A battling, spirited performance from our Amberettes in the searing East London sunshine wasn’t enough on the day as Leyton Orient ran out 4-2 winners on Sunday.
The match, played at Brisbane Road, swung between the two sides. Orient took a quick two goal lead through a Leanne Bates double, before goals from Khyrah Fagbemi and Holly Fox hauled Cheshunt level at half time. Bates completed her hat trick in the second half and a stunning effort from Madeline Wright sealed victory for the hosts.
The game however was marred by injury to Cheshunt top scorer, Fran Gamble, who was stretchered off in the second half and taken to hospital. All at Cheshunt FC wish Fran well and a speedy, full recovery.
Manager, Leo Green handed starts to Khyrah Fagbemi, Holly Fox, Ayse Bashkal and Toni Green for the first time this season, with goalkeeper, Maisie Threadgold-Smith making the bench, as backup to former Ipswich keeper, Emily Goodacre who retained her place in goal following the 3-1 win over Hertford.
Orient came out the blocks with the first chance, Hannah Jenks getting a good early effort off but Amberettes keeper’ Emily Goodacre was well behind it to comfortably hold her first save of the day. Despite the heat, the game had a nice ebb and flow to it, with Cheshunt gaining a free kick around 30 yards out, but Toni Green’s effort sailed over the bar of Orient stopper, Lola Durojaiye.
Orient continued to pin Cheshunt back and search for the opener, with a corner falling to the feet of Renee Collins-Edwards, who’s dipping effort looked to be looping in, but the outstretched leg of Ayse Bashkal managed to hook the ball up over the bar to keep the scores level.
Liliana Almeida, was causing Cheshunt all sorts of problems, and she won her side a controversial penalty, going down very softly under challenge from Goodacre, with the referee pointing to the spot, despite little to no appeals from any Orient fans, players or staff. Nevertheless, Leanne Bates stepped up and slotted home the resulting spot kick, to give Orient the lead.
Ten minutes after the penalty, Orient and Bates had a second goal, as the attacker danced through the Cheshunt defence to slot past Goodacre and give the hosts breathing space.
After the drinks break, Cheshunt were like a different side, winning a corner which was put right on the money for Holly Fox to smash the ball into the bottom corner to haul the Amberettes back into the match.
Orient and Bates in particular didn’t let this deter them, with Orient’s chief tormentor getting on the end of a fizzing cross, only to be denied by a stunning save from Goodacre to keep the gap in the scoreline at one. Shortly after the save, another baffling decision that left everyone of a Cheshunt persuasion baffled came from the man in the middle. Fagbemi raced onto a through ball that the Orient keeper couldn’t quite grasp and seemingly just clattered over the attacker, however nothing was given, much to the dismay of all in Amber.
Fagbemi once again was at the centre of the storm just moments after, putting the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was ruled out for a foul on Orient keeper, Durojaiye after she had two hands on the ball when the striker knocked it out her grasp. The Amberettes Number 14 wasn’t to be denied for long though, pouncing on yet another mistake at the back from Orient and their keeper, to tap the ball into an empty net to level the scores heading into the half time break.
Half Time – Leyton Orient 2-2 Cheshunt
Manager Green made the first roll of the dice during the break, bringing on Molly Wain in place of Toni Green in the middle of the park.
Orient were very quick out of the blocks in the second forty five too, after Bashkal had a lofted through pass to Sasha Kelly snuffed out for the Amberettes, Orient sprung an attack, with the ball ending up at the feet of Bates, who arrowed her effort into the bottom left, giving her the match ball and the hosts a 3-2 lead.
There was a lengthy stoppage afterwards after Fran Gamble went down following an off the ball incident after taking a touch, which led to her being stretchered off and taken to hospital in a huge, huge blow for the Amberettes, with Millie Mwandha on in her place.
Something of a misery compiler for Cheshunt came just after the hour mark, when Madeline Wright cut in off the left flank and sent an unstoppable effort curling and dipping into the top corner, leaving Goodacre with no chance and Orient once again had a two goal lead/
The Amberettes must have walked under ladders or over three drains on the way to the ground, as the scorer of the second goal, Khyrah Fagbemi was then forced off, again on a stretcher through injury, with Becky Scott on in place of her, and a complete re-jig of the Ambers game plan.
Bates was inches away from getting her fourth goal, when a teasing cross found her on the penalty spot, but her header was brilliantly saved by Goodacre at point-blank range.
The injuries just seemed to suck the life out of the Amberettes, who ran out of steam in the last 15-20 minutes, with the game ending 4-2 to the hosts.
Full Time – Leyton Orient 4-2 Cheshunt FC
Cheshunt: Goodacre, Wood-Thompson(C), Shimell, Keenlyside, Meeking, Green (Wain 45’), Bashkal, Kelly, Gamble (Mwandha 53.), Fox, Fagbemi (Scott 68’)
Goals – Holly Fox 28’, Khyrah Fagbemi 41’
Unused Substitutes, Maise Threadgold-Smith (GK), Sevi Djemal, Beth Forster, Jade Beckett.
Pictures & Report by Finley Chung