The O’s women’s team return to Mile End for their first home game of the season with Cambridge United the opponents in the FA Women’s National League this Sunday.
Orient will be hoping to pick up from where they left off after a 1-0 opening day victory against Luton Town Ladies last weekend.
With the game goalless, substitute Chanel Richards bravely attacked Belen Ripoll-Douton’s cross to nod home the winner eight minutes from time.
Chris Brayford’s side come into the match sitting fifth in the division with three points and a goal difference of 1 after the first set of fixtures.
The Bank Holiday weekend will see some familiar faces absent giving returning and development players an opportunity to impress for the first team.
As for Cambridge, they will arrive in East London sitting seventh in the league table after a 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon Ladies in their first match of the campaign.
Katie Stanley put the Dons ahead on 36 minutes before Cambridge captain Kayleigh-Anne Burt brought the U’s level early in the second half to ensure a share of the spoils.
Cambridge took four points from six available against the O’s last season, with one win and a draw, and will be keen to take a positive result home with them come Sunday evening.
Orient will be missing five first choice players from last week’s squad while midfielder Lisa Holmback remains absent due to injury.
This will see some of the development team including Louise Hogan and Sophia Piotrowska, who already have first team experience under their belts, come into the match day squad.
However, the O’s are boosted by the return of first team regulars Fran Cagetti, Connie Montiel-McCann and Sophie Le Marchand whilst long-term absentees Chloe McNee and Tara O’Halloran are also available.
Orient will be pleased to have last season’s Player of the Year, Sophie Le Marchand, available for selection this weekend. Her trickery, direct approach and goal scoring ability from the left wing will be required in a match where the O’s need to be clinical in attack.
Equally, Hayley Barton will be looking to cause problems for the Cambridge defence on the right side of midfield. She is strong, quick and possesses a good crossing ability which will be key in creating chances for her team mates to score.
For Cambridge, captain and defender Kayleigh-Anne Burt led by example scoring the equaliser in last week’s draw with AFC Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, striker Kelley Blanchflower is a technically adept striker formerly of West Ham and Spurs who will be looking to cause problems for the Orient defence.
Last season, the O’s marked their Premier League debut with a goalless draw away to Cambridge on August 20th.
For the reverse fixture on March 11th, Orient welcomed the U’s to Mile End Stadium where Faith Hewitt’s goal ensured Cambridge left the capital with a 1-0 victory.
Ahead of the game, winger Hayley Barton reacted to the victory over Luton and acknowledged areas for improvement moving forward:
“Securing three points in the season opener is a big confidence boost for the team. Last season we started slowly and that’s something we wanted to correct this season. The game against Luton was about getting the three points and continuing to learn and build as a squad. We have good experience in this league now and we’re confident we know how to get three points in the toughest games.
“We’re always looking to improve and are focused on playing our style of football. On Sunday, we needed to show a bit more grit and work to open up play through playing into space. We have a lot more depth in our squad this season, which paid off on Sunday. It’s really important we develop as a squad, it’s a long season with a lot of tough games!”
Coming to the Game?
If you can, please come down and support the O’s as they look to build on their opening day victory last weekend. The match will take place this Sunday August 26th at Mile End Stadium, Burdett Road, London, E3 4HL with kick-off at 2pm.