Leyton Orient came from a goal behind to beat Northampton Town 2-1 at the Whitbreads Sports Ground on Saturday morning.
Amin Benyoucef’s penalty levelled the score, before Jaedon Phillips’ near post finish, handed the visitors their first defeat since February.
Orient had been 1-0 down at the break to the league leaders, but a professional performance saw the O’s fight back and claim a deserved three points.
The visitors played their best football in the opening moments, looking dangerous from set pieces with a notably tall squad. Samuel Amedu, who returned for Orient in goal, made a couple of important saves early on.
The first was an impressive block from close range, after a whipped corner caused all sorts of problems for the hosts. Amedu then leaped to stop a strike heading into his top corner, after an away forward wriggled into space.
The Cobblers took the lead after 23 minutes. Another corner towards the near post missed everyone, before bobbling to a black shirt who hooked the ball into the bottom corner from ten yards out.
The men in red took control of the game after falling behind, however, opportunities to equalise proved elusive. A driven effort from a tight angle favoured the Goalkeeper as Charles Clayden tried his luck just after half an hour.
Alfie Fleming nearly executed a stunning half-volley from distance which saw the ‘keeper scramble across his goal, but was relieved to see the ball whiz the wrong side of the post.
Orient took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half and had their sights on an equaliser. Clayden was denied by a top save, after he wrapped an effort towards the near post first time, after a smart pull-back from Bradley McClenaghan.
McClenaghan himself may have headed home from a Jayden Sweeney cross, but the midfielder couldn’t quite connect with the ball cleanly enough to trouble the visiting ‘keeper.
The O’s kept pushing tirelessly and found the equaliser after 71 minutes. Ernold Haxhiu was brought down from behind inside the box, and gave the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Amin Benyoucef placed the ball on the spot, and then smashed it into the top right corner of the net.
Orient took the lead three minutes after levelling. Haxhiu played the ball out wide to Charles Clayden, who sprinted past Northampton’s defensive line. Jaedon Phillips timed his run perfectly, and turned Clayden’s near post-delivery into the top corner of the net, with a first-time finish from the edge of the six-yard box.
The visitors were hit hard after they fell behind, and were fortunate the O’s didn’t bolster their lead. Ten minutes of stoppage time, due to various injuries, saw the youth side manage the closing stages expertly.
No-nonsense defending, lead into breath-taking counter attacking football, McClenaghan and Lawrence Hammond both had opportunities to add a third. Both players saw their efforts well blocked by the Cobbles defence, as it was Leyton Orient who pushed for a goal before the full-time whistle.
A rejuvenated O’s will look to build upon recent form, with an away trip to Wimbledon next weekend. The game is scheduled for a 10:30am kick off on Saturday morning.
Read reaction from coach Pete Gill here.
ORIENT: Samuel Amedu, Alfie Fleming, Luca Carter-Henry, Mason Hall (Kyrell Palmer 66), Jayden Sweeney, Ernold Haxhiu, Brendon Shabani, Bradley McClenaghan, Charles Clayden, Amin Benyoucef, Jaedon Phillips (Lawrence Hammond 80)
SUBS: Tom Mulqueen, Jeremie Sivi, Jordon Adeyemi, Anthony Papadopoulous
GOALS: Benyoucef (Pen) 71’, Phillips 74’
BOOKED: Haxhiu 84’, Palmer 88’