The O’s women’s team will be hoping for a third home league victory of 2018 when they welcome Luton Town Ladies to Mile End Stadium this Sunday.
Orient sit second in the FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One, with 31 points from 15 matches. They have won ten, drawn one, and lost four games, boasting the best goal difference in the league (31).
Chris Brayford’s side remain five points behind league leaders AFC Wimbledon, who beat Enfield Town 2-1 at the weekend, and four ahead of third place Milton Keynes Dons who have three games in hand on the O’s.
In their previous outing, Orient edged past fourth placed Ipswich Town 2-1 with a spirited team performance. Top scorer Sophie Le Marchand opened the scoring on 19 minutes, before Natasha Thomas equalised for the visitors just before half-time. However, on the hour mark Le Marchand bagged her brace to secure a much-needed victory for the O’s.
As for Luton, they come into the match fifth in the table with 22 points from 12 games. They have won seven, drawn one, and lost four, with a goal difference of 11.
They are yet to play a league game in 2018, their last WPL outing came on 26th November with an 8-2 victory over Norwich City.
The visitors have been heavily involved with cup competition since the turn of the year. Following a 2-0 defeat to Chichester City Ladies in the Women’s FA Cup, they went on to progress in the WPL Plate with a 3-1 win over Southampton Saints Girls and Ladies. Most recently, they produced an emphatic 17-0 victory over Woburn and Wavendon in the County Cup.
After a significant time without league football, Luton will be hoping to get some points on the board and stay within touching distance of the top four.
For Orient, forward Makesha MacFarlane has made three starts since stepping up from the development team in recent weeks. She is pacey and direct causing problems for opposition defences and will be pushing for another start this weekend.
Meanwhile, striker Belen Ripoll-Douton returned from an ankle injury as a second-half substitute in the victory over Ipswich. Technically gifted with skill and composure on the ball, she will be hoping to regain her match fitness with game time on Sunday.
For Luton, Jess McKay grabbed two goals in their 3-1 WPL Plate victory over Southampton Saints Girls and Ladies on 14th January. McKay will be hoping to get back amongst the goals ahead of three consecutive matches in February.
A Look at the Stats
Orient have scored two or more goals in each of their seven home matches in all competitions this season.
The O’s have scored 35 goals at home in all competitions and conceded just seven.
Luton have failed to score in just one of their ten away games in all competitions this season.
They have scored in each of their five away league matches but are yet to keep a clean sheet on the road in the WPL.
Orient and Luton are no strangers to each other having met twice already this season, with the O’s making two trips to Bedfordshire in the space of a month.
First, the teams battled it out in the determining round of the WPL Cup on 3rd September. Orient ran out 4-2 victors thanks to goals from Le Marchand, Ellie Davies, Ripoll-Douton and Ella Meadowcroft.
Three weeks later, a brace from Sárka Stryhalova plus goals from Le Marchand and Chanel Richards saw Orient emerge 4-0 winners when the sides met in a league encounter.
Orient captain Danielle Griffiths gave her thoughts ahead of the match saying:
“After Sunday’s victory over Ipswich, we will be looking to build on that confidence and momentum. Although we have played Luton twice already and been victorious both times, they are sitting fifth and are not to be underestimated. We will need to show the same grit and determination as we showed last week to come away with another three points.”
Coming to the Game?
If you can, please come down and show your support for the O’s this Sunday. The match will take place at Mile End Stadium, Burdett Road, London, E3 4HL, with kick off scheduled for 2pm.