Northampton Town have beaten Leyton Orient by a goal to nil in a competitive pre-season friendly at the PTS Academy stadium this afternoon.  

Story of the match

The first 45 minutes was evenly contested with some feisty challenges coming from both sides.

After an evenly contested first 15 minutes, it was the Cobblers who made the breakthrough with last season’s top scorer Sam Hoskins picking up where he left off on 16 minutes. Orient gave the ball away in sloppy fashion midway inside their own half and Ryan Watson capitalised on the error by feeding the ball out wide to Michael Harriman, who whipped a right footed cross into Hoskins. Unmarked on the penalty spot, he finished with a half volley into the top left corner past Vigouroux in The O’s net.

The next chance came a few moments later as Lee Angol rattled the crossbar with his right footed free kick on 19 minutes. With the bar still shaking, the Cobblers managed to clear their lines.

The Cobblers had another good chance on 22 minutes when Fraser Horsfall’s long throw was not dealt with by Orient. The ball ran through to Matt Warburton whose half volley rose across goal and over the crossbar.

The Cobblers were next to cause problems in what was becoming an evenly contested first half. A short free kick from Joseph Mills for the Cobblers was played to Sam Hoskins on the left of the Orient box whose effort caught a deflection and was palmed wide by Vigouroux for Orient.

The last notable action of the half was on 35 minutes when a James Dayton corner caused a scarp in the box following a poor punch from Cobblers keeper Jonathan Mitchel. Nobody could get a shot away for Orient with an empty net gaping and Northampton managed to clear their lines. The sides went down the tunnel 10 minutes later at half time with the Cobblers 1-0 lead still intact.

The only change at half time saw Steve Arnold replace Jonathan Mitchel in the Northampton goal.

After an uneventful start to the second period trialist Connor Johnson replaced new signing Cian Bolger for Northampton. A few minutes later Keith Curle turned to the bench again as trialist Samir Carruthers and Joe Martin replaced Joseph Mills and Matt Warburton.

It was the Orients turn to use their substitutes as James Brophy replaced Ruel Sotiriou for The O’s. Brophy looked dangerous off the bench and on 62 minutes saw his effort from 20 yards out kiss Steve Arnolds post, the closest Orient had come to scoring so far.

The game started to lose tempo as more and more changes were being made. The Cobblers saw Chris Lines and trialist Ricky Karboa introduced in place of goal scorer Hoskins and winger Mark Marshall.

Orient created a half chance on 74 minutes as James Dayton floated a cross onto the head of Connor Wilkinson who headed powerfully into the hands of Arnold from 10 yards out.

Scorer of the Northampton goal of the season in 2019/20, Chris Lines, nearly put in a contender for this season on 75 minutes when his curling effort from range had Vigouroux worried in the Orient goal as it hit the post and went wide.

The Cobblers went to the bench again as youngster Morgan Roberts replaced Fraser Horsfall who went off having put in an impressive debut performance. Trialist Antonio German was also replaced by another Cobblers youngster Ethan Johnston.

Johnston almost grabbed his first senior goal on 85 minutes when a got on the end of a curling Chris Lines free kick from the left which was well palmed over the bar by Orient keeper Vigouroux.

The Cobblers made their final change moments later as another academy graduate Jacob Ballinger replaced summer signing Christopher Missilou.

After a goalless but completive second 45 minutes the match ended in a 1-0 win to Northampton Town. Both managers will be satisfied with their teams’ performance in what was an enjoyable game to watch.

Takeaways from the match

Although it was a friendly, the match was very much being played at a league tempo which will please both managers because neither team was afraid of putting in a strong challenge, neither of them seemed to lack that extra yard of match sharpness.

Keith Curle will also be impressed with some of the up and coming talent in his Cobblers team with academy graduates Jacob Ballinger, Ethan Johnston and Morgan Roberts all impressing of the bench. Curle will also be looking to other youngsters such as Scott Pollock and Shaun McWilliams when they return from injury to add to the young talent in the Cobblers squad.

Ross Embleton will also be pleased with the fitness of his side, only having to make one substation in the 90 minutes which saw James Brophy replace Reul Sitirou who missed the first part of pre-season and is still looking to gain full match fitness.

As well as 10 of the Orient team completing the 90 minutes, two of Northampton’s promotion heroes from last season, Ryan Watson and Michael Harriman lasted the duration and are both looking fit and ready to go for League One football in 2020/21.

The Cobblers also gave chances to a few trialists including centre back Connor Johnson, midfielder Samir Curruthers and forward Ricky Korboa who will all be looking to impress Keith Curle to earn a contract for the upcoming campaign.

Star men

Players from both sides put on a good display throughout the match and there were some standout performances.

For Northampton Town, Sam Hoskins continued his impressive form from last season with the only goal of the game. New central defender Fraser Horsfall looked solid at the back for 75 minutes before he was replaced. Cian Bolger and Christopher Missilou were the other debutants to impress for the home side. Curle will also be impressed with young striker Ethan Johnston who had a good chance saved late on.

As for Leyton Orient, Lee Angol looked sharp up top and was unlucky to see his freekick rattle the bar midway through the first half. James Brophy also impressed off the bench for The O’s and looked to add a creative spark to the away side when he was introduced to the. Lawrence Vigouroux also looked good between the sticks for Orient and will feel unlucky not to have kept a clean sheet.

Neither side picked up any new injuries during the game in what was a contest full of strong challenges and occasional fouls. Northampton take on Championship side Luton Town at home next Saturday as they continue their preparations ahead of the new season, while Orient will host West Ham United’s U23 side on Wednesday night.

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