The O’s women’s team came from a goal down to clinch a crucial 2-1 victory over Cambridge United Women in the FA Women’s National League on Sunday.
Manager Chris Brayford made one change to the side who started the Capital Cup semi-final victory over Queens Park Rangers Women last Sunday.
Sophie Le Marchand recovered from illness and replaced Camila Pescatore who recently accepted a scholarship in America.
Orient got the game underway on a glorious afternoon at Mildenhall Town FC, kicking from right to left during the first half.
Cambridge forced an early corner that was punched to safety by Orient goalkeeper Naomi Ogunde. At the other end, Lisa Holmback had the O’s first shot on target that was easily dealt with by Savannah Smith in the U’s goal.
It was a positive opening quarter of an hour from both teams who were playing with purpose and intensity. Suaila Cardoso Queni was looking lively in attack for the O’s, who managed to resist some attempts from Cambridge to get in behind the back four.
With half an hour played, chances were proving hard to come by for both sides. Much of the play was in the middle third of the pitch with plenty of physical battles, however neither goalkeeper had been properly tested.
As half-time approached, it was going to take something special to separate the sides and Cambridge provided it in stoppage time. Amber Cantwell picked the ball up around 25 yards from goal, releasing a dipping effort which nestled in to the top right corner of the net.
Although, Orient replied with their next attack. Egle Trezzi’s through ball was intelligently left by Cardoso Queni, rolling kindly for Le Marchand who showed great composure to tuck the ball underneath Smith and level the scores at 1-1.
Cambridge got the second half underway after Orient made their first change of the afternoon at the interval. Holmback was replaced by Lisa Fulgence as the O’s switched formation and opted for two strikers.
On 68 minutes, the O’s turned the game on its head. Trezzi played a wonderfully weighted pass over the top of the Cambridge defence for Cardoso Queni, who lifted the ball calmly over Smith to give Orient a 2-1 lead.
Soon, Trezzi produced a carbon copy of her earlier pass but Le Marchand was unable to keep her effort down. There was a stoppage in play as Hayley Barton received treatment after a challenge, before limping off to be replaced by Connie Montiel-McCann.
Orient were looking to extend their narrow lead and came close when the ball dropped nicely for Fulgence whose effort stung the palms of Smith. Then, Le Marchand angled a close-range header wide of the target from a corner.
After a nervous finale, the referee’s whistle sounded to secure all three points for the O’s who succeeded in defeating Cambridge for the first time in three attempts this season.
With two assists to her name, midfielder Egle Trezzi gave her overall thoughts on the O’s performance:
“I think it was a deserved victory, it was needed to boost our confidence. It was a reward for the performances that we put in the last couple of games against really tough teams like Billericay and QPR. It was nice to have a deserved victory against a team in our league.
“I thought we played well, the work rate from everyone was really good. We played our shape and dictated the tempo, which is something we don’t always do, but it was a great effort from everyone on the pitch.”
Next, the O’s travel to face Enfield Town Ladies in the Isthmian Cup semi-finals this Wednesday 27th February with kick-off at 20:00.