Ross Embleton made four changes from the weekend defeat at Port Vale, with Marvin Ekpiteta, Craig Clay, Ouss Cissè and Matt Harrold coming in for Myles Judd, Hector Kyprianou, Jordan Maguire-Drew and Lee Angol.
The first real chance of the match came in the ninth minute when a misplaced pass from Sam Sargeant presented Matt Warburton with an opportunity. The midfielder failed to capitalise on this chance with his effort striking the woodwork.
The danger wasn’t over there though as the ball fell to Nicky Adams in the box, however Sargeant did well to smother his attempt, before Dan Happe blocked Vadaine Oliver’s effort.
The match remained cagey throughout the first half with few chances for either team, though the away side almost created something in the 25th minute when Oliver headed down towards Ryan Watson, however the ball proved just out of his reach.
Orient’s first chance of the game came in the 38th minute. Josh Wright’s free kick was challenged well by Cissé, with the ball eventually falling in the box to Conor Wilkinson. The striker then unleashed an effort that forced David Cornell to parry the ball away for a corner.
The Cobblers broke the deadlock a minute before half time, Watson found the ball just outside the box and drove into space, before firing home into the top of the net to give his side the lead.
Despite not making a change in personnel, the O’s switched formation to a 442 at the break with Craig Clay and James Brophy providing the width from midfield.
And they made a bright start to the second half, first Dan Happe headed narrowly over from George Marsh’s cross. Then, Wright’s blocked effort found Cissé whose deflected strike went behind for a corner.
Embleton made his first substitutions of the evening in the 57th minute, Maguire-Drew and Ruel Sotiriou replacing Josh Coulson and Harrold.
Five minutes later he made another switch, this time Cissé making way for James Dayton.
The changes had the desired effect as the O’s began to look a lot sharper in and around the third. They came so close to equalising when a set piece fell to Happe in the box, the central defender then juggled the ball over a Northampton man and flashed an effort goal wards, only for a great block to deny him.
Orient’s pressure finally told in the 84th minute as a ball into the box was handled by Scott Wharton, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Wright stepped up to take the resulting penalty and coolly slotted it into the corner to give the O’s an equaliser.
Following the goal, Wharton and Dayton got embroiled in a confrontation as the O’s midfielder tried to retrieve the ball. Both players were dismissed by referee Alan Young for their actions.
The O’s came so close to walking away with all three points deep into stoppage time, when Maguire-Drew had a rasping effort tipped over for a corner. The resulting corner ended up falling to Wilkinson, who saw his looping header clawed away by Cornell.
Despite that flurry of late pressure, a winner just evaded Embleton’s side forcing them to settle for a point.
ORIENT: Sargeant, Ekpiteta, Coulson (Maguire-Drew 57”), Clay, Wilkinson, Happe, Brophy, Harrold (Sotiriou 57”) Marsh, Cissè (Dayton 63”), Wright
SUBS: Vigouroux, Judd, Kyprianou, Sweeney
BOOKED: Cissé 45”
SENT OFF: Dayton 86″
GOALS: Wright 85”
NORTHAMPTON: Cornell, Goode, Turnbull, Watson, Adams (Hoskins 56”), Lines, Wharton, Oliver (Williams 75”), Warburton, Harriman, Anderson (Martin 70”)
SUBS: Arnold, Hall-Johnson, Roberts, Johnston
BOOKED: Goode 35”, Cornell 76”
SENT OFF: Wharton 86″
GOALS: Watson 44”
REF: Alan Young
ATT: 3774 (380)