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Joe Widdowson’s hoping Leyton Orient have smoother FA Trophy progression this time

PUBLISHED: 08:00 23 February 2018

Joe Widdowson clears the ball forward for Leyton Orient against Sutton United (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Joe Widdowson clears the ball forward for Leyton Orient against Sutton United (pic: Simon O'Connor).

07958 573219 simon.oconnor@virgin.net

Justin Edinburgh’s team have had some type of scare in every round so far and face a tough test on Saturday when Gateshead visit Brisbane Road

Leyton Orient left-back Joe Widdowson blocks a shot by Dagenham & Redbridge attacker Morgan Ferrier during the first encounter between the clubs in the FA Cup on October 14 2017 (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo). Leyton Orient left-back Joe Widdowson blocks a shot by Dagenham & Redbridge attacker Morgan Ferrier during the first encounter between the clubs in the FA Cup on October 14 2017 (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo).

Leyton Orient have had quite a lot of drama in the FA Trophy so far, but left-back Joe Widdowson is hoping the nerves of the fans won’t be too shredded come the conclusion of Saturday’s quarter-final at home to divisional rivals Gateshead.

The O’s have not done things the easy way in the most prestigious competition in non-league football, despite largely facing weaker sides.

In the first round at Haringey Borough of the Bostik North, they needed an 80th minute winner from Matt Harrold having fallen behind early on at Coles Park.

Extra-time was needed to get past National League South strugglers Bognor Regis Town in round two while in the last-16 at National League foes Dover Athletic, Orient threw away a three-goal lead before scoring in stoppage time to win 4-3.

Widdowson reflected on the O’s journey in the FA Trophy so far and said: “I hadn’t even thought about it, but there has been a bit of drama in every round hasn’t there?

“I guess we haven’t really done it the easy way, but hopefully it can be a bit smoother against Gateshead. It’s a home tie and our first at Brisbane Road in this competition, so hopefully we can put in a good performance and progress to the semi-finals.

“Obviously we are only a few games away from Wembley, so the incentive is there for all of us to keep pushing.”

The O’s preparation for their quarter-final tie hasn’t been easy, but it is the same for all clubs with the National League pencilling in league fixtures for this midweek.

Orient had to visit Chester on Tuesday night while Gateshead had to travel to Barrow before they could both turn their attention to the clash at Brisbane Road this weekend.

Edinburgh’s men earned a 1-0 success at the Blues with James Brophy scoring the only goal of the game while the Heed fought back from a goal down to claim a 1-1 draw at Holker Street despite only having 10-men.

The away win moved O’s up to 15th in the table and eight points clear of the bottom four ahead of this Saturday’s last-eight tie.

Widdowson added: “The FA Trophy has been a nice distraction from the league, but we are not happy with how we have done in the league this season.

“Myself, the staff and all the players believe we should be doing much better than we are, but this competition has been a positive.

“Our performances in the FA Trophy have been good and we’ve taken it really seriously and been up for it and been competitive, so hopefully that continues and we can keep progressing to the final.”

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