Brackley Town  1-2  Leyton Orient   23/2/19 

Saints rue missed chances 

Brackley came to rue missed chances as a late Orient revival saw the National League side come from behind to knock out the holders in a thrilling FA Trophy quarter-final tie at a packed St James Park. 

“I can’t help but feel this is one that got away from us,” Kevin Wilkin said.  “We have let them off the hook because we had enough opportunities to have won the game.  But you have to take those chances and those moments can come back to haunt you which has been the case today.  We didn’t deserve to get beaten today but we just haven’t been sharp enough in front of goal.” 

The persistence of Matt Lowe on the right set up the opening goal on 24 minutes allowing Lee Ndlovu to apply the finishing touch to give Saints a deserved lead as Orient conceded for the first time in the competition this season.  Jimmy Armson was thwarted by keeper Dean Brill and Gaz Dean’s powerful header was cleared off the line as Orient buckled under waves of Brackley attacks. 

An incident on the hour frustrated Brackley as Ndlovu fought his way through to face Brill one on one only for the referee inexplicably to bring play back awarding a Saints free-kick.  

Armson could not convert Shane Byrne’s lobbed pass, volleying wide, as the home side continued to press to increase the advantage in a game that had become very open. 

Orient manager Justin Edinburgh rang the changes with three substitutions and the game began to swing the visitors’ way.  Jordan Maguire-Drew was pushed over to win a 68th minute penalty but McAuley Bonne saw his shot saved by Danny Lewis to his left.  However Orient were level six minutes later as substitute Matt Harrold slid the ball into the net from James Brophy’s cross and with seven minutes remaining The O’s went ahead through Dan Happe who rose to plant his header past Lewis direct from a corner. 

Still Saints had chances to hit back and, in the six minutes of added time, pinball football in the penalty area ended with a shot too high as the curtain finally came down on the FA Trophy holders’ campaign, a first defeat in the competition for exactly two years, as Orient progressed to the semi-final stage. 

Brackley Town:   Lewis, Myles (Nti 84), G.Walker, Byrne, Hall, Dean, Lowe, Fairlamb, Ndlovu, Armson, A.Walker.   Subs unused:  Sterling-James, Jeffers, Murombedzi, Jackson.  

Leyton Orient:  Brill, Ling, McAnuff (Harrold 65), Clay, Bonne, Judd (Maguire-Drew 57), Happe, Brophy, Gorman, Ekpiteta (Coulson 55), Simpson.     Subs unused:  Sargeant, Lee.  

Referee:   Richard Hulme            Assistants:  Oliver Mackey and Joshua Ainscow

Attendance:  1563