Cambridge City promises to be a stern test for Chris Brayford’s side after they completed an impressive league and cup double last season.
However, the O’s will be looking to build on some cup success of their own last time out. They won the Isthmian Cup thanks to a 2-0 win over Ashford Town (Middlesex) and could have completed a famous double, if they hadn’t lost out 1-0 to Actonians Ladies in the final of the Capital Cup.
Brayford and his side will be hoping to improve on last season’s 5th place league finish and getting off to a winning start on Sunday will be the perfect start.
View on the Opposition
After gaining promotion last season, Cambridge City are gearing up to play at the highest level they’ve ever played at this season.
It’s been a hugely successful few years for the Lilywhites, who achieved back to back promotions in the 15/16 and 16/17 seasons before narrowly missing out on a third successive title in the 17/18 season.
However, they weren’t to be denied last season when they won the league at a canter, only dropping two points in the process, whilst also picking up the League Cup. They’ve carried that form into pre-season, where last weekend they were on the right side of a seven goal thriller, besting Peterborough Women and Girls 4-3.
New signings Francesca Ali, Cheryl Anderson, Jasmine Auguste, Ria Collins, Allison McCann, Ellie Stenning and Michelle Young will all be in the squad for Sunday. However, Demi Brown is expected to miss out due to injury.
The O’s have had a fine pre-season winning three of the four games they played. Firstly, they made light work of Barking Abbey defeating them 5-1.with the goals in that one coming from Chanel Richards, Hayley Barton, Georgia Raby, Cheryl Anderson and Allison McCann.
They then faced off against Dulwich Hamlet Women at Champion Hill. Goals from Kayleigh Xidhas and Barton secured a 2-1 win on what was a significant day for our opponents as it was their first match played following their name change to Dulwich Hamlet.
Next up Orient travelled to The Hive to meet London Bees. Unfortunately, Brayford’s side lost out in that one in what would turn out to be their only defeat of pre-season. A 95th minute winner from the Bees broke O’s hearts after Sophie Le Marchand had scored a penalty earlier in the game.
Orient then travelled to Rotherhithe to take on QPR Women at St Paul’s Sports Ground. A Chanel Richards double plus one each from Breon Grant and Barton sealed a convincing 4-0 win for the O’s on a humid day in South London.
Finally Orient rounded off their preparations for the new season with a fine 4-0 win over West Ham’s U23’s at the Mile End Stadium last weekend. Two goals from Grant and one each from Anderson and Jasmine Auguste secured the win for the O’s in that one.
Last Time the Two Met
Despite playing in different leagues, the two sides did meet in the F.A Cup last season. Sadly for Orient that day they ended up on the losing side in a frantic cup tie.
Goals from Lisa Holmback, Tara O’Halloran and a Le Marchand double weren’t enough to prevent the O’s falling to a 5-4 defeat and with that in mind they may be out for revenge this Sunday after the Lilywhites crushed their cup dreams back in September.
Speaking before the game manager Chris Brayford had this to say:
“I’m excited about the new season and I think the players are too! As well as retaining the vast majority of last season’s squad, we’ve made some fantastic new signings who have integrated well and we’ve had an excellent pre-season so we will go into this campaign with the confidence generated from those positive performances. Team spirit is good and I’m hopeful it will be a memorable 2019-20!”
Vice Captain Sophie Le Marchand also added:
“After a slightly disappointing league campaign last year, we are hoping to hit the ground running this season and send a strong message to the other teams in our division that we are serious contenders for the title.
We have recruited extremely well over the summer and I am excited for the fans to see some of the new talent that will be on display, as well as getting behind our passionate core of senior players who have been on the scene for a while. It feels like this season we are going to have an excellent balance of youth and experience.
From a personal perspective, I am very proud to be stepping into the role of vice-captain and supporting our skipper, Danni. I hope to develop my leadership skills over the coming months and play a big role in helping this wonderful club to win more trophies and titles.”
Coming to the Game?
The side would really appreciate your support if you could come down and spur them on in their first league fixture of the season. The match takes place this Sunday 18th August at The Mile End Stadium E3 4HL. The ground is just a 15 minute walk from Mile End Station and kick off is at 2pm.