Orient recorded their third successive win on Sunday, defeating Actonians 2-0 at Rectory Park in Northolt. Two first half goals from Sophie Le Marchand and Otesha Charles were enough to ensure the O’s extended their unbeaten start to the season to six games and keep the pressure on league leaders Billericay.
The O’s got off to a bright start in West London and threatened early on, even before they took the lead in the 3rd minute through Le Marchand. The ball fell in the box and the O’s captain for the day was on hand to prod home at the second attempt after initially being denied by the Actonians keeper Kinga Golebiowski.
They could have had another ten minutes later when Le Marchand played a ball into the path of Charles, but she could only aim a shot into Golebiowski’s arms.
However, that same duo wasn’t to be denied in the 24th minute. Ria Collins, starting in an unfamiliar right midfield role, slid a ball in behind for Le Marchand on the right-hand side, the O’s winger then squared it across to Charles for an easy tap in, which doubled Orient’s advantage.
At the break manager Chris Brayford, made a change which saw Hayley Barton replace Connie Montiel-McCann, this switch saw Collins return to her more familiar role of right back, whilst Barton took up her usual position on the right wing.
The O’s suffered a let off just two minutes into the second half when Carla Williams was played through, with all the time in the world to pick her spot she looked certain to pull a goal back for the home side, but somehow she managed to drag her shot wide.
That chance seemed to increase Orient’s awareness and following it they looked determined to see the game out and earn a second clean sheet of the season.
Though, that increase in importance of the defensive side of their game didn’t deter the rampant O’s frontline, who have racked up 20 goals so far this season, from creating more chances throughout the second half.
The closest Orient came to scoring a third was in the 67th minute. Barton’s in-swinging corner was diverted towards goal by Egle Trezzi, however her effort was blocked on the line and subsequently scrambled clear by the Actonians defence.
Brayford made further alterations to his side bringing on Lareace Thomas and Ellie Stenning for Ria Collins and Lisa Holmback in the final twenty minutes, as the O’s looked to see out the game, and that they did, navigating the closing stages with maturity and confidence to seal their third consecutive win.
After the game stand in skipper Le Marchand was understandably proud of her side’s performance saying:
“It was a very professional performance against a really tough side away from home. It’s always very competitive when we play against Actonians, so to come here and win fairly comfortably in the end was really pleasing.
I feel like if you asked me a month ago, we looked like a group of very talented players, but in the last couple of weeks we now seem to look and play more like a team and that’s very pleasing.”
Expanding further on her own personal performance and her duty as captain, she went onto say:
“My confidence is high; I’ve obviously scored a few goals early on. Last season I had a bit of a disappointing one, in terms of my goal scoring stats, so I’m very motivated to get back amongst the goals.
I’m very proud to lead this team out. I’m probably one of the longest running players here, this is my seventh or eighth season, so for me to walk out as captain today was a really big honour and something, I’m really pleased to have on my CV. And hopefully I can continue to lead the girls out when Dani’s not here with just as much pride.”
Next up for Orient is a game against AFC Basildon this Sunday at the Mile End Stadium, where they’ll be looking to continue their exceptional start to the season.
Orient: Ogunde, Montiel-McCann (Barton, 45), Bastyr, Brown, Auguste, Trezzi, Ali, Collins (Thomas, 74), Holmback (Stenning, 67), Le Marchand, Charles
Unused Sub: Hirst
Goals: Le Marchand (2), Charles (24)
Actonians: Golebiowski, Murphy, D’Santos, Lopes, Bisson, Williams, Wan, Laidlaw, Uche, Ishmael, Buckmire
Subs: Le, O’Reilly, Thomas