Two early second-half goals saw the O’s women’s team slip to a 2-0 defeat against Denham United Ladies in the FA Women’s National League on Sunday.
Manager Chris Brayford made three changes to the side who began the 4-1 defeat to Crawley Wasps Ladies on 27th January.
Hannah Porter returned at the heart of the defence, Hayley Barton was fit enough to play at right midfield while Lisa Fulgence paired Suaila Cardoso Queni in attack.
Denham got the game underway on a drizzly afternoon at Mile End, kicking from right to left in their navy blue strip. It was a physical start to the match with both teams scrapping for possession during the early exchanges.
It was a quiet opening quarter of an hour with neither side able to carve out any clear cut opportunities on goal. However, Orient thought they had broken the deadlock on 17 minutes, but Sophie Le Marchand’s close-range effort was ruled out for offside.
Shortly after, Suaila Cardoso Queni drove a low shot from the edge of the box that was well blocked by Denham goalkeeper Lizzie Rose. At the other end, Naomi Ogunde dealt comfortably with Emma Kern’s glancing header at the near post.
With half-time approaching, Orient were awarded a direct free-kick inside the box after Rose picked up a back pass. Skipper Danielle Griffiths’ fierce strike was charged down by a swarm of blue shirts.
At the break, there was nothing to separate the two teams after an uneventful first 45 minutes. Orient will have felt aggrieved to have been denied by the linesman’s flag, while Denham were proving difficult to break down.
Orient got the second half underway but were dealt a major blow when Denham took the lead on 47 minutes. Meila D’Santos reacted quickest to a loose ball, finding the bottom corner with a purposeful strike.
On 55 minutes, the visitors doubled their advantage. A through pass picked out Kern who showed composure to control the ball, before calmly lifting it over Ogunde and watching it trickle into the net.
As the rain began to pour, Orient made their first change of the afternoon prior to the hour mark. Chloe Christison-McNee made way for Katharine Nutman as Orient looked to tighten up the midfield.
Quickly, the O’s threw the dice once more with Chanel Richards replacing Fulgence in a like-for-like change in attack. Richards was keen to make an immediate impact, finding herself one-on-one with Rose but dragging her effort wide of the target.
With fifteen minutes remaining, Orient were throwing everything at the Denham defence. Barton’s floated free kick was met by Le Marchand whose header was somehow kept out by a combination of visiting defenders.
As the clock ticked down, Egle Trezzi replaced Porter in Orient’s final change. Instantly, Le Marchand cut onto her right foot and crossed for Cardoso Queni whose flicked header was superbly tipped behind by an alert Rose.
Despite their persistence, the O’s were unable to break down a resolute Denham outfit
who continued to stand firm and protect their precious lead. Eventually, the referee’s whistle brought an end to a miserable afternoon for the hosts on home soil.
After the game, Orient captain Danielle Griffiths suggested what was lacking in the team’s performance:
“I think just a bit of confidence on the ball, I don’t think we used it very well. The conditions didn’t help but Denham adapted to them and we should have been able to as well. We had a bright 25 minute spell which we needed to capitalise on, some unfortunate decisions but you need to play for those. We’re not using the ball as well as we could, we definitely need to improve on that.”
Next, the O’s are quickly back in action travelling to Billericay Town Ladies in the FA Women’s National League this Wednesday 13th January, with kick-off at 19:45.