My name is Tom Hardy. I’m currently a third-year Football Business and Media student at UCFB Wembley. I’ve recently started covering football matches from Premier League to non-League and strive to become a full-time football journalist in the future. I joined the Young Reporters’ Club in February and am really enjoying it so far!
Macauley Bonne’s close-range strike gave Leyton Orient a first-leg lead over AFC Telford United in the Buildbase FA Trophy semi-final at the Breyer Group Stadium.
Orient dominated the game for large spells and Justin Edinburgh’s side emerged victorious to go one step closer to Non-League Finals Day at Wembley in May.
It was, however, the National League North side Telford, who started the stronger with winger Ryan Barnett and top scorer Daniel Udoh troubling the O’s in the early stages.
- The FA Buildbase Trophy
- Semi-Final, first leg
- Saturday 16 March 2019
- Breyer Group Stadium, Leyton Orient FC
The home side had the first clear cut chance of the tie though as Dale Gorman’s free-kick was parried into the path of Bonne, only for the Zimbabwe international to head wide.
Orient then wasted a chance on the break from a Telford corner as the National League leaders struggled with fluidity in the forward areas.
The Stags’ best chance of the half fell to the feet of Darryl Knights, after great work by Barnett down the right-hand side before he saw his effort blocked by Orient defender Marvin Ekpiteta.
O’s striker Bonne once again failed to capitalise on a Wycherley spill, blasting into the stands after Jobi McAnuff’s initial shot, much to the delight of the travelling Telford fans behind the goal.
Timely Telford stoppages disrupted of the flow of the game and prevented the home side finding their rhythm as half time beckoned, with Gavin Cowan the happier of the two managers.
Bonne then saw an effort blocked by Theo Streete to end the half, as the sides went in at the break all-square.
A mazy run from Telford marksman Udoh began the second half, with the West Midlands club looking for their first visit to Wembley since reforming as AFC Telford United in 2004.
But the only goal of the contest came in the 54th minute, as a cross from Jamie Turley was nodded down by Matt Harrold into the path of strike partner Bonne.
His trio of first-half misses could have phased the 23-year-old, but instead he blasted the ball home on the turn to give Orient the advantage.
The goal was Bonne’s 21st of the season as the O’s finally asserted their dominance of possession and chances into the opening goal.
And the away side were now clearly second best although a mix-up in the Orient defence almost presented an opportunity for Udoh to breakaway.
Ekpiteta, whose mistake almost let the Stags’ in moments earlier, came to Orient’s rescue when he blocked an Andre Brown strike following a Brendon Daniels corner.
And a McAnuff header was cleared off the line by Daniels as Orient looked for the two-goal cushion to put them firmly in the driving seat.
The relatively untested Dean Brill was eventually forced into a save, as Udoh’s low effort proved to be Telford’s best chance of recovering a draw ahead of the second-leg at Telford next Saturday.
Leyton Orient: Brill (GK), Ling (Coulson, 46), McAnuff (C), Clay, Bonne, Happe, Brophy, Gorman (Koroma, 68), Harrold (Dayton, 80), Ekpiteta, Turley
Substitutes not used: Sargeant (GK), Alabi
AFC Telford XI: Wycherley (GK), White, Morley (Daniels, 20), Royle, Sutton (C), Streete, Barnett (Smith, 81), McQuilkil, Morgan-Smith (Brown, 65), Udoh, Knights
Substitutes not used: Martinez (GK), Lilley
Attendance: 3,622 (429 away)