Rotherham United defender Joe Skarz has revealed he had only one thought as teammate Alex Revell prepared to go for Wembley glory.
In-form Revell was about to pull the trigger from 35 yards and score one of the greatest goals in Millers history.
But all Skarz could think was: “Don’t shoot!”
“I can laugh about it now,” the 24-year-old left-back said. “But at the time I didn’t want him to take it on. He just seemed so far from goal.”
Revell duly did the business with a dipping volley to swing the League One Play-off Final the way of the Millers who went on to seal promotion to The Championship via a penalty shoot-out after the two clubs had been locked at 2-2.
“Wembley was a great day for the club. It was a long, hard league season of 49 games if you include the play-off matches but it ended in a way you can only dream about,” Skarz added.
“We couldn’t have written the script better; 2-0 down and fighting back. Then down in the penalty shoot-out and fighting back. It summed up our season and what this team is all about.
“Revs is such an important player in the way we play. He works so hard and a lot of what we do goes through him.
“What he does is really appreciated by the players. He takes the bruises and batterings he gets from opposing centre-halves and just gets on with it.
The Millers’ refusal to accept defeat when they trailed by two goals typified the spirit manager Steve Evans’ men showed throughout the season, said Skarz
“Even when we were 2-0 down at half-time we still really believed we could do it,” he revealed.
“If Leyton Orient had scored a third, it would have been really hard for us because they would have just shut up shop, but at 2-0 behind we still felt we were in it.
“It helped that we scored our first goal quite early in the second half and that we were back in by 60 minutes. That really gave us the momentum to go for the equaliser.
“We have a never-say-die attitude. There is real team spirit and a bond between the players.
Skarz, who joined the Millers from Bury on a permanent deal before the start of the 2013/14 season after starring during the 2012/13 League Two promotion-winning campaign while on loan, added: “It was just amazing. I had to go off in the second half with a face injury when Orient’s Mike Batt caught me with an elbow and it was hard to watch.
“You could see in extra time that the lads were really tired and you’re just hoping and praying on the touchline that they can see it through.
“Robert Milsom came on in my place and did a fantastic job. Richard Brindley came on at right-back and didn’t put a foot wrong.
It just shows what depth we have in the squad.
“I keep seeing all the photos and videos.
“It’s a day I’ll never forget.”