The O’s stamped their authority on this game from the first whistle and Bianca Corradi was unlucky with a shot in the third minute. Tara Copeland was next to test the Tower Hamlets defence, in the 9th minute, with a rising shot that was inches away from opening the scoring.
Giulia Livi was even unluckier moments later when her fierce drive hit the underside of the bar but dropped just the wrong side of the line. Zahmena Malik managed to get her foot to the rebound but couldn’t keep her shot down and the ball cleared the bar, much to the relief of the visitors.
There was no let-up from the O’s though, and Corradi again went close after finding time and space to take a shot just outside the box – however, Tower Hamlets’ keeper managed to get a hand to the ball and pushed it out into safety.
Despite the missed opportunities, Orient stuck to their game plan and took a well-deserved lead in the 19th minute as Livi, after some impressive build up play, picked out the top left corner from the edge of the box with a powerful strike.
The O’s didn’t have to wait long for their second, and when Tower Hamlets’ goalie came out of goal in attempt to push out the ball, a sweet across-the-box set up from Livi to Malik allowed Orient to double their lead.
Malik grabbed her second, and Orient’s third, just 5 minutes later when a Tower Hamlets defender made a sly tackle to Almeida who, then, had possession, that went unnoticed, however Malik managed to get the instinctive touch into the net.
The first half finished with the O’s keeping up the pressure without managing to add to the scoreline. In the 34th minute Almeida’s crossfield pass fell to Copeland on the right hand side of the Tower Hamlets 6 yard box but her shot, from a tight angle, hit the side netting. The same pair combined four minutes later but, again, Copeland finished just wide of the opposition goal.
After the break, O’s coaches Chris Bright and Harry Schrattmeier opted to bring on Eve Pearson for Giulia Livi.
Orient picked up where they’d left off and snapped straight into action with Tara Copeland’s powerful strike looking destined for the back of the net only for Tower Hamlets’ keeper to deny her with a superb diving save to push it out.
Copeland wasn’t to be denied for long: In the 56th minute Malik showed nice footwork and drove past the Tower Hamlets defence before laying the ball off for Copeland to finish with a sweet right-footed strike to the bottom left.
The floodgates were now open and in the 57th minute Malik completed her hat trick after set-up from Livi. The pair combined again just 2 minutes later with Malik grabbing her fourth, and Orient’s sixth.
Just five minutes later and Malik had a fifth with the simplest of finishes: Almeida found herself with time and space in the box only to see her shot cannon back off the post. Showing quick reflexes she was first to the rebound and unselfishly squared to Malik for a tap in from close range.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the O’s began to tire in the final quarter off the match but they continued to dominate possession and create chances until the final whistle:
Around the 70th minute mark, Livi, back on for Corradi, struck the bar with an instinctive shot and in the 78th Orient sub, Jess Hillsden on for Copeland and we saw a lofted shot from Almeida which, despite its force, the goal keeper gathered quickly.
A thoroughly professional performance against well organised and hard working Tower Hamlets. Today was a great response after last week’s disappointment.
LOFC: Durojaiye, Alexander, Worsfold, Harrow, El-Mouden, Almeida, Corradi, Ellison, Malik, Copeland, Livi, Hillsden, Pearson.
Subs unused: Ibrahim, Williams.
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