Mooney at the double as Orient’s run goes on
Johnstone’s Paint Trophy: Northampton Town 0 Leyton Orient 3
Three second half goals, including a double strike from David Mooney, saw Orient march into the Area semi-finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at a freezing Sixfields on Wednesday night.
Michael Symes completed the tally from the penalty spot as Orient recorded their seventh straight victory and continued their best winning run for more than 50 years.
Mooney, who came under-fire from a section of the fans earlier in the season, has now grabbed seven goals in his last six games to firmly silence his critics.
As well as the win, Orient manager Russell Slade will have been boosted by the return of goalkeeper Jamie Jones and defender Scott Cuthbert following long-term injuries.
Cuthbert had not started a first team game since suffering a hamstring injury on the opening day of the League One season at Tranmere Rovers.
While Jones, who suffered a recurrence of a shoulder injury after playing just three games back in August, was also restored to team.
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They were just two of six changes Slade made to the side who had beaten Alfreton Town 4-2 in the FA Cup on Sunday.
Defenders Leon McSweeney and Gary Sawyer, along with midfielder Anthony Griffith and striker Ryan Brunt were the other four to return as the O’s boss decided to rest striker Kevin Lisbie, along with winger Lee Cook, midfielder Martin Rowlands and defender Ben Chorley, while goalkeeper Ryan Allsop and on-loan defender Alex Smith dropped to the bench.
With Nathan Clarke and Chorley missing, winger Dean Cox took the captain’s armband for the first time, but despite their good run of form, Orient rarely threatened in an instantly forgettable first half.
It was only in the closing stages that the home side went close to breaking the deadlock and it was keeper Jones who was almost hero and then villain.
On 41 minutes Jones caught the eye when Ben Tozer’s long throw was flicked on and he made a brilliant save to keep out Jake Robinson’s terrific volley.
But three minutes later the keeper was almost caught out as he attempted to gather a long ball, but was forced to back pedal as Louis Moult raced onto it.
However, the striker tamely chipped the ball straight into the keeper’s arms and a golden opportunity went begging.
Orient were forced into a change early in the second half when Anthony Griffith, who had just picked up a booking for a foul on Joe Widdowson, limped off to be replaced by Jimmy Smith.
And it was the visitors who took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, when Mooney struck his sixth goal in as many games on 57 minutes.
Moses Odubajo was the architect when he pulled the back and when the striker’s first shot was blocked on the line he followed up and rammed the ball in the back of the net.
Northampton almost levelled when Emyr Huws powered into the visiting penalty area, but Jones stuck out a foot to block his shot and concede a corner.
But danger man Mooney struck again on 65 minutes when Odubajo went on a great run and pulled the ball back to Brunt who, in turn, found Lloyd James and his excellent cross to the far post was headed home by the in-form striker.
That was the last piece of action for Mooney, with his work for the evening done, he gave way to Michael Symes.
In a bid to get back in the game Town threw on former O’s man Adebayo Akinfenwa and Chris Hackett.
But it was Orient who struck again in the 73rd minute when Odubajo’s shot hit Widdowson’s arm and the linesman signalled a spot-kick.
Substitute Symes, who had only been on the pitch for seven minutes, stepped up and sent Lee Nicholls the wrong way and Orient were on their way to the Area semi-finals.
Northampton Town: Nicholls, Widdowson, Langmead, Demontagnac (Mukendi 78 mins), Harding, Platt, Tozer, Robinson (Hackett 69 mins), Moult (Akinfenwa 69 mins), East, Huws. Subs: Snedker, Hornby.
Orient: Jones; McSweeney, Baudry, Cuthbert, Sawyer; Odubajo, Griffith (J Smith 47 mins), James (A Smith 82 mins), Cox; Mooney (Symes 65 mins), Brunt. Subs: Allsop, Obafemi, A Smith
Orient bookings: McSweeney (12 mins foul), Griffith (46 mins foul), Symes (93 mins handball)
Referee: Mark Haywood
Attendance: 1,752 (inc 162 Orient fans)