Jay Simpson and Marvin Bartley struck to secure Orient first home win of the season in the quarter final of the JPT. After failing to win at home since April barring the play offs, Simpson struck his 6th of the season before Marvin Bartley completed the scoring in the dying minutes to see of Northampton. The win sees Orient progress to the semi finals where they could play Bristol City, Gillingham or either Coventry or Plymouth with the draw taking place Saturday.
After losing to Oldham in the 1st round of the F.A. Cup on Saturday, Milanese made four changes with Adam Legizins, Marvin Bartley, Gary Sawyer and Elliot Omouzi coming in for Gary Woods, Scott Cuthbert, Shaun Batt and Mathieu Baudry. Northampton made 5 changes but kept the same back four from Saturday with Emile Sinclair keeping his place in attack; with 4 games in 11 days, it is a tough run of fixtures for the Cobblers.
Both teams started quietly with neither team taking the initiative, Orient lined up 4-4-2 while Northampton adopted 4-3-3 looking to catch Orient on the break absorbing pressure and countering. Dagnall and Simpson continued in attack with both becoming lively and having half chances. The home side were playing some neat football with Cox, Dagnall, Simpson and Wright all linking up going close after a neat lay off from Cox saw Simpson’s shot go straight at the keeper. Orient were making openings with the final ball sometimes being a second late but had a warning when Northampton had a goal disallowed for offside.
Orient responded immediately breaking the deadlock, Legizins clearance was beautifully flicked round the corner for Simpson by Dagnall who entering the penalty box and made no mistake for his 6th of the season and 3rd of the competition. The first time Orient had broken the deadlock at home this season and continued to dominate proceedings. Dagnall could have doubled the lead after the move of the night, brilliant one touch play saw Cox play a delicious ball with the outside of his foot to Dagnall. Unfortunately the ball got stuck under the striker’s feet and the chance went begging.
Orient started the second half brightly with Dagnall doing excellently to create space but blazing his shot wide. Scott Kashket replaced the goal scorer Simpson after the former Hull striker picked up a knock in the latter stages of the first half. Wilder waited 10 minutes before he made a triple change with Marc Richards, Chris Hackett and Kelvin Langmead coming on. Richards and Hackett completing their comeback from injury after missing a series of games.
Northampton began to grow in the game with Orient failing to retain possession with the ball not sticking up front; a trait which has been seen at home this season. Northampton’s chance to equalize came with 20 minutes left, Chris Hackett beat Lowry to the byline crossing for Mohammed; but the on loan Port Vale striker glanced his header agonizingly wide of the target. Shaun Batt was introduced as Orient looked for an outlet to keep the ball which nearly paid off after a great run for the substitute but Dagnall struck his shot against the post from the cross.
The Cobblers continued with the majority of the possession as Orient began to get edgy at the prospect of ending the Brisbane Road Hoodo. However the away side couldn’t create clear cut chances to level the match with Legizins not being tested in the Orient goal. The O’s made the game safe in the dying minutes with Dagnall’s tireless work, laying Bartley in who stroked home to guarantee Orient’s first home win in 10.
It was a much improved home performance with link up play between the attacking players being very good. At times Orient had the tempo and passing back to a level which cuts through teams, Wright was beginning to pull the strings with Cox, Dagnall and Simpson working well together. Clarke and Lowry looked solid at the back and should continue on Saturday away at Gillingham. Make no mistake Northampton were a league below and didn’t create many clear cut chances but a win is a win. Sometimes it takes an ugly win to gain confidence, with the home win scenario now gone; the O’s can take confidence for their league form. With Jack Price returning this week, players returning from injury Orient are getting stronger and not far away. The key is to continue the performances and the results will come.