Three second half goals saw the O’s women’s team come from behind to defeat AFC Wimbledon Ladies 3-1 in the FA Women’s National League on Wednesday night.
Manager Chris Brayford made one change to the side who began the 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town Ladies on 3rd March.
Naomi Ogunde returned between the sticks in place of Latoya Smith who produced an impressive display against the Tractor Girls.
Wimbledon got the game underway on a chilly evening at the War Memorial Sports Ground, kicking from left to right in their all-blue home strip.
The Dons made a bright start and were knocking the ball around with confidence. A cross from the left picked out Caroline Bisson whose cushioned header back across goal dropped just wide of the far post.
On six minutes, Orient had a glorious chance to take the lead. Hayley Barton launched the ball downfield for Suaila Cardoso Queni to chase and square for Sophie Le Marchand, but her effort came crashing back off the woodwork.
Shortly after, Wimbledon were penalised for a back pass. From the resulting free-kick, skipper Danielle Griffiths’ powerful strike forced Dons goalkeeper Edie Kelly into a smart fingertip save.
At the other end, the hosts conjured a quick counter attack that culminated in Bernice Tully curling the ball harmlessly over the crossbar. Moments later, Tully collected the first yellow card for cynically pulling back Katharine Nutman as she looked to break forward.
Orient’s next attack was wonderfully worked with smooth transitional play that ended with Le Marchand’s strike from the left side of the box finding the side-netting. Sadly, Dons goalkeeper Kelly was forced off with an injury and replaced by Charlotte Ferguson.
On 27 minutes, Orient found themselves behind when Katie Stanley’s through ball deceived Ogunde who was under pressure from Bisson, trickling towards goal and nestling in the bottom corner.
Quickly, Ogunde came to Orient’s rescue with a superb stop to deny Jessica Trimnell who struck a fierce effort on the turn from point-blank range. The Dons had the upper hand in terms of the score-line, but the O’s continued to threaten on the attack.
With a brisk chill in the air, Orient got the game restarted and were on level terms within three minutes. Griffiths delivered an inviting free kick into the box, where Hannah Porter was lurking to guide a looping backward header over Ferguson and into the net.
With confidence brewing, Barton produced an outstanding nutmeg to get around her marker. Her eventual cross cannoned off a Dons defender and into the path of Le Marchand who struck straight at Ferguson.
Clearly, Barton was causing all kinds of problems down the right wing as she drove to the by-line, crossing for Cardoso Queni who angled her near post header agonisingly over the upright.
With twenty minutes remaining, Nutman picked up Orient’s first booking for pulling back an advancing Dons player. Immediately, the O’s pressure paid off when Holmback let fly from distance and watched the ball sail into the back of the net to give the visitors a deserved lead.
However, Wimbledon should have equalised when a deep cross from the right found an unmarked Billingham who volleyed inches over the crossbar. Orient were retreating into their shape and riding a wave of pressure in the latter stages.
In the final moments of stoppage time, Orient utilised the counter attack to secure the victory with a third goal. Le Marchand’s cross found Fulgence who did enough to divert the ball up and over Ferguson and put the result beyond any reasonable doubt.
Orient saw the game out to ensure they took all three points back to east-London.
Next, the O’s travel to Enfield Town Ladies for a re-arranged fixture in the FA Women’s National League this Sunday 17th March with kick-off at 14.00.