HEN­DON RUES O’s FIN­ISH­ING

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By James Aver­ill

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.”

PIC­TURES: TGSPHOTO

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

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