The O’s women’s team booked their place in the Capital Cup semi-finals with a 5-2 victory against Haringey Borough Women on Sunday.
Manager Chris Brayford made two changes to the side who began the 5-0 victory over Enfield Town Ladies in the FA Women’s National League last Sunday. Kathryn Canavan replaced Avril Kilkelly in defence while Camila Pescatore started ahead of Egle Trezzi in midfield.
Haringey got this Capital Cup tie underway on a bright but chilly afternoon at Mile End Stadium. However, Orient started superbly retaining and keeping possession extremely well with some flowing football in the early exchanges.
With six minutes played, Orient carved out their first clear-cut opportunity on goal. Katharine Nutman slipped in Sophie Le Marchand who was denied by the feet of visiting goalkeeper Talisha Hickson who reacted smartly to block Pescatore’s follow-up effort.
After quarter of an hour, Orient were dominating proceedings and were playing some neat football. They were recovering the ball well when possession was conceded and moving it with purpose, an opening goal seemed like only a matter of time.
Then, the home side came close again with two chances in quick succession. Hickson fumbled a corner but did well to smother Tara O’Halloran’s close-range rebound, before clawing Pescatore’s teasing effort away from danger.
On 20 minutes, Le Marchand found her stride. She cut inside from the right, skipping past two challenges before cutting inside and firing her effort wide. Again, Hickson let Hayley Barton’s corner slip from her grasp but Hannah Porter blazed the loose ball over the crossbar.
Finally, the O’s found a breakthrough courtesy of Barton on 22 minutes. She let fly from a central position and watched Hickson push the ball towards her own goal, where a covering defender couldn’t keep the ball from crossing the line.
After half an hour, Orient should have netted a second goal. Barton’s corner was knocked down by O’Halloran and somehow scrambled off the goal-line by a combination of Haringey shirts.
It was much of the same for Orient going in to half-time, they saw plenty of the ball however were lacking a clinical touch in front of goal. Haringey had done themselves proud, remaining difficult for the O’s to break down.
Orient got the second half underway and came out of the blocks quickly looking to add to their goal tally. Pescatore forced a smart one-handed save from Hickson after a driving run down the right side.
Shortly after, the O’s were awarded a penalty on 52 minutes when Le Marchand went down under a challenge from Natalie Wilson. Captain Danielle Griffiths took responsibility and swept the ball confidently into the bottom corner doubling Orient’s advantage.
Two minutes later, the O’s netted a third goal when Barton curled in a delightful free-kick from a central position that floated into the top corner extending Orient’s lead to a healthy 3-0 margin.
However, Haringey stood firm and hit back just two minutes after Orient’s third. A ball into the box caused confusion in the O’s defence leaving the ball to drop for Lucy Wragg who smashed the ball into an empty net.
Instantly, the O’s restored their three-goal cushion as Barton claimed her hat-trick. She picked the ball up in space, let fly from range and watched as the ball sailed into the net giving Orient a 4-1 lead.
Now, the floodgates were open as Orient added a fifth goal. Le Marchand played an exquisite through pass to Barton whose effort was pushed away by Hickson, but Chanel Richards was lurking to cushion home the rebound.
Meanwhile, the O’s made their first change of the afternoon as Avril Kilkelly replaced Francesca Cagetti with 25 minutes remaining. Quickly, Belen Ripoll Douton was introduced in place of most recent goal scorer Richards.
With fifteen minutes left, Chloe McNee returned to the side replacing Canavan in the O’s final change. On 82 minutes, Hickson made an outstanding triple save denying Ripoll-Douton, O’Halloran and Pescatore in heroic fashion.
The visitors had shown good character throughout the match, and snatched a second goal in stoppage time as Seren Ahmet raced onto the ball and drilled it into the back of net reducing the score margin to 5-2 before the referee’s final whistle.
After the game, hat-trick hero Hayley Barton was pleased with the victory and had her sights set on a cup final this season:
“It was a mixed performance but on the whole, it was amazing to come away with the win to get through to the semi-final - that’s all that matters in the cup. We know our performance can go up another gear or two, but we know what we need to work on and its great to come away with the win.
“We’d love to get to the final and come away with the trophy. We took so many positives from that game against Charlton (last year), it was a great team performance against a fantastic team. If we can replicate that and go one further, then I think we’ve got a great chance this season.”
Next, the O’s return to FA Women’s National League action with a trip to face Norwich City Ladies this Sunday 25th November with kick-off at 2pm.