Chris Brayford made four changes to the side that last took to the field on October 25th, as Bradley, Trezzi, Cheryl Anderson and Claudia Zahui replaced Skye McNally, Kayleigh Xidhas, Michelle Young and Katherine Long in the starting lineup.
After a 42 day break, you would have forgiven the O’s had they taken a while to find their feet in the game. However, that proved not to be the case as they made a blistering start on the south coast. In the third minute skipper Allison McCann broke through the Eastbourne backline and let fly, only to see her effort cannon back off the underside of the crossbar and away.
Orient maintained their electric opening, and took the lead in the 10th minute through Barton, after good link-up play between Zahui and Nyara Denny saw the latter square the ball for an easy finish for the O’s winger.
Barton, in particular, looked in the mood for the visitors. She could have doubled her tally three minutes later but blazed over on the half volley, before five minutes later beating her marker with a superb piece of skill and releasing Trezzi whose shot could only find the side netting.
Against the run of play, the hosts almost equalised in the 22nd minute when Kellie Larkin rattled the crossbar with a free-kick from range.
Though it was to be the O’s who found the next goal. Barton’s out-swinging corner eventually fell to Bradley in the box and the centre back blasted home to mark her first appearance for over three months with a goal.
After receiving a blow to the head Lauren Heria was forced to make way mid way through the first half to be replaced by Maisie Cannon, and soon after the Saffrons pulled one back. Larkin firing in from the spot after Kate Kerr had committed a foul in the area.
Orient were awarded their own spot-kick just before the interval after Barton was brought down in the box. Having missed in the shootout last time out against QPR, McCann’s bravery to step up once again was rewarded as she precisely placed the ball into the far left corner to restore her side’s two goal advantage.
Brayford’s side looked comfortable following the restart and could have had a fourth were it not for the heroics of the Eastbourne ‘keeper, who did well to keep out Sophie Lee’s effort and then did even better to deny Denny from close range on the follow up.
Soon after the O’s made their second change, Zahui making way for Young in a switch that saw Denny move up top.
The home side had the ball in the net in the 68th minute, however their celebrations were cut shot by the flag of the assistant referee.
Brayford made his third substitution 20 minutes from time bringing on Scarlett Smith for Denny and the forward was involved almost immediately as Orient grabbed their fourth. Smith’s low effort was well saved by the ‘keeper but the rebound fell to Trezzi who thumped in from close range to put the tie to bed.
The O’s remained relentless as the match entered its closing stages. Young came close to adding a fifth on two occasions, first with a stunning solo run that finished with her firing an effort just over, then hitting a low strike that flashed just past the post shortly before the referee blew the final whistle.
Speaking after the game, captain McCann reflected on a job well done, especially given the long stretch without a fixture. “It was so fun to be back. It was an excellent game, I thought everybody played really well considering we had been away for a whole month.”
Orient will now face Actonians at home in the First Round Proper of the Cup in a tie that will take place this Sunday December 13th.
Orient: Ogunde (Jaramillo 86′), Lee, Bradley, Kerr, Anderson, Trezzi, Heria (Cannon 32′), Barton, McCann, Denny (Smith 70′), Zahui (Young 58′)
Goals: Barton 10′, Bradley 27′, McCann 44′, Trezzi 77′