O's victorious against their first Football League opponents of pre-season
A moment of quality from Bradley Pritchard was enough to give Orient a deserved win on a muggy afternoon at Sixfields.
The O's were resolute throughout and looked rarely troubled at the back whilst the tireless running of Chris Dagnall yielded several opportunities that could have widened the scoreline.
Scott Cuthbert returned for the O’s after missing the trip to Gateshead with a groin injury, whilst Shane Lowry was absent after coming off early in Wednesday’s match.
It was a lively enough start and Orient almost broke the deadlock inside the opening 10 minutes when good work from Dagnall and Pritchard saw the latter curl a cross in that was hacked into the path of Dean Cox who tried a volley but flashed his effort just over the bar.
It was a good workout for the O’s in their game against Football League opposition as the Cobblers worked hard and tussled for every ball, particularly going forwards with the size of John-Joe O’Toole and Marc Richards proving a stern test from set-plays.
Indeed it was O’Toole who almost broke the deadlock with a header from a corner on the half hour mark.
Four minutes later though Orient showed a glimpse of what they can do going forwards as Dagnall and David Mooney combined to create an opening for the Irishman who tried to beat Matt Duke at his near post but the Cobblers ‘keeper was alert to the danger.
The chance seemed to shake Orient into life and Dagnall – who looked Orient’s liveliest player going forwards – brought the best out of Duke who had to be strong to beat away his effort at his near post after combining well with Cox.
It was all Orient as the half drew to a close and Cox started to find his range as he fizzed another volley over but the deadlock remained at the interval.
Lloyd James came for Cuthbert for the second period and the O’s were on the front foot straightaway when Mathieu Baudry grazed the bar with a header from a Cox free-kick.
It would be the Frenchman’s last taste of action though as he picked up an injury and hobbled off to be replaced by Elliot Omozusi.
The game looked in danger of petering out into an uneventful pre-season stroll but the O’s shattered the deadlock after the hour mark with a goal of fine quality. The ever-lively Dagnall did well to bring down a Cox through ball and lay it into the path of Pritchard who sent a curling effort past Duke to make it 1-0.
The changes started to come thick and fast as Russell Slade made use of his full squad but chances remained of a premium. Dagnall still looked lively and he flashed a ball across the face that went beyond his teammates, and he almost got his deserved goal when he chased down a back pass but Duke challenged him well.
Orient now travel to E10 for the first time this summer where they entertain Premier League side QPR on Tuesday evening.
Northampton: Duke, Carter, Collins, Richards (Toney 45), O’Toole, Hackett (Sinclair 64), Tozer, Diamond, Robertson (Horwood 71), Ravenhill, Mohamed
Subs: Langmead, Sinclair, Snedker, Nicholls, Moyo, Roberts, Toney
ORIENT: Legzdins, Sawyer, Vincelot, Cuthbert (James 45), Baudry (Omozusi 57), Cox, Mooney (Batt 64), Clarke (Okosun 72), Pritchard, Bartley (Lisbie 64), Dagnall (Kashket 87)
SUBS: Woods, Lee, Ling, Nikalaou
Goals: Pritchard 62
Attendance: 1,054 (142)