FA Trophy: AFC Telford United 1 Leyton Orient 2 (1-3 on agg)
- Credit: Archant
Ten-man Leyton Orient booked a place in the FA Trophy final at Wembley Stadium with victory at AFC Telford United on Saturday.
Matt Harrold put Justin Edinburgh’s men ahead in Shropshire, before seeing red in the first half.
But after the home side hit back to level through Ellis Deeney, Josh Coulson headed a second-half winner to secure aggregate victory and a meeting with Fylde at the national stadium.
Leadinng 1-0 from the first leg at Brisbane Road a week earlier thanks to Macauley Bonne’s 54th-minute goal, O’s welcomed Josh Koroma and Joe Widdowson back into their starting line-up, while Jamie Turley replaced Sam Ling due to the hamstring injury he suffered on home turf.
And the visitors had an early scare on two minutes when Shane Sutton’s header was pushed onto a post by Dean Brill, who smothered the loose ball.
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Orient doubled their aggregate lead on six minutes, though, when a mix-up in the home defence saw a defender head the ball over his onrushing keeper, allowing Harold to pounce and slide home.
Turley headed over from a Jobi McAnuff corner, with the Jamaican midfielder having penalty claims waved away by referee Peter Wright after going down in the box soon after.
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O’s went close to extending their advantage on 19 minutes when Turley met another McAnuff corner, but saw the ball bounce off the top of the crossbar, before the home side saw James McQuilkin pounce on a loose ball and fire well over.
The National League leaders were reduced to 10 men on 26 minutes when goalscorer Harrold saw red for a foul on Sutton and Brill parried a strike from Smith on the half-hour mark, with Marvin Ekpiteta clearing the danger.
Turley went close from yet another McAnuff corner, with the ball dropping just wide, before Koroma fired over from distance.
But Telford’s Daniel Udoh hit the upright from close range on 39 minutes, before the home side levelled through Deeney.
Brill saved a long-range shot from Brendon Daniels during stoppage time, while Andy Wycherley pulled off an outstanding save to deny McAnuff on the stroke of half time.
The second half was barely a minute old when Ekpiteta produced a great tackle to deflect McQuilkin’s shot away from danger, with Theo Streete firing well over just before the hour mark.
And Brill gathered a header from Sutton at the far post on 62 minutes to keep the scores level, before Koroma made way for James Brophy midway through the second half.
Daniels smashed a 30-yard free-kick over Brill’s crossbar on 69 minutes, but Brophy then cut the ball back for Bonne, who fired just wide for O’s.
And the visitors regained the lead with 13 minutes left when Ekpiteta headed McAnuff’s cross in front of goal and Josh Coulson headed it over Wycherley and into the net.
McAnuff, Bonne, Craig Clay and Brophy were then involved in a superb move, with Brophy firing wide after getting on the end of a through ball into the box.
But O’s had Brill to thank for a stunning save six minutes from time, when a low cross was deflected goalwards, with Ekpiteta heading off the line to help clear the danger.
And Daniels sent a last-minute free-kick straight at the O’s keeper from 20 yards before Orient – who saw title rivals Solihull Moors and Wrexham both lose – could start celebrating.
Orient: Brill, Turley, Ekpiteta, Coulson, Happe, Widdowson, McAnuff, Clay, Koroma (Brophy 66), Harrold, Bonne (Alabi 90).
Unused subs: Sargeant, Gorman, Lee.