This fixture was dedicated to Waltham Forest Council’s No Space For Hate campaign, with both teams pledging their commitment to the campaign.
After two successive 8-0 wins the O’s faced a much sterner challenge against local rivals AFC Leyton, who held the previously unstoppable Orient attack at bay until the stroke of half time.
The first 45 minutes were fairly evenly matched although Orient made better use of the ball and created a number of good opportunities, only to be foiled by wayward finishing, or an inspired goalkeeping performance.
After a Copeland shot that drifted just wide of the AFC Leyton goal Orient recorded their first shot on target in the 19th minute when Bianca Corradi’s fiercely struck shot drew a fine diving save from the opposition keeper. The rebound fell to Orient’s in-form striker, Jess Musk, but her instinctive shot was just off target.
The narrow escape spurred AFC Leyton into action and after threatening the O’s goal with a powerful shot just veering wide of the target before Orient keeper, Lola Durojaiye, showed her worth with a great diving save in the 26th minute. With the momentum of the match turning in favour of the home side, Durojaiye was in the thick of the action again 3 minutes later as she kept out another fierce drive but could only manage to push the ball back out into play. Fortunately, Zainab El-Mouden was the quickest to react to the loose ball and cleared the ball from the danger area.
The last-ditch clearance served to focus the O’s and after some good possession football they began to impose themselves again and created a few chances. Again, the O’s were frustrated by more wayward finishing as Copeland saw another attempt fall wide of the target in the 34th minute.
As half-time approached Orient midfielder Eve Pearson drove up the pitch was tackled at the last second, just as she threatened to shoot. With frustration building, El-Mouden tried her luck with a shot from outside the penalty area, but again was just wide of the target.
On the stroke of half-time, the O’s finally broke the deadlock when the AFC Leyton keeper could only push out a shot from Jess Musk into the path of Eleisia Williams-Peart who smacked the rebound into the back of the net.
O’s coach, Harry Schrattmeier, opted to take off double hat-trick hero Jess Musk in favour of Katie Reeves at half-time.
The O’s started the second half off strongly, threatening to add to their lead from a corner 5 minutes in. After being frustrated for most of the first half, Orient scored 2 goals within 5 minutes. Corradi doubled the O’s lead, intercepting a poor pass from the AFC Leyton defence before beating the keeper with a cool finish.
4 minutes later, after some great build up play, Tara Copeland slipped the ball through to Zahmena Malik to put the O’s 3-0 up.
Stung by the two quick goals AFC Leyton stepped up a gear, and just before the hour mark the home side were rewarded for their efforts as their striker picked out the top left corner with a powerful right-footed strike that O’s keeper Durojaiye could do nothing to prevent.
Unfortunately, an absorbing game was brought to a premature end in the 65th minute. After a swift break from the Orient half, Williams-Peart looked set to add a fourth for the O’s, when an AFC defender, on her way to tackle, collided with their goalie – resulting in a nasty ankle injury for the keeper.
This injury required medical attention and brought the game to an end.
Despite the unfortunate abandonment of the game, Orient could draw great satisfaction from overcoming an AFC Leyton team that had proved to be a difficult opponent, challenging an O’s team that had strolled to three easy wins prior to this afternoon.
Throughout National Hate Crime Awareness Week, Leyton Orient F.C and Waltham Forest Council are encouraging you to sign the No Space for Hate pledge. By doing so, residents, businesses and local groups are taking a proactive role in stopping hate by committing to spotting and reporting crimes and supporting victims. For more information on the No Space for Hate programme, to sign the pledge and register for Bystander Intervention training click here.
LOFC Women’s: Durojaiye, El-Mouden, Harrow, Worsfold, Alexander, Williams, Pearson, Corradi, Malik, Copeland, Musk, Reeves.
Subs unused: Hillsden, Ellison, Livi.
To read more about the women’s team for the season, click here.
To register for open trials for the LOFC Women’s team, click here.