O’s player-manager Kevin Nolan admitted his side’s performance was ‘simply not good enough’.
Four second half goals, two from James Collins following well-taken strikes from Rod McDonald and Ricky Holmes saw the Cobblers win for the seventh successive League Two game.
Nolan was fully aware of the quality of the opening two goals scored by Chris Wilder’s side, but believed the Cobblers showed exactly what it takes to be league leaders.
“It was simply not good enough,” Nolan told leytonorient.com. “I thought Northampton were fantastic. They showed us what it takes to get out of this division. They have come here, been efficient and brilliant in what they did and made us look ordinary in the second half.
“It is something the boys can now see that if they want to hit the heights and try and get out of this league that is where you have got to get to.
“In the second half you see how much of a good side they are and what Chris has built there. Some of the finishing was fantastic.”
Despite a goalless first half, where the O’s had the more clear-cut chances, Nolan believed the O’s didn’t match the Cobblers across the entire pitch.
“We will look at where we went wrong. We matched them in the first 45 minutes but you have to give them credit to – they contained us,” he added.
“For all our good play where we had a few half chances, they put blocks in when they needed to and they cleared it. Their two centre forwards harrassed us and their four lads in midfield worked their socks off.
“We warned our lads before the game that this is what they will do and we had to match them for what they do and we haven’t. In the second half you see how much of a good side they are and what Chris has built there.”