A prolific attacking display saw the O’s women’s team go top of the table with a comfortable victory over Haringey Borough on Wednesday night.
Orient came into the match on the back of four consecutive victories, the latest being a 5-2 win against Norwich City, whilst Haringey were on the wrong end of a 12-2 thrashing at the hands of Cambridge United last time out.
Manager Chris Brayford opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation on this occasion, making one change to the side that started at Norwich last weekend. Sárka Stryhalova dropped to the bench, with Chloe McNee coming into the midfield on her first start for the Club.
Under the lights at Mile End in their first midweek fixture of the season, Orient made an electric start and created their first chance inside 20 seconds. McNee threaded a neat pass into the path of Sophie Le Marchand who fired straight at Lynda Dunphy in the Haringey goal.
It was all Orient in the opening exchanges, whilst Haringey had struggled to get out of their own half with possession. The O’s formation provided an extra player in the midfield, allowing them to retrieve the ball quickly in the middle and get forward in numbers.
The O’s dominance was rewarded when they opened the scoring on 11 minutes courtesy of Hayley Barton. Le Marchand picked out Barton from the left side of the box, who was denied at the first attempt before calmly converting from close range at the second time of asking.
Three minutes later, Orient doubled their lead when McNee marked her maiden start with her first goal for the Club. Barton delivered a teasing corner from the right to the far post, where McNee was waiting to rise and volley home.
After a purposeful start to the match, Orient had seen plenty of the ball and looked particularly dangerous down the left. Le Marchand was having a superb game, driving past defenders with pace and skill to create opportunities for herself and her team mates.
Le Marchand deservedly got on the scoresheet when she added Orient’s third on 22 minutes. Egle Trezzi’s excellent through ball was met by Le Marchand, who found herself one-on-one with Dunphy before sweeping the ball home with a clinical right footed finish.
Orient continued to inflict a relentless wave of pressure on Haringey’s goal. Lisa Holmback was next to go close, before McNee was denied by the crossbar with more goals for the home side a certainty as the game progressed.
Haringey registered their first effort on goal with 24 minutes played, as Brooke Hill sent a long range free kick straight into the arms of Orient keeper Naomi Ogunde.
On 35 minutes, Orient were awarded a penalty when Belen Ripoll Douton was pushed inside the box. Captain, Danielle Griffiths, made no mistake from 12 yards to score her second penalty in as many games and give the O’s a 4-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Orient struck a fifth when Barton bagged her brace. Ripoll Douton had time and space to shoot, but unselfishly laid the ball to Barton who placed her shot into the bottom right corner.
To compile Haringey’s misery further, Orient were awarded a second penalty on the stroke of half time when Le Marchand was brought down after another threatening run. Ripoll Douton took responsibility this time, rifling her effort high into the net giving Orient a 6-0 lead at the break.
Orient took just three minutes after the restart to score their seventh, and did so in stunning fashion. Trezzi connected with the ball brilliantly from range and watched her right footed shot sail into the net past a helpless Dunphy.
Dunphy took the plaudits moments later though, Le Marchand evaded two challenges before crossing the ball to Trezzi whose half volley was tipped over by the Haringey goalkeeper.
On 63 minutes, Orient made a double substitution with player of the match, Le Marchand, and Barton coming off for Kirstie Jackson and Kayleigh Xiohas in like for like changes. Moments later, the O’s snatched an eighth when Dunphy clawed a looping effort off the line, only to see Ripoll Douton follow up to tap home her second of the night from close range.
Orient made their final change on 70 minutes, with Kathryn Canavan replacing Connie Montiel-McCann as the home side looked to remain disciplined in defence, protect their clean sheet and see out the remainder of the match.
Orient could have notched double figures on the night, Lisa Holmbeck did well to keep the ball in play before finding Ripoll Douton who angled her shot wide. Griffiths saw her corner clip the near post, before Ripoll Douton again came within inches of a hat-trick when she dragged her effort just wide of left post before the final whistle.
Speaking after the match, Hayley Barton said: “It’s great to be top of the league and it feels like we have come so far since last season. To get through a game like today, we showed a lot of discipline and kept our structure even though we were 6-0 up at half time. We just focused on keeping our shape, keeping the ball moving quickly and taking that through into Sunday which we know is going to be a tough match. It’ll be great to be at Brisbane Road and have a few fans down so we’re looking forward to that.
On getting back amongst the goals with a brace, Barton added: “I’m definitely hoping to get a few more this season, but as long as the team are scoring I’m happy.”
You can see Orient’s next fixture at the Matchroom Stadium this coming Sunday, with Billericay Town the visitors in the SSE Women’s FA Cup. The game kicks off at 2pm, so please come down and show your support as the O’s quest for a cup run begins.