The O’s stamped their authority on the game from the first whistle and just two minutes in Bianca Corradi’s lofted shot gave Orient the lead. Although the Acton keeper managed to get her fingertips to the ball she couldn’t prevent it hitting the top left corner of the net.
Despite the early breakthrough the next half hour was slow and hard-fought and although Orient managed a few shots from the O’s the team couldn’t add to their lead.
The game picked up in the 32nd minute when, after some great defending, the O’s got possession in their box and Corradi drove up the pitch with purpose. Unfortunately the shot at the end of it didn’t match the quality of the build-up play and easily cleared the opposition crossbar.
However moments later Almeida picked up possession after a throw in from Harrow, and, her forceful strike flew past the despairing dive of the Acton keeper and into the bottom corner of the goal and doubled the O’s lead.
Orient continued to push for a third before the half-time whistle, but Actonian’s physical approach saw tensions and frustration building on the pitch and disrupted some patient build-up play from the O’s.
Just five minutes into the second half, and Liliana Almeida was yellow carded as she reacted to the constant shirt tugging, irritating fouls and negative tactics.
Orient were struggling to keep to their game plan in the face of the disruptive play and in the 69th minute things got worse when Acton pulled a goal back. A shot from outside the box wrong footed Orient keeper, Lola Durojaiye, and the ball wriggled under her as she dived.
With Erin Bright having already come on for Stephanie Harrow in the 57th, the goal prompted more changes from the Orient bench and Mariam Obiri came on for Zainab El-Mouden. The fresh legs gave Orient some energy and for the next 15 minutes they easily dominated possession and took some of the heat out of the game by passing the ball around and looking for opportunities to break.
This patient approach proved successful with two goals in just over a minute.
In the 86th minute, Eve Pearson celebrated her 18th birthday with a fine goal – drifting into the box she found herself with time and space on the ball and calmly slotted the ball home to give Orient some breathing space.
Moments later Almeida scored her second, and Orient’s fourth, to put the result beyond doubt. Again the Actonians defence stepped off and the O’s centre forward had time and space to pick out the bottom left corner with a forceful strike, leaving the keeper with no chance.
After 4 mins of extra time the whistle blew on bruising match, Orient proving comfortable winners as they made much better use of the ball despite some tense moments. The O’s women can be proud of their performance.
LOFCW: Durojaiye, El-Mouden, Harrow, Worsfold, Alexander, Ellison, Pearson, Corradi, Livi, Copeland, Almeida, Bright, Obiri, Hillsden.
Subs unused: Williams.
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