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Women's Football News
Leyton Orient have got off to a superb start in Division One South East of the FA Women's National League, their 3-0 victory over AFC Basildon giving them a fifth win in six games and leaving them as one of three teams with the same goal difference aat the top of the table.
We talked to O's captain Danni Griffiths and striker Sophie Le Marchand, who admitted that they were not at their best when beating Basildon on Sunday but feel that, overall, they are well equipped to be serious contenders in what could be a fascinating title race in their division:
WSS: Well done on a good win on Sunday, was it a pleasing performance to go with the result?
Sophie: I think the result flatters us somewhat! We were very sluggish in the first half and it took a fantastic penalty save (by Naomi Ogunde) early in the second half to give us the kick up the backside that we needed. From that moment onwards, however, we subjected the opposition to wave upon wave of pressure and it was pleasing to see that we had the mental strength to win comfortably, even when we were not at our free flowing best.
WSS: Five wins out of six and still unbeaten, are things going better than you could have hoped when the season began?
Sophie: We knew that we had recruited really well over the summer, but it was always going to be challenging integrating those new players into the squad. It has been fantastic to see how quickly everyone has gelled and we are delighted that we remain unbeaten so far this season.
WSS: Things could not be any tighter between the top three in the table right now, with all having the same number of points and goal difference. Can you see it being a close race during the season?
Sophie: I think it is going to be a very tight three horse race between us, Billericay and Ipswich. All three teams are very strong, very competitive and filled with talented individuals. We know each other very well, so we are anticipating some colossal battles ahead!
WSS: Sophie and Otesha Charles were both on the scoresheet again on Sunday, how reassuring is it for the team to have two such prolific goal threats?
Danni: Sophie has been topping the goalscoring charts for us for years and it is brilliant to see her continuing that goalscoring prowess again this year. She simply loves to score goals! Otesha joined us at the start of this season, which has been excellent. Otesha is prolific and a real threat; I would hate to defend against her with her speed and power! Having them both in the squad (as well as our other fantastic attacking players) gives a real confidence that we will be a threat in front of goal in each and every game.
WSS: This week, it's the Women's FA Cup and an away tie at Abingdon United, who are doing well at the level below. Do you know much about them, and how tough a game do you think it could be?
Danni: We don't know too much about Abingdon as I don't recall having played them before, save that one of our old fans from Oxford is also an Abingdon supporter! We are preparing ourselves and know it will be a good contest, they are currently third in the Southern Region League Premier Division and have had a strong start to the season. We are aware that the FA Cup is an underdog's dream and anything can happen but our job is to make sure Leyton Orient is in the hat for the next round.
WSS: So how big on your list of priorities would a good run in the FA Cup be, if you can manage one?
Danni: Our main aim for the season is to win the league championship and promotion to the FAWNL Southern Premier. However, a good cup run in which we test ourselves against some of the best teams in the country would be fantastic to have alongside that!
WSS: After that, in midweek it's away to AFC Wimbledon in the league who are also unbeaten, do you see this game as your biggest test so far?
Danni: In the WNL, every game is a test. However, Wimbledon are a very strong team year on year and they have had a very good start to this season. This is the first game in which we have played one of the other unbeaten teams so it is bound to be a tasty affair, particularly as it is a midweek game under the lights! It is these games that will determine the outcome at the end of the season so it these games we long for!
WSS: You have got off to a really good start, do you feel the team is ready to go all the way in the league this season?
Danni: The team is definitely ready to go all the way and hopefully win the league and promotion this season. That's our objective, we have the talent in the squad and, most importantly, we believe we can do it.
Our thanks to Danni and Sophie!
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