Leyton Orient clinched a hard-fought victory over Northampton Town at the PTS Academy Stadium on Saturday, a wonderful tactical performance from Interim Head Coach Ross Embleton.
The O’s made three changes to the Starting XI as Dale Gorman, James Brophy and Matt Harrold came in for Marvin Ekpiteta, Louis Dennis and George Marsh.
The PTS Academy Stadium rose to their feet before kick-off as both sides took a moment to celebrate the life of Justin Edinburgh, the O’s Head Coach who passed away on June 8.
It was Justin’s most recent side who started the brightest as Craig Clay curled a lovely ball behind the back-line to James Brophy, the winger cutting back to Wilkinson who flicked his effort against the near post.
An early change was forced upon the visitors when Sam Ling pulled up with a groin issue, Marvin Ekpiteta coming on to replace him.
Conor Wilkinson proved to be a constant menace for the O’s as he firstly forced a good save from Cornell on the half-hour mark before making an even better save moments later as the forward’s header was somehow tipped onto the bar.
The 24-year-old did excellently on the 34th minute as he managed to keep the ball in play on the right touchline, cutting back to Harrold whose side-footed effort was well blocked on the line.
Northampton Town went close through Reece Hall-Johnson as he headed wide from a free-kick, the preceding trip seeing Joe Widdowson booked.
Neither side, however, could break the deadlock before the half-time interval. The O’s will have been pleased with their performance although disappointed that their efforts didn’t have them ahead.
Keith Curle’s side had the first opening of the second half, Harry Smith volleying over from close ranger under pressure from Ekpiteta.
They hit the post minutes later as good hold-up play by Williams in the box offered an opportunity for Sam Hoskins, his side-footed effort bouncing against the upright and scrambled clear.
It took a moment of magic from Matt Harrold to finally break the deadlock on the 57th minute, the ‘Ginger Pele’ picking the ball up in the O’s half and hitting an incredible pass on the turn into the path of James Brophy to slot home. It was a good finish from the winger who was travelling at speed.
Matt Harrold went close himself after 67 minutes as he got on the end of Wilkinson’s header across the box but could only direct it wide.
The hosts ramped up the pressure in the final 10 minutes in search for an equaliser as Scott Wharton’s volley from the edge of the box forced a good save from Brill before Adams rifled an effort just wide from distance.
However, Ross Embleton’s men stayed resolute for a third clean sheet and a third league win of the season.
NORTHAMPTON TOWN: Cornell, Hall-Johnson, Martin, Hoskins, Smith (Oliver 70), Adams ©, Williams (Warburton 70), Lines, Wharton, McWilliams (McCormack 70), Harriman
SUBS: Pollock, Hughes, Waters, Fisher
BOOKINGS: McCormack (71)
LEYTON ORIENT: Brill, Ling (Ekpiteta 5’), Widdowson, Gorman (Marsh 80), Coulson ©, Clay, Wilkinson, Happe, Brophy, Harrold (Maguire-Drew 77), Wright
SUBS: Sargeant, Dayton, Dennis, Ogie
GOALS: Brophy (57)
BOOKINGS: Gorman, Widdowson, Wilkinson