HENDON RUES O’s FINISHING
LEYTON Orient manager Ian Hendon felt his side did enough to take all three points – not just the one they grabbed at the death against Northampton.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin appeared to have won it for the Cobblers in injury time, when he headed home from a corner to send Sixfields crazy.
It would have been a smashand-grab for Chris Wilder’s side, but the drama didn’t finish there as Dean Cox stepped up just moments later to curl home a stunning free-kick to pull back a point for high-flying Orient.
Hendon’s side had been denied multiple times thanks to a string of stunning saves from Northampton keeper Adam Smith – and Hendon felt aggrieved that his side hadn’t left with a win, despite the last-gasp nature of their point.
“They were all top-drawer saves from Smith, every one he made,” said Hendon.
“And then they went and got a header that hits the crossbar and goes in, that was our luck.
“Their goal was disappointing because we work hard on set pieces. But it’s a header that Alex Cisak has absolutely no chance with.
“But I’m delighted with the performance of the players, when they went a goal down they didn’t stop and kept going and we thoroughly deserved three points, not just the one.”
Goalkeeper Smith is rejuvenating his career after being sacked by Leicester following a high-profile incident on their pre-season tour, but has turned in a number of man-of-the-match performances for his new club and this may have been his finest yet.
In a second-half in which Orient virtually camped in the opposition half, Smith managed to claw away an Ollie Palmer header destined for the top corner, and then produced a low instinctive save from Connor Essam to somehow push it wide.
He then left striker Jay Simpson scratching his head with a point-blank save.
But in one of only a couple of forays forward Northampton looked to have won it when teenage striker Calvert-Lewin planted his header onto the crossbar and over the line to send the home fans crazy.
But Cox, who was the best outfield player in this encounter, was awarded one last chance to have a strike at goal.
It would need something wonderful from the set-piece specialist to beat the in-form Smith, but he didn’t disappoint and sent it straight into the top corner.
It was a blow for Cobblers boss Wilder, who had not been happy with referee Michael Bull for awarding the free-kick.
Wilder said: “It would have been a great point at 0-0 but when you get so close and then get undone by a poor decision it’s hard.
“We haven’t played great though and the opposition are a good strong side who I expect to go well.
“Sometimes it’s a strange game – you get battered and your goalkeeper has been unbelievable. I started laughing when we scored because that’s how football is.”
STAR MAN ADAM SMITH Northa
mpton BRAD LUCK: Bradley Pritchard wins an aerial duel. Inset: Dean Cox celebrates after scoring Orient’s last-minute equaliser