Preview – Leyton Orient (Away) – FA Trophy Semi Final (First Leg)
Telford take on Orient in FA Trophy Semi Final
Leyton Orient vs AFC Telford United
Buildbase FA Trophy Semi Final First Leg
Saturday 16th March 2019, 3pm kick off
The Bucks have a big fortnight ahead of them, as Gavin Cowan and his men prepare for the first of two matches against Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy semi final.
The sides meet at Brisbane Road this weekend before returning to the New Bucks Head for the second leg on Saturday 23rd March.
The Os are in fine form at the moment but have endured a topsy-turvy last few seasons. Just five years ago Orient finished 3rd in League One before losing the playoff final to Rotherham on penalties. And having only narrowly missed out on a place in the Championship, the East London club was taken over by Italian broadcasting mogul Francesco Becchetti.
But having inherited a team on the up, Becchetti oversaw a disastrous spell at the club. Just one season into the Italian’s ownership, the Os were relegated to League Two. And two more campaigns down the line, Orient found themselves demoted to the National League – ending their 112-year stay in the Football League.
By this point Becchetti could hardly have been more unpopular with the Orient fans. And with the Brisbane Road outfit seemingly in freefall, the Italian sold the club in June 2017 to a consortium headed by Nigel Travis – a lifelong Os fan and then-CEO of American food giants Dunkin’ Brands.
Orient’s life in non-league didn’t start as planned though, and a run of one win in 13 saw the club part ways with Steve Davis. Current boss, Justin Edinburgh, was appointed in November 2017 and steadied the ship, leading the Os to a 13th place finish. And this season the Os have gone from strength to strength as they look to reclaim their Football League status.
With a talented squad chocked full of experienced players such as keeper Dean Brill, centre half Josh Coulson and winger and captain Jobi McAnuff, Orient are very much in the hunt for the National League Premier title. The Os beat title rivals Wrexham at the weekend before seeing off Aldershot Town on Tuesday night to take their current win streak to five. And on top of that, Orient currently boast their division’s best defence, fourth-best attack and in 20-goal Macauley Bonne have one of non-league’s most dangerous marksmen.
The Os have obviously impressed in the Trophy, too, and have beaten Beaconsfield Town (4-0), Wrexham (1-0), Blyth (1-0) and Brackley Town (2-1) to get to this stage.
The Bucks, meanwhile, beat Darlington, Farsley, Hartlepool and Spennymoor before turning in another brilliant team performance to overcome Solihull in the quarter finals. And with just two games between the Bucks and Wembley, Cowan and the Telford faithful will be hoping to best higher league opponents at least one more time this season.
AFC Telford United: W-W-D-W-L
Last result: AFC Telford United 1-3 FC United
League position: 7th (National League North)
Top scorer: Daniel Udoh (24)
Leyton Orient: W-W-W-W-W
Last result: Aldershot Town 1-2 Leyton Orient
League position: 1st (National League Premier)
Top scorer: Macauley Bonne (20)
The Breyer Group Stadium,
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