Cox rescues point for Orient
- Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo
Sky Bet League Two: Northampton Town 1 Leyton Orient 1
Leyton Orient were seconds away from suffering their second League Two defeat of the season before Dean Cox scored a sensational free kick deep into additional time at Sixfields Stadium to rescue a point against Northampton Town.
Cobblers goalkeeper Adam Smith was in impressive form before that and thwarted numerous attackers from the visitors. It seemed like the hosts had sucker punched the O’s when they netted in the second minute of additional time.
But Cox popped up to score his second of the campaign and rescue a point for Ian Hendon’s side.
Hendon made two changes to the side held by Wycombe Wanderers at Brisbane Road last weekend with Ollie Palmer earning his first league start for the club.
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Paul McCallum dropped to the substitutes bench and so do Lloyd James with Bradley Pritchard back to full fitness again after missing the Chairboys clash.
The hosts got proceedings underway at Sixfields Stadium and Sam Hoskins glided past a number of Orient players before winning a corner, almost immediately from the kick-off.
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That was cleared, but the Cobblers won another corner a minute later. Once again, however, the O’s were able to clear the danger.
Palmer was soon into the action when he linked up nicely with Jay Simpson. The ball was worked out wide to Sean Clohessy and his cross found Palmer, but he angled a header over the bar.
Orient appeared to settle after that and won their first corner of the game in the 11th minute. Cox crossed the ball in, but Mathieu Baudry failed to hit the target.
Five minutes later and Cox nearly picked out Simpson with a wonderful pass. The O’s top goalscorer let the ball run away from him, though, and eventually the chance was gone.
He was getting plenty of space in the opening quarter of an hour, however, and Hendon’s team were looking well on top.
Jack Payne, having a good game in midfield, won the ball in the 19th minute and Cox broke forward under no pressure whatsoever from the Northampton back four.
He eventually crossed into the area and Simpson’s header was deflected over the bar with the resulting corner kick cleared by the hosts.
It was goalless at Sixfields, but the visitors were looking good and it only seemed like a matter of time before they took the lead.
That nearly happened in the 24th minute when a shocking back pass allowed Simpson to run towards the Cobblers back four, he picked out Pritchard in space and the Zimbabwean teed up Cox.
Northampton’s Shaun Brisley was able to block the effort from the Orient midfielder, but the pressure kept on building.
A break in play due to an injury to the hosts David Buchanan halted the moment of the visitors.
But they were back into the ascendancy shortly afterwards and finished the first half strongly with Simpson volleying over in the 40th minute after Cox had picked him out.
The former Arsenal youngsters should have hit the target and moments later the O’s poured forward again, but as had been the case for the majority of the half, they couldn’t apply the finishing touch to another good move.
A minute before the break Zander Diamond headed a Northampton free kick by Nicky Adams wide to remind everyone of their treat.
Baudry was booked moments later for a cynical foul inside the opposition half after Orient had failed to make the most of a free kick opportunity.
The half time whistle followed shortly afterwards and despite dominating possession and looking the more likely, the away side were without a goal.
Hendon’s men got the second period underway and Palmer got in down the right and crossed into the box, but nobody was able to get on the end of it.
The O’s had a scare in the 49th minute when Dominic Calvert-Lewin was able to take the ball around Alex Cisak, but the Cobblers forward was forced wide the ball and the visitors managed to get it away.
Two minutes later and Cox managed to work the ball through to Simpson, in space with just Smith to beat. But he dallied on the ball and the Northampton stopper managed to claim the ball.
Simpson should have done better with the opportunity, but it didn’t deter Orient as they continued to come forward.
Moments later Pritchard won a free kick on the right and Cox took the set piece. It was cleared out to Payne and his cross found Palmer at the back post, but Smith saved for the Cobblers.
Another corner came into the box and it was cleared out to Sammy Moore, he did brilliantly to turn his marker and find Connor Essam, but his downward header was excellently tipped wide by Smith.
The Orient pressure continued and they had another chance when the ball came to Simpson, but his effort was blocked and the Cobblers had survived the immediate second half onslaught.
Northampton appeared to gain some confidence from the fact they had prevented the O’s taking the lead, but the away side kept going and Moore poked straight at Smith following Palmer’s knock-down just past the hour mark.
Hendon sent on Blair Turgott with 23 minutes remaining at Sixfields with Moore the man to make way.
The Orient substitute was into the thick of things instantly as Palmer’s header was picked up by Cox.
He crossed towards the back post and Turgott chested down, the ball rolled to Baudry and his shot from close range was blocked by Smith.
The Northampton custodian was having an excellent second half and had definitely kept his team into the game.
Orient again went close minutes later when Cox passed to Simpson, inside the box, but his curled effort was again saved by Smith.
A minute later and that battle occurred again, this time when Payne’s long throw bounced down for Simpson, but Smith blocked from close range and it remained goalless.
Although the Northampton stopper was having a sensational game, the finishing of the visitors hadn’t been clinical enough.
With 15 minutes remaining the O’s were nearly made to pay when substitute Alfie Potter fired towards goal, but fortunately Cisak managed to block with his legs.
McCallum was introduced in the 77th minute and nearly latched onto Turgott’s cross moments later, but Darnell Furlong was able to hack the ball clear.
Payne was the next person to go close for Orient when Northampton failed to properly get the ball away, but the midfielder fired straight at Smith from outside the area.
The Cobblers briefly threatened when they won a corner soon afterwards and Cisak nearly made a mess after coming for a cross.
He was eventually able to claim and his kick set McCallum off and through on goal, but he fell to the ground and the chance was gone.
The Orient forward seemed in pain, though, and immediately called for help. He was later stretched off the field with Scott Kashket replacing him.
Shaun Brisley, who tangled with McCallum, went over to see if the O’s striker was okay when he came off to a standing ovation from the Sixfields crowd.
It was a blow for Hendon and his staff, but with three minutes remaining they were hoping it would be softened by finding a winning goal.
Six minutes of stoppage time were added on and it was announced that Smith had won the man of the match award.
Orient had enjoyed most of the possession and had so many chances, but they couldn’t just find the net.
Unfortunately things were to get worst as two minutes into stoppage time Calvert-Lewin met a corner kick and headed home off the crossbar to put the home side ahead.
They didn’t deserve to take the lead, but the O’s only had themselves to blame for failing to take the chances they had created.
In the final minute of stoppage time they were given one last opportunity to take something from the game when they were awarded a free kick 30-yards-out from goal.
Cox stood over the ball and majestically whipped it into the top corner to spark wild celebrations from everyone associated with the club.
The midfielder was bundled by all his team mates and Hendon and his management staff went wild too.
Moments later the full time whistle shortly followed and Cox’s strike had earned Orient a point.
It wasn’t enough to keep them top of the table, but it did ensure they hadn’t suffered a second defeat of the league season.
Northampton Town: Smith, Diamond, D’Ath (Potter 56), Byrom, Adams, Hoskins (Richards 56), Buchanan (O’Toole 46), Watson, Calvert-Lewin, Furlong, Brisley.
Unused substitutes: Horwood, Lelan, Hackett, Clarke.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Clohessy, Baudry, Essam, Shaw, Payne, Pritchard, Moore (Turgott 67), Cox, Simpson, Palmer (McCallum 77, Kashket 87).
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Dunne, James, Moncur.
Attendance: 5,061 (800 Leyton Orient supporters).