James Brophy scored the only goal as Leyton Orient secured a vital League Two win away at Northampton Town.

Brophy struck in the 56th minute after he was released down the left by Matt Harrold before firing past David Cornell.

Orient made three changes to the side that drew with Port Vale last week Harrold, Dale Gorman and James Brophy came in to start. There was also a place for James Dayton on the bench, who has been out injured since the win over Sutton United in April.

A fast start to the game saw Northampton have the first opportunity inside the opening 15 seconds, but Nicky Adams’ shot proved to be a comfortable save for Dean Brill.

Orient responded almost immediately and were unlucky to not take the lead on two minutes when a great move involving Craig Clay, Matt Harrold and Brophy resulted in Conor Wilkinson flicking against the post.

The O’s were forced into an early change five minutes later when Sam Ling went down after an aerial challenge – he was replaced by Marvin Ekpiteta – but it did little to rock the side as they remained strong in defence throughout the first half.

Visiting Orient had further opportunities in a largely positive first half. Wilkinson was proving to be a constant menace for the Cobblers defence to deal with and was denied twice by David Cornell in quick succession.

Firstly, his curling effort was turned aside for a corner, and from the resulting delivery, the striker’s downward header was excellently tipped onto the crossbar by the Northampton keeper.

Wilkinson then turned provider a couple of minutes later, flicking the ball through for Clay after he looked to have lost possession. His square pass found Harrold in the box, but an excellent block prevented Orient from taking the lead.

After having the lions share of chances in the first half, it was the hosts that struck first in the second period. A good cross from the right by Adams found Harry Smith, but he should have done much better with his volley, which blazed over the bar.

The visitors had looked the more likely to score in the first half, and that continued after the break, so much so that they broke the deadlock on 56 minutes.

Harrold gained possession in the middle of the park and played an excellent ball down the left channel for Brophy. He sprinted away from Reece Hall-Johnson and fired past Cornell to the delight of the 960 travelling fans.

A period of few clear-cut chances saw Orient maintain the pressure on Northampton with a succession of corners, but the Cobblers dealt with the deliveries with relative ease.

The hosts then had two chances to equalise inside the final 10 minutes. Brill produced an excellent save, tipping Scott Wharton’s volley from the edge of the box over the crossbar before Adams’ effort from distance flew just wide of the near post.

Aside from Cobblers substitute Matt Warburton poking wide in stoppage time, there were few late opportunities for either side, and Orient held on for an important three-point haul.

The O’s are back in Leasing.com Trophy action this Tuesday as they travel to AFC Wimbledon at the slightly earlier kick-off time of 7.30pm.

Orient line-up: Brill; Ling, Coulson, Happe, Widdowson; Wright, Clay, Gorman, Brophy; Harrold, Wilkinson

Subs: Ekpiteta, Maguire-Drew, Dayton, Sargeant, Dennis, Marsh, Ogie