O’s expect Telford to try and frustrate in first leg

PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 March 2019

Leyton Orient's Marvin Ekpiteta celebrates scoring against Wrexham with Jobi McAnuff and Macauley Bonne (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient's Marvin Ekpiteta celebrates scoring against Wrexham with Jobi McAnuff and Macauley Bonne (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

Leyton Orient have had several teams come to E10 this season with the main tactic of being hard to break down

There have been plenty of goals in AFC Telford United’s matches this year, but it would be no surprise to see them visit Leyton Orient on Saturday for the semi-final first leg in the FA Trophy and look to keep it tight.

Most clubs who travel to east London attempt to frustrate Justin Edinburgh’s team and Maidenhead United did it successfully on February 16.

Aside from the Magpies, O’s have dealt well with spoiling tactics in general, beating Blyth Spartans 1-0 in the previous round and seeing off Maidstone United at the end of January in the National League.

It therefore made a change last weekend for Wrexham to visit Orient and look to play and implement their style on the match, but Ross Embleton knows how most matches in E10 play out now.

He said: “It is not a shock anyone who comes here tries to make it difficult for us.

“It was nice for the state of the game that Wrexham had a go and wanted to be in it, but we know with any opposition when you go to a bigger club, you will try to make it difficult first and foremost.

“We know that, but hopefully everyone else is getting used to that now and it is all about sticking with the team because we always know we can come good and it is about the collective.

“It is about all of us – the players, staff and supporters – staying together. I am sure there will be some twists and turns because this is Leyton Orient and that is what happens, but hopefully there is not too many and we can achieve what we need to achieve.”

Leyton Orient assistant Ross Embleton issues instructions from the touchline against Wrexham (pic: Simon O'Connor).Leyton Orient assistant Ross Embleton issues instructions from the touchline against Wrexham (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Orient remain on course for a potentially historic non-league double of winning the FA Trophy and the National League title.

Wealdstone, Colchester United and Wycombe Wanderers are the only other clubs to say they have won the cup competition alongside the top flight division outside the Football League.

Yet the last of those to complete the double was Wycombe all the way back in 1993.

It shows the size of the task at hand, but O’s have boosted their chances of finishing the campaign with two trophies with a handful of hard-fought wins recently.

Edinburgh’s men were forced to hold on away to Havant & Waterlooville, Barrow and Aldershot Town and yet by hook or crook, they got the points in the end.

Assistant Embleton reflected on the improvement made by the team when it comes to handling spells in a match where they are under pressure.

He added: “We have to take into consideration a number of performances this season like AFC Fylde away and Chesterfield away where we had to defend well.

“We defended the box well and I feel the players have really improved on that this season – dealing with balls into the box.

“There will be moments where the ball drops and against Barrow they had two fortuitous goals, but on the whole we have defended our box well.

“When the board went up for six minutes against Wrexham, you feel like it is going to be an eternity, but I felt we were comfortable and when I look back at Barrow, once they scored their second they never had another shot on goal, so it speaks volumes.

“Although it feels tense and difficult, the boys have really improved the way they defend their box.”

Orient will probably have periods where they will need to be solid this weekend, but they will hope it is Telford doing the majority of the defending.

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