Bonne hands O’s slender advantage, but this tie is far from over
- Credit: Archant
FA Trophy semi-final first leg: Leyton Orient 1 AFC Telford United 0
Macauley Bonne’s 54th-minute goal handed Leyton Orient a 1-0 win over AFC Telford United in the FA Trophy semi-final first-leg this afternoon, but only after he had missed two excellent chances earlier in the contest.
The club’s top goalscorer failed to hit the target from close range on two occasions in the first half, although made amends in east London nine minutes into the second 45 with a smart finish for his 21st goal of the season.
Justin Edinburgh will be pleased his team take an advantage to Telford for the second leg, but he will also know this is far from over against a very determined and hard-working National League North side.
Orient made three changes to the team which just about got over the line away to Aldershot Town in the National League on Tuesday night.
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Josh Coulson dropped to the bench while Joe Widdowson and Jordan Maguire-Drew missed out through injury.
Dale Gorman came in for Maguire-Drew with captain Jobi McAnuff playing the role behind the forwards while James Brophy lined up as left wing-back with Jamie Turley at the heart of defence.
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Telford travelled in numbers and were given the whole of the North Stand with the East Stand shut for this tie.
The Bucks supporters were making plenty of noise before kick-off and the away side made a strong start in E10.
Playing in a 3-4-1-2 formation as well, right wing-back Ryan Barnett attacked well in the second minute, but saw his cross drift out of play for a goal kick.
O’s didn’t need long to get on the front foot though, and should have taken the lead with seven on the clock.
Gorman saw his free kick effort punched out unconvincingly by Andy Wycherley and it went straight to Bonne, but he headed wide from six-yards.
A string of fouls halted the flow of the semi-final first leg after before Orient started to build up ahead of steam.
The closest they came was when Matt Harrold headed over in the 16th minute and then another delay occurred with Steph Morley down injured.
Bucks’ left wing-back eventually had to be replaced with Brendon Daniels the man to replace him with 19 played.
Orient were enjoying the vast majority of possession, but the final ball was lacking as Harrold and McAnuff saw their wires crossed on a couple of occasions.
The two 3-4-1-2 formations seemed to be cancelling each other out, but Telford created a good opportunity in the 36th minute.
Barnett again did well on the right and his cross was headed out to Darryl Knights, who took a touch and composed himself, but his effort from 12-yards was crucially blocked by Ekpiteta.
It was an excellent opening for Gavin Cowan’s side and yet Orient should have gone in front with six minutes of the half remaining.
A Telford clearance fell kindly for Brophy and he managed to get past three players before McAnuff let fly from 25-yards.
Wycherley made the save, but again parried out to Bonne and despite taking his time, he fired wide of the target, this time from eight-yards.
After squandering a great chance early on, Orient’s top goalscorer had missed another and the deadlock was still to be broken.
Bonne was in the thick of the action in the 43rd minute too, although he appeared to be harshly penalised by referee David Rock.
The O’s number nine challenged with Theo Streete in the air and the Bucks defender did look to lead with his arm.
Despite this, referee Rock gave a foul against Bonne and the Telford centre back went down and needed treatment.
Edinburgh was furious on the touchline and so were the Orient players, but once all the commotion was over, the visitors had a free kick.
Four minutes of stoppage time was added on at the end of the 45 and there was time for Bonne to have an effort blocked and Gorman to slice well wide, but at the break it was still goalless in this FA Trophy semi-final first leg.
O’s made a change at the break with Ling making way for Coulson in a move which seemed to be enforced.
Turley went out to right wing-back, but Orient had to defend at the beginning of the half as Daniel Udoh ran at the hosts defence and worked some space, but dragged his shot from 22-yards wide.
Soon after the enforced half-time substitution helped produce the opening goal of the tie to the east Londoners in the 54th minute.
A cross out wide from Turley was knocked down intelligently by Harrold and Bonne on this occasion managed to hit the target and despite a deflection, his shot from close range ended up in the back of the net.
It was his 21st goal of the campaign and a timely one after going seven matches in all competitions without finding the net.
With Orient finally ahead, they seemed to have more confidence now and Brophy got forward well minutes later, but his dangerous cross was well blocked by Streete.
The left wing-back was involved again in the 64th minute, but his corner was headed wide by Bonne from 12-yards.
O’s made their second change with 23 minutes left and it was the return of talented academy graduate Josh Koroma.
He entered the pitch in place of Gorman and received a big cheer from the E10 fans on his comeback appearance since a hamstring injury suffered on January 26.
Usual centre back Turley was enjoying his stint at right wing-back as he produced a fine cross in the 69th minute, but it was just too ahead of Brophy and he could only head well wide.
Koroma’s introduction saw McAnuff move back into the middle with Craig Clay and it seemed to suit the skipper while Orient’s number 19 immediately showed touches of class.
Telford were almost presented with a golden chance with 17 minutes left when a mix-up at the back was just about prevented by the hosts.
Ekpiteta passed beyond Coulson, who had come to pass the ball on, but fortunately for Orient, Ekpiteta got back to win the ball from Udoh and halt the danger.
The danger was not over there as the Bucks forced a corner moments later and Shane Sutton knocked down for substitute Andre Brown, but his effort was blocked by Ekpiteta.
Both teams were looking for a goal now and O’s almost doubled their advantage with 12 minutes left.
Good work by Brophy on the left saw him pick out Turley with a cross and his header looked to be creeping in, yet Telford captain Sutton got back on the line to clear.
More changes were made after with James Dayton replacing Harrold for Orient and the away side bringing on Dom Smith for the dangerous Barnett.
As the seconds ticked away in E10, Telford now found a second wind and tested Dean Brill for the first time with 84 on the clock.
O’s number one punched away the first delivery into the area and then did the same to Jon Royle’s cross, but it dropped nicely for Knights and he saw a shot squirm past Brill, although not beyond Clay who had got back on the line.
It was the beginning of a purple period for the visitors as Udoh caused more problems for Orient minutes later as he dribbled into the area, but he could only fire straight at Brill from 10-yards.
Three minutes of stoppage time was added on at the end of the 90 and despite more loud support from the Telford fans, they couldn’t produce a late equaliser.
O’s had secured a sixth consecutive victory and it means they will take an advantage to Shropshire for the second leg, but it will not be easy next Saturday.
Bucks had chances towards the end and backed by even more fans, they will fancy their chances of causing an upset.
For Edinburgh and his squad, part one of the job is done and they will have to make sure they back it up in order to book an end-of-season trip to Wembley.
Leyton Orient: Brill; Ekpiteta, Turley, Happe; Ling (Coulson 46), Clay, Gorman (Koroma 67), Brophy; McAnuff ©; Bonne, Harrold (Dayton 80).
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Alabi.
AFC Telford United: Wycherley; Streete, Sutton ©, White; Barnett (Smith 82), Royle, McQuilkil, Morley (Daniels 19); Knights; Morgan-Smith (Brown 65), Udoh.
Unused substitutes: Martinez, Lilley.
Attendance: 3,622 (492 AFC Telford United supporters).