LOWFC PREVIEW: Cambridge United (A)

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This match was originally scheduled for October 14th, however it was postponed with the weather conditions resulting in a waterlogged pitch.

Orient progressed through the determining round with a convincing 1-5 victory away at Swindon Town Ladies, earning themselves a bye through the first round.

Previously, the O’s booked their place in the Capital Cup quarter-finals with a 2-5 victory away at AFC Phoenix at Edward Alleyn Clubhouse last Sunday.

Raquel Arevalo gave the hosts a shock lead, only for Sophie Le Marchand to equalise just one minute later. Lisa Fulgence tapped in to an empty net to give Orient the lead, before captain Danielle Griffiths scored from the spot as the O’s went into the break 1-3 ahead.

Chris Brayford’s side went through the gears during the second half. Fulgence performed an audacious back-heel volley to bag her brace, before claiming the match ball with a calm finish fifteen minutes from time. Natalia Mann netted a late consolation for Phoenix, but Orient’s place in the next round had already been confirmed.

This victory will have given the squad a huge confidence boost ahead of another cup clash this weekend, where they will be eager to build momentum with progression to the FA WNL Cup Third Round.

Our Opponents:

As for Cambridge, they have struggled to hit their stride in the league and sit 11th in South East Division One with five points.

However, they will take positives from the fact that their only league victory came against the O’s back in August.

The U’s came through the determining round of the FA Women’s National League Cup with a 2-0 victory against C&K Basildon Ladies, courtesy of goals from Kelley Blanchflower and Kayleigh-Anne Burt.

Cambridge will be aiming to replicate their recent success against the O’s, with a cup run potentially holding the key to igniting an upturn in league form.

Key Players:

Orient striker Lisa Fulgence scored a superb hat-trick in the 2-5 victory over AFC Phoenix last weekend. Fulgence is a physical striker, with the ability to hold the ball up, bring her team mates in to play, and run in behind opposition defences. She will be hoping to maintain her sharp eye for goal against Cambridge on Sunday.

Midfielder Hayley Barton assisted four of the O’s five goals against AFC Phoenix last time out. Previously, she scored twice and assisted the winning goal in the O’s 3-2 victory over Actonians Ladies on October 7th. Barton is enjoying a fine run of form and if her recent performances are anything to go by, she will be crucial to Orient’s attack this weekend.

As for the U’s, forward Kelley Blanchflower bagged a brace against the O’s back in August. She has netted six goals in four cup games this season, including a hat-trick in their 11-0 thrashing of Fulbourn in the County Cup last weekend. She will be keen to maintain this impressive scoring form for the fifth successive cup match.

A Look at the Stats:

  • Orient have lost just one of their six matches on the road this season. (W4 D1 L1)
  • The O’s have scored in each of their previous eight matches in league and cup.
  • However, they are without a clean sheet in their previous six games.
  • Cambridge have scored two or more goals in each of their last four cup matches.
  • The U’s have kept three clean sheets in cup competition, two of which came at home.
  • Like Orient, their biggest win of the season came in cup competition, 0-11 vs Fulbourn in the County Cup.

Previous Encounters:

Orient welcomed Cambridge United Women to Mile End Stadium for their first home game of the season on 26th August. Becky Shephard added to a Kelley Blanchflower brace subjecting the O’s to a 0-3 defeat in miserable conditions on Bank Holiday weekend.

Pre-Match Thoughts:

Prior to the original scheduling of the game on October 14th, midfielder Katharine Nutman spoke about the importance of achieving consistency in results:

“I think building on the momentum of our win last week (3-2 vs. Actonians) is what’s really important for us at this stage. Of course, we are motivated to have a good cup run after our performance in the FA Cup, but more than anything we are focused on winning each game as they come and building some momentum as a team. The performances have started coming together now and it’s about consistently finding a way to win both league and cup games.”

After an impressive individual display against Actonians on October 7th, Nutman assessed the areas she believes Orient have improved in recently:

“I think in our last two games we have shown an improvement on both sides of the ball. Defensively, our desire to compete and our shape have shown signs of improvement. In possession, we have shown a greater capacity to keep the ball and put together some good patterns of play. Cambridge will be a good test for us and a great opportunity to continue building on the good form we have shown recently.”

Coming to the Game?

If you are making the trip to Cambridge this Sunday 28th October, the match will take place at Mildenhall Town FC, Recreation Way, Mildenhall, Suffolk, IP28 7HG with kick-off at 14:00.