LOWFC Preview: Billericay Town (H)

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Orient continue their bid to retain the Isthmian Cup as they take on Billericay Town at Mile End Stadium on Wednesday.

With a place in the final up for grabs and little to separate the two in terms of league standing, a closely fought tie is anticipated in E3.

Road to the Semi’s

The O’s have hit an astonishing 18 goals without reply in their two wins so far in this competition.

The majority of those goals came in a 14-0 win away at Burgess Hill Town in October. Otesha Charles grabbed four in that one, while Sophie Le Marchand and Egle Trezzi both notched hat tricks. Lisa Hölmback, Ellie Stenning, Hayley Barton and Cheryl Anderson bagged the remainder of the goals.

Chris Brayford’s side followed that comprehensive victory up with another comfortable win against Phoenix Sports at the Quarter Final stage. Another Le Marchand hat trick, plus one from Barton, secured Orient’s place in the last four as they ran out 4-0 winners at the Mayplace Ground.

Last Time Out

Le Marchand, Charles and Francesca Ali all found themselves on the scoresheet as the O’s came from behind to defeat Stevenage at Mile End Stadium on Sunday.

Le Marchand put her side in front with a low finish inside nine minutes in east London, however, the Boro turned the game on its head with goals either side of the half time interval from Amy Makewell and Ashleigh Deacon giving them the lead.

Though, Orient showed great fighting spirit to come back and claim all three points. Charles netted an important equaliser which showcased her physicality and composure in front of goal, before Ali notched the winner five minutes later with a composed volley into the bottom corner.

The result leaves the O’s nine points off top in the WNL Division One South East, with three games in hand on league leaders, Ipswich Town.

The Opposition

Billericay currently occupy 4th place in the WNL Division One South East, they sit above the O’s on goal difference having garnered the same amount of points from the same amount of games. To reach this stage of the competition they have defeated Bowers and Pitsea and Worthing.

Their last two fixtures have seen them pick up a win and a loss, both times by a 4-1 score line. They bounced back from a 4-1 loss to AFC Basildon a fortnight ago, to defeat Norwich City by the same score line at the AGP Arena last weekend.

Therese Addison’s goal in the win over Norwich took her total to 16 goals in 16 appearances this season and she’ll certainly be one for the O’s defence to be wary of on Wednesday evening.

Billericay also have a player who will be familiar to the Orient squad in the shape of Hannah Porter. The central defender left the O’s in the summer to join a club closer to home in Harlow Town, she then signed for the Blues in January, again for logistical reasons.

Previous Meeting

The two sides last met back in February 2019. A Zoe Rushen brace, either side of Egle Trezzi’s equalising goal, saw Billericay come out 2-1 winners at the AGP Arena that night.

Pre-Match Thoughts

Speaking after Sunday’s victory over Stevenage, midfielder Francesca Ali, emphasised the need to start the tie well.

“If we go out and start the game as we started the second half (against Stevenage) then I don’t think we’ll have any issues at all. We need to make sure we’re starting from the off though.

Manager, Chris Brayford, also expressed his side’s desire to retain the trophy they worked so hard to win last season.

“Everyone is excited about the semi-final and the opportunity to get through to the final and potentially keep hold of the Isthmian Cup trophy.  We had to drop it off to the league offices last week so it’ll be great to have the chance to see if we can get it back in a month’s time! It should be a good game as Billericay are of course a strong side so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Coming to the Game?

The match takes place this Wednesday 4th March at Mile End Stadium, E3 4HL, with kick off scheduled for 7:45PM. The ground is situated just a ten-minute walk from either Limehouse or Mile End stations and the side would really appreciate your support in their bid to retain the Isthmian Cup.