Leyton Orient pay for defensive frailties

Leyton Orient 2 – 4 Northampton Town

Richie Wellens’ O’s defensive frailties were harshly exposed, as the promotion-pushing Cobblers enjoyed a Saturday afternoon goal fest. To cap a bad day at the office, Shad Ogie was red-carded, late on.

Mitch Pinnock, John Guthrie and two Joshua Felix-Eppiah first-half strikes put the Midlanders into the third, automotic promotion spot, with closest rivals. Port Vale, losing at Walsall.

At least looking good in attack, Theo Archibald and sub, Jordan Brown efforts, either side of the break, restored some respectability to an initially embarrassing scoreline.

After an encouraging start, with Northampton looking jittery at the back, Paul Smyth and Aaron Drinan should have netted, but defensive indecision saw Smyth concede a disputed 19th minute free-kick, from which Pinnock netted from Sam Hoskins’ short pass.

The Cobblers went further ahead, when the O’s twice failed to clear Hoskins’ 32nd minute corner and Guthrie made no mistake from four yards.

The lively Felix-Eppiah put the visitors further ahead, on the stroke of half-time, before Archibald reduced the arrears with a smart finish, from good Smyth approach play.

But, the O’s hadn’t learned their lesson and sloppy defending gifted Eppiah his second and match clinching fourth, in stoppage time.

Brown – on for Ethan Coleman – made an instant impact and reduced the arrears within five minutes of the restart, after Smyth had appeared to have been impeded, but the referee waved ‘play-on’.

With the visitors almost home and hosed, sub, Harry Smith and the industrious Drinan went close, before the 84th minute flare-up.

Sub, Danny Rose caught Ogie with an over the ball challenge. Ogie, understandably reacted to what initially appeared to be a leg-breaker challenge. The referee duly booked Rose, but dismissed Ogie for retaliation.

Wellens admitted: “We could have been two-nil up in the first fifteen minutes. However, having come in six weeks ago and facing relegation, but now, with nothing to play for, like Manchester United earlier today, a performance like this was always going to happen.”

“But, we put in a good second-half display and I have no complaints with the sending-off – you can’t retaliate. I thought it was a fair tackle. It also showed Northampton had something to play for.”

“We go to Crawley Town, next Saturday (kick-off 3pm) and hopefully, with a good away support.”

Cobblers’ boss, Jon Brady, said: “Richie Wellens has rejuvenated this Leyton Orient side and it was an incredibly tough place to come to today. They’re a very good side, with some excellent players. So, I’m very pleased with the win.”

Leyton Orient: Lawrence Vigouroux, Otis Khan (Alex Mitchell 52), Omar Beckles, Shad Ogie, Connor Wood, Paul Smyth, Ethan Coleman (Jordan Brown 46), Darren Pratley (capt), Theo Archibald, Aaron Drinan, Ruel Sotiriou (Harry Smith 51). Subs (not used): Sam Sargeant, Matt Young, Jayden Sweeney, Daniel Nkrumah.

Northampton Town: Liam Roberts, Aaron McGowan, Fraser Horsfall, John Guthrie, Ali Koiki (Joseph Mills 90), Jack Sowerby, Shaun McWilliams, Sam Hoskins, Mitchell Pinnock, Joshua Felix-Eppiah (Danny Rose 71), Louis Appéré (Chanka Zimba 90). Subs (not used): Scott Pollock, Idris Kanu, Jonny Maxted, Max Dyche.

Referee: Darren Handley
Assistant Referees: Stuart Butler, Mark Stevens
Fourth Official: Andrew Laver

Attendance: 6,237


Rowland Lyons

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