Fylde's Rowe prevents Orient from leaving non-league with league and FA Trophy double
PUBLISHED: 18:20 19 May 2019 | UPDATED: 18:20 19 May 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
FA Trophy final: AFC Fylde 1 Leyton Orient 0
Leyton Orient were unable to complete a 'Non-League Double' after AFC Fylde claimed a 1-0 win in the FA Trophy final at Wembley.
The O's started slowly under the arch and although they weren't punished, Danny Rowe showed his class eventually with a wonderful free kick on the hour mark.
In the end, that was all that separated the teams, but Justin Edinburgh's men did have their chances with Marvin Ekpiteta and Joe Widdowson hitting the post and Jordan Maguire-Drew having a shot blocked on the line by Matt Harrold of all people!
Orient finished their time in non-league with a defeat, but what a venue to say goodbye even if it had been concluded with a rare loss this season.
The last five years have featured more turbulent times than highs, but O's can now look forward to an exciting new chapter in the club's history with the team part of the Football League again.
Orient's game didn't kick off until 4.15pm, but it failed to stop the fans setting off early to make the most of the day at the national stadium.
With owners Kent Teague and Nigel Travis in place at Boxpark before midday, it was set to be a memorable occasion for everyone connected to the club.
Director Matt Porter and Texan Teague also paid a visit to The Green Man pub to say hello to other supporters who had arrived in North West London plenty of hours before the FA Trophy final.
Before that, there was the FA Vase final with former O's forward Kevin Lisbie's Cray Valley PM involved against Chertsey Town.
The two step five teams on the non-league pyramid were unable to be separated after 90 minutes, drawing 1-1, and so extra-time was required.
During the additional half an hour, 40-year-old Lisbie had to make way and left the Wembley pitch to warm applause with his distinguished career in football coming to an end with this appearance under the arch.
Unfortunately for the Londoner and his Cray Valley side, it didn't finish with a medal as Chertsey claimed the FA Vase with a 3-1 victory.
Now it was to the big event for O's and Fylde with preparations for the FA Trophy final getting underway and for some in the east London squad, it was the final time they would appear for the club.
Charlie Lee announced his two years with Orient would conclude after this outing at Wembley and despite being troubled by injuries on occasions, he had been a crucial component in this title-winning team.
Edinburgh stuck with the 3-4-1-2 formation which has served the O's so well over the last three months.
Captain Jobi McAnuff was fit to start and James Brophy featured behind a front two of Macauley Bonne and Josh Koroma.
Lee was on the bench alongside FA Trophy hero Harrold, who had scored three goals on the way to the final.
Fylde boss Dave Challinor made two changes to the team which lost 3-0 to Salford City at Wembley last weekend in the National League play-off final.
Orient didn't have to worry about that division anymore and they walked out to a thunderous reception from O's faithful, who had at least 24,000 in attendance.
Proceeding got underway, but after only five minutes a stoppage occurred when Josh Coulson and Neill Byrne clashed heads.
After a four minute delay, the game resumed with Orient's number six on the pitch, but Fylde's captain had to go through the concussion protocols and unfortunately was unable to carry on.
Tom Brewitt came on to replace Byrne and even though the Coasters defender didn't want to come off, it seemed the most logical decision after a serious blow to his head.
Having played at this stadium eight days ago, it was perhaps not a surprise Fylde started the better of the teams.
Brill was tested for the first time in the 18th minute when he pushed away Danny Rowe's cross before Nick Haughton drilled into the side-netting.
O's responded though, with Brophy winning a free kick, which McAnuff lifted high over the crossbar.
It was suddenly end-to-end with the dangerous Alex Reid testing Brill with 20 played, but Orient's experienced goalkeeper impressively parried wide the fierce effort.
Challinor's men remained on the front foot and despite Brophy firing at Jay Lynch from range, the east Londoners were struggling to create chances and keep the ball.
Reid was constantly causing problems for the champions, but Fylde seemed to drop off slight after the half an hour mark and O's began to move through the gears.
Brophy and Koroma's influence was growing and the youngster curled over in the 37th minute from 30-yards.
The Orient number 19 failed to hit the target again three minutes later - after a lovely one-two with Bonne - this time from just outside the area, but he and the winners of the National League were getting closer.
As the half came to a close, Fylde remembered how well they had played during the opening 30 minutes and should have taken the lead.
In the 43rd minute Rowe latched onto a loose ball and dragged an effort across the face of goal and it fell for Andy Bond at the back post, but his effort shaved the side-netting and went wide.
Fylde should have scored and two minutes later they had another excellent chance as Hughton dribbled past a couple of opponents and found Reid inside the area, but the presence of Marvin Ekpiteta put him off and he hit a shot straight at Brill.
Three minutes were added on at the end of the 45 and they went by with little to note and Challinor would have been the happiest of the managers with Edinburgh needing to ask for more from his players.
He made a change at the break with Maguire-Drew introduced in place of Turley, with Brophy dropping from centre attacking midfield to right wing-back.
It immediately produced results with the substitute curling a free kick from 25-yards over the wall and onto the post with 50 on the clock.
Fylde scrambled the loose ball clear for a corner and from this Maguire-Drew picked out Dan Happe and yet he headed over from close range.
Edinburgh's side were on top now and they should have created a good opening in the 56th minute, but Maguire-Drew didn't find Bonne after Brophy's lovely pass.
The chances kept on coming and Ekpiteta hit the post from a Maguire-Drew corner with 57 on the clock before Craig Clay had two efforts off target - the second of which he should have done better with.
Fylde then won a free kick in a good position, 22-yards-out, and this time they made the most of it.
Coasters' main man Rowe stepped up and beat the wall and Brill to score a stunning goal at Wembley and delight the Lancashire-based club's supporters.
After a difficult afternoon under the arch last weekend, Fylde's fans had at least now seen a goal and they were 30 minutes away from winning the FA Trophy.
Orient made their second change of the day with 68 on the clock and it was Harrold, who had enjoyed great success in this competition, coming on for Happe.
The substitution saw Koroma move to right wing-back with Brophy going to the other flank and Harrold going up top with Bonne.
Immediately the replacement was into the action, but unfortunately he did not have the desired effect.
Joe Widdowson got forward well in the 70th minute and dribbled into the area before he unleashed a drilled strike which beat Lynch, but hit the post.
The ball rebounded to Maguire-Drew and he appeared set to tap-in from 10-yards, but substitute Harrold was in the way and blocked his effort inadvertently on the line.
Edinburgh made his final substitution with 12 minutes left and it was Lee for captain McAnuff in what would be Lee's last appearance for Orient.
He took the armband and would have hoped to finish on a high at Wembley, but the seconds were ticking away for O's in their quest to win a 'Non-League Double'.
Chances continued with Harrold heading into the ground from Maguire-Drew's centre with three minutes of the 90 left.
Orient chucked more bodies forward, but no final chance occurred and they had to bid farewell to non-league football with a defeat.
It was not the way they wanted to leave, but now they can look forward to life back in the Football League and start the pursuit of getting back to where they truly belong.
Leyton Orient: Brill; Coulson, Ekpiteta, Happe (Harrold 68); Turley (Maguire-Drew 46), McAnuff (Lee 78), Clay, Widdowson; Brophy; Koroma, Bonne
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Ling.
AFC Fylde: Lynch, Birch (Crawford 90), Byrne (Brewitt 12), Tunnicliffe, Francis-Angol; Croasdale, Bond, Haughton (Odusina 74); Philliskirk, Rowe, Reid.
Unused substitutes: Griffiths, Hardy.