Luton Town Ladies avenged a comprehensive home defeat to Leyton Orient WFC earlier in the season by securing a sensational 4-0 win at Mile End on Sunday.
The Hatters’ attention has turned to the cup competition in recent times with their last FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One outing coming in the shape of an 8-2 victory over Norwich City Ladies at the end of November.
After so long out, they were eager to establish a positive return and they did so in quite brilliant fashion.
Natasha Fensome almost provided the perfect start as she burst through down the left and, having steadied herself for the shot, fired tamely at the near post as the goalkeeper collected.
A defensive lapse presented Orient with an excellent opportunity to nudge themselves ahead, but although the hosts’ striker rounded Kezia Hassall, her shot was blocked and scrambled clear.
That sparked a perturbing spell for the Luton back-line as the hosts enjoyed a five-minute period of extended pressure.
It yielded a golden chance as some promising play down the right culminated in a shot looping over from close range.
The importance of surviving that moment was heightened when shortly after the opening goal arrived, Fensome’s volley striking the post and falling perfectly for Steph Gale to finish.
Although the visitors had just shaded the first half, there was minimal difference between the two teams and Orient were determined to restore parity from the outset of the second period with a ball launched into the penalty area and an effort flying off target.
From that point Luton accelerated into gear and delivered a masterful performance, doubling their lead through Fensome.
She was released by Nicola Henman’s pass before side-stepping two defenders and drilling low across the keeper into the bottom corner.
Arguably, Fensome should have added a third following some intricate link-up play with Gale in the box and the pacey striker appeared to open her body up too much thus sending her shot harmlessly wide of the far post.
Where she failed, Lisa Nixon succeeded in astounding fashion as she pounced on Zara Carroll’s blocked free-kick to volley viciously into the top corner.
Luton were rampant and in their pursuit of more goals they were awarded a spotkick as the O’s defender harnessed her inner goalkeeper to produce a diving save with her hands on the line.
She was dismissed and substitute Joanne Rutherford assumed penalty-taking duties but her strike cannoned off the crossbar and over the top.
The Hatters wouldn’t be denied a fourth to match the scoreline Orient beat them by back in September and it was the irrepressible Fensome who provided it, drifting infield with some delightful trickery before guiding her shot into the far corner.
Goalscorer Nixon said: “Sunday’s performance has really set the bar for the rest of the season.
“We had a game plan and we stuck to it.
“It was a great performance from every player and coach involved.”
The result saw Luton cement their fifth place in the table, ahead of Sunday’s FA WPL Plate meeting with Milton Keynes Dons Ladies next at Stockwood Park.