The O’s women’s team suffered back-to-back home league defeats with a 1-3 loss to Billericay Town Ladies in the FA Women’s National League on Wednesday evening.
Orient came into the match sitting third in South East Division One with six points whilst Billericay arrived at Mile End in second place having started their campaign with three consecutive victories.
Manager Chris Brayford made two changes to the side who began the 0-2 victory against Stevenage Ladies on Sunday.
Kathryn Canavan returned at right-back with captain Danielle Griffiths switching to left-back in the absence of Leyre Bastyr. Meanwhile, Egle Trezzi came into the midfield in place of Chloe McNee who dropped to the bench.
Billericay, in their all blue strip, kicked the game off under the lights at Mile End Stadium. They began with purpose and could have taken an early lead only for Jay Blackie to miscue her close-range effort over the crossbar.
Moments later, the visitors were shouting for a penalty when Georgia Box went down under a challenge from Fran Cagetti but the referee was quick to wave away their appeals.
Orient’s first sight of goal arrived on five minutes as the result of a set-piece. Hayley Barton whipped a corner onto the head of Lisa Fulgence who directed her attempt narrowly wide of the target.
However, their clearest sight of goal came shortly afterwards when Barton stood a cross up for Sophie Le Marchand who watched her close-range header from the centre of the goal come crashing back off the post.
Despite this frustration, the O’s persisted and were rewarded when they broke the deadlock with nine minutes played. Barton’s corner was met by Tara O’Halloran whose downward header was cleared off the line but only to Fulgence who reacted quickest to nod the O’s into a 1-0 lead.
After a fast start from Billericay, the O’s had grown into the game and put themselves in a good position with an early goal. However, Billericay went in search of a quick response and came close when Box drilled a low shot inches wide of the far post.
For the neutral, it had been an enjoyable opening twenty minutes with a goal, chances at both ends and passages of end-to-end football. Then, Billericay found their equaliser on 22 minutes when Zoe Rushen got the better of Orient keeper Naomi Ogunde with a powerful strike which dipped under the crossbar to draw the visitors level.
On the half hour mark, Orient could have re-gained the lead when Fulgence knocked the ball over the top for O’Halloran whose effort was well-blocked by Nikkita Runnacles in the Billericay goal.
Shortly after, the O’s saw another chance go amiss when Le Marchand latched onto Fulgence’s flick-on but couldn’t connect cleanly with the ball. Soon, Le Marchand got in behind the Billericay backline once more to meet Trezzi’s excellent aerial pass but was unable to direct her header on target.
At the break, the teams were all square after an eventful first 45 minutes. The O’s got themselves into a good position with an early goal but would have been disappointed to have allowed Billericay a route back into the game.
Orient got the second half underway, but it was Billericay who came close to taking the lead when Esme Lancaster’s curling shot clipped the top of the Orient crossbar.
However, the visitors succeeded in turning the game on its head with 56 minutes on the clock. Courtney Lumley whipped a teasing ball into the area with Box appearing to nick the ball underneath Ogunde and into the bottom corner giving Billericay a 1-2 lead.
Despite their deficit, the O’s were seeing some joy through the middle of the pitch, but the final pass was lacking on the counter attack. Meanwhile, Billericay could have netted a third goal when Lucy Jones’ fierce left-footed strike from range left the crossbar shaking.
Looking for an equaliser, the O’s made a double switch with Trezzi and Canavan making way for Lydia Cooper and Lisa Holmback with just under twenty minutes remaining. Billericay were looking to put the game beyond Orient’s reach as Danica Dougal guided a free header over the crossbar.
The visitors ensured their 100% record would remain intact when Rushen curled the ball over Ogunde and into the far corner of the net with ten minutes remaining. Now trailing by two goals, Orient’s final change saw McNee replace O’Halloran in midfield for the closing stages.
With five minutes remaining, Rushen should have grabbed the match ball but sliced her effort over the crossbar from 12 yards. Orient could have created a nervous finale but Griffiths’ inviting free-kick evaded the outstretched right leg of Fulgence to conclude a disappointing evening for the O’s.
Next, Orient travel to face Denham United Ladies in the FA Women’s National League this Sunday with kick-off at 2pm.