play in the Championship next season.

Both sides have had fantastic campaigns, achieving well beyond expectation, and they did it playing in an attacking manner that was fantastic to watch.

There was little to separate them over the course of the League One campaign as they both finished on 86 points, with Russell Slade’s men earning third position thanks to a better goal difference, while the two previous games this season finished with one win apiece and an aggregate of 2-2.

So, although an open and entertaining game is on the cards at the home of football, it is expected to be close as they are two teams that have had uncannily similar seasons.


Both sides knew where the net was in the regular campaign, with Rotherham bagging 86 goals and Orient 85, both averaging a goal every 51 minutes. Only runaway leaders Wolves scored more with 89.

It goes without saying that for all those goals to go in there had to be a fair amount of creativity and there were chances galore, with the Millers averaging 12.9 shots per match and the O’s 11.3. Nothing could separate their top assist-makers either as Ben Pringle and Dean Cox both created 13 goals in the regular season.

Their attacking prowess was not restricted to home soil as both sides racked up an impressive 42 goals on their travels, the best in the Football League, better Leicester and Wolves who both registered 100 points in their respective divisions.

Despite their impressive tally, the Millers actually failed to find the net on nine occasions, compared to Orient’s four which was the best record in the division. However, the Millers managed to accrue four points when they didn’t score, while Orient could only secure one goalless draw.


It has been an incredibly consistent season for both sides, with Steve Evans’ men beaten just eight times and Orient 10. The O’s enjoyed a record-breaking start to their season, winning their first eight of a 12-match unbeaten. That was their best run of the season, but it was beaten by the Millers 16-game unbeaten stretch at the start of 2014. The longest Rotherham had to go without a victory was five games in the autumn, while Orient’s longest winless streak was four games in February.

That consistency helped both teams hold an impressive record against teams who finished in the top half. Rotherham took 35 points from top-half opposition, compared to Orient’s 33, though seven of Rotherham’s eight defeats came in those games.

But one thing that has been the driving force of fantastic seasons is an incredible durability. The Millers’ penchant for late goals has been well documented, but they rescued an impressive 23 points from losing positions and that was the best in the division, one more than Orient, who hauled back 22 points.

Perhaps the most crucial stat in predicting how the game will go falls in the Millers’ favour, though. Evans’ unwavering we’ll-score-one-more approach has seen his side register a mammoth 16 points when they have conceded two or more goals in their games, a healthy five more than anyone else.

So the stats say it will be a clash full of goals, with Rotherham coming from behind after conceding two goals. The Millers to win 3/2 at 30/1could be a sensible bet!

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