The O’s women’s team will be desperate to avenge back-to-back league defeats when Norwich City Ladies come to Mile End Stadium in the FA Women’s Premier League on Sunday.
Orient were due to host league leaders AFC Wimbledon last weekend, but the match fell foul of the snow leaving them without competitive action for a fortnight.
Chris Brayford’s side come into the match sitting third in South East Division One with 31 points from 17 games. They have won ten, drawn one, and lost six this season with a goal difference of 26.
They are just one point above fourth placed Milton Keynes Dons Ladies, who have four games in hand on the O’s, who need to ensure they pick up all three points this weekend to maintain their position in the top three.
As for the visitors, Norwich City, they arrive in the capital sitting 11th in South East Division One with ten points from 16 matches. They have won three, drawn one, and lost 12 this season with a goal difference of -33.
In their previous outing, the Canaries were narrowly beaten 2-1 by table toppers AFC Wimbledon in Norfolk on 11th March. Georgia Heasman and Caroline Bisson put the Dons in control before the break. Chelsea Garrett pulled a goal back for the hosts early in the second half, but Wimbledon held on to secure the victory.
Norwich have won two of their four away league matches since the turn of the year and will take confidence from their performance against Wimbledon last weekend.
Orient will be without captain Danielle Griffiths for the visit of Norwich this weekend. Griffiths has been an ever-present figure at the heart of the Orient defence, showing exceptional leadership throughout the campaign and will be a big miss for the O’s on the day.
For Orient, new signing Kate Bradley will be pushing for further game time after joining the club last month. She is a physical presence in the midfield with good awareness and understanding of the game, while her height provides Orient with a threat from set pieces. Bradley has made two substitute appearances against Charlton Athletic and Cambridge United in recent weeks and will be hoping to get more minutes under her belt this weekend.
Meanwhile, Connie Montiel-McCann has started the O’s last two matches in midfield. She has made 16 starts in all competitions for Orient this season and five appearances from the bench. Montiel-McCann is a versatile player who can operate in both defence and midfield, with good discipline and leadership qualities.
For Norwich, Aimee Durrant has scored three goals in the Canaries’ last two away matches in the league. This included a brace in the 3-2 win at Enfield Town on 25th February, and Durrant will be keen to add to that tally at Mile End this weekend.
A Look at the Stats:
This week, winger Sophie Le Marchand gave her views ahead of the game:
“We had such a strong and confident start to life in the WPL, that some of our results since the turn of the new year have felt more than a little disappointing. We have been dropping points to teams we have beaten previously with aplomb and conviction. It has felt as though our footballing lives have been on fast forward and we’re experiencing a bit of second season syndrome before our second season in the WPL has even begun.
In a way, it has been good for us to experience crashing back down to earth, to become grounded again and to put things back into perspective. But now we’re all over the reality check and ready to get back to playing the sort of football we know we are capable of. In training we’ve been working extremely hard on maintaining our shape, on cutting out silly defensive errors and on being ruthless in front of goal. It has been vital to stick together and to remember to trust in each other on the pitch.
Ultimately this is a squad bursting with talent and personality and it is just a matter of time before we rediscover our 2017 form.”
Orient and Norwich last met on the 1st October with the O’s bringing all three points back to East London after a 5-2 victory.
Sophie Le Marchand gave Orient the lead after 16 minutes, before Millie Daviss’ free kick for the hosts ensured the sides went in level at the break.
However, Orient emerged a different side in the second half. Goals from Lisa Holmback and Sárka Stryhalova gave the O’s a 3-1 lead, before captain Danielle Griffiths dispatched a fourth from the spot.
Norwich were resilient and pulled a goal back when Charlotte Broad converted a penalty, before Stryhalova put the result beyond doubt with Orient’s fifth ten minutes from time.
Coming to the Game?
If you can, please come down and show your support for the O’s this weekend. The match will take place this Sunday 25th March at Mile End Stadium, Burdett Road, London, E3 4HL with kick off at 2pm.