A mixture of absences and injuries meant that Chris Brayford had to make six changes from the side that defeated Stevenage at the Mile End Stadium last time out. These enforced changes meant that goalkeeper, Michelle Beazley and midfielder, Giorgia Bracelli, both made their first starts for the club, while Allison McCann returned from injury in an unfamiliar role at the heart of the defence.
With not a lot to separate the two sides in terms of league standing, it was no surprise that the game got off to somewhat of a cagey start. The home side had the opening shots of the game, but they were mostly speculative efforts that caused little trouble for debutant, Beazley, in the O’s goal.
Orient’s first chance came in the 20th minute, Otesha Charles got a head to Connie Montiel-McCann’s pinpoint cross but her effort fell just short of finding the far corner of Charlotte Bolland’s net.
Five minutes later, the referee penalised Danielle Griffiths for a high boot allowing Basildon an indirect free kick in a dangerous position. Gemma Abela stepped up for the home side and unleashed a fierce effort which the Orient wall bravely blocked and cleared away.
Montiel-McCann had the final effort of a tight, tense first half, as she scooped one over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
The hosts began to have the better of it following the restart. Three minutes into the second half, Jason Stephens side had a goal chalked off for offside, before a fantastic recovering challenge from Bracelli denied them a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Brayford made a double substitution shortly afterwards, bringing on Michelle Young and Lisa Hölmback in place of Ellie Stenning and Pamela McRoberts.
The changes didn’t have the desired affect though as Basildon took the lead in the 64th minute. Poppy Binding’s in-swinging free kick caused havoc in the Orient penalty area, with the ball eventually being turned in by a combination of players in both red and blue.
Following the opener, the game began to open up a little bit more as the O’s sought an equalising goal. However, this led to the hosts capitalising on gaps appearing in the Orient defence, with only smart saves from Beazley preventing Holly Turner from adding to her sides lead.
The O’s had chances of their own to get back into it. Egle Trezzi stung Bolland’s palms with a rasping strike, before Hölmback failed to get a clean enough contact to divert Barton’s cross into the net.
The warning signs continued to be present for Brayford’s side though and they got away with one in the 73rd minute. Kelly Wealthall was initially denied by a brilliant stop from Beazley before turning her rebound across the face of goal where Turner was waiting, with the goal gaping the Basildon forward could only strike the post with her effort, much to the O’s relief.
Turner wasn’t to be denied five minutes later though, she found space in the penalty area and fired low past Beazley to double her sides advantage.
Orient could have pulled one back in stoppage time, but it wasn’t to be as Trezzi nodded wide from Griffiths’ corner.
Reflecting on a frustrating afternoon for her side, captain, Griffiths, spoke of the need to start quicker in games and cut out defensive mistakes.
“It was a disappointing game today. I don’t think we really got going. We were slightly better in the second half. I thought we reset and came out slightly stronger, but we’re conceding goals too easily and that needs to be rectified.”
The O’s will be looking to bounce back from this defeat when they take on Billericay at the Mile End Stadium next Sunday.
Orient: Beazley, Montiel-McCann, Griffiths, McCann, Bracelli, Ali (Collins 82”), Trezzi, Barton, Stenning (Hölmback 53”), McRoberts (Young 53”), Charles
Basildon: Bolland, Thomas, Gillard, Debell, Bailess, Adams, Abela, Binding, Clarke, Turner, Wealthall
Subs: Rhodes, Osborne
Goals: OG 64”, Tuner 78”
Referee: Lee Markwick