O's on course for Wembley and so is Super Kev!
PUBLISHED: 11:00 27 February 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
A fairytale story is on the horizon if Leyton Orient and Cray Valley PM can continue their cup success this season
Leyton Orient took another step towards reaching the FA Trophy final at Wembley on Saturday and if they do make it there, they could see a familiar face at Non-League Finals Day on May 19.
While the O’s were fighting back from a goal down to see off holders Brackley Town by a 2-1 margin last weekend, one of their former stars was also producing the goods in another tournament.
Kevin Lisbie, who starred for Orient between 2011-15, netted a brace for Cray Valley PM in the last eight of the FA Vase away to Willand Rovers.
It helped the Eltham outfit reach the semi-finals of the competition with a 3-1 win and given the Vase and Trophy finals take place on the same day at the national stadium, a fairytale story is on the horizon.
Should Lisbie’s Cray Valley make it past Canterbury City and O’s get the better of AFC Telford United, Orient fans will be able to watch their old striker at Wembley.
The FA Vase final will kick-off four hours before the FA Trophy final, but supporters can buy tickets for the day, so could watch both if they decide to arrive early enough.
“One of the first things I did when I got in the changing room after the game was to check Orient’s result,” Lisbie revealed.
“I was told the two finals are on the same day, so I looked it up and saw the boys got through and into the semis themselves now.
“I know there is a long, long way to go and we both have to go home and away, but it would be a great occasion if we could both make it there.”
For a long period, it seemed Orient would go out of the FA Trophy at the quarter-final stage for the second successive season.
Brackley took the lead after 24 minutes when Lee Ndlouv tapped home from six yards after good work by Matt Lowe.
O’s managed to turn things around in the second half, though, but only after Macauley Bonne saw a penalty saved on 69 minutes.
Matt Harrold levelled from close range five minutes later after James Brophy’s cross.
And Dan Happe then proved the unlikely hero as he headed home Jordan Maguire-Drew’s corner with six minutes left to complete a superb turnaround victory.
Over 150 miles away from Brackley, E10 favourite Lisbie was showing his class once again for the Millers too.
The 40-year-old scored twice for Cray Valley at Willand Rovers to clinch a 3-1 win in the last-eight of the FA Vase in Exeter.
Lisbie said: “It is massive for the club and even for the players to be honest. There are a few players in our team who have played at a decent level, but it felt like a massive result on Saturday and especially going all the way to Devon.
“It was very far and you never know what to expect, but we dug in, the pitch wasn’t the best, yet it was a really good game and a great day.”
Already the former Charlton Athletic and Colchester United ace has been inundated with messages from Orient fans telling him they will watch Cray Valley in the Vase final.
While he is not counting his chickens yet, the Southern Counties East League Premier Division side will hope to get past league rivals Canterbury in the semi-finals.
Lisbie isn’t the only former Football League star in Cray Valley’s ranks with Gavin Tomlin and Anthony Edgar also featuring in Saturday’s win.
Yet for the one-time Jamaica international, who scored 48 goals at Brisbane Road, getting to the FA Vase final would mean that little bit more if his team were to win it and then watch O’s claim silverware in the FA Trophy decider hours later.
“I have had a few direct messages from Orient supporters saying they would watch, but I don’t know how easy it would be for them,” Lisbie added.
“I imagine it would be quite difficult, but maybe a few would and it would be a nice day and be nice for me if a few did come to see us first.
“Obviously we have to get there first, but it would be a great occasion and if both of us could win it, it would be really special.”