Goals from Callum Robinson and Paul Huntington made it eight straight wins for the Lilywhites in all competitions as they consolidated a place in the top two with a 2-0 win at the Matchroom Stadium.
North End took the lead in the 19th minute Robinson stroking home from close range for his first senior goal after Chris Humphrey’s driven ball from the right was deflected.
And for the second week running Huntington showed his prowess in the box to score a poachers goal from two yards out after a header back across goal by substitute Tom Clarke.
Manager Simon Grayson made three changes to the side that earned a comeback win over local rivals Fleetwood Town the previous Saturday, John Welsh coming in for his first league start – and taking over the captaincy – with Humphrey and Scott Wiseman also returning; Alan Browne, Kyel Reid and Scott Laird all moved to the bench, whilst Clarke was not fully fit, however, he was well enough to take a place amongst the substitutes.
The yellows started the game in confident fashion and the returning Humphrey looked very sharp. On four minutes the Jamaican took down Buchanan’s cross-field pass with instant control, drove inside shooting across Gary Woods’ goal, but just wide of the left hand post.
On the quarter hour mark Robinson was sent down left by Garner, he took the ball wide, but managed to get a shot off and forcing Woods into low save to his left.
But the England U20 international wasn’t to be denied on 19 minutes. Another ball from David Buchanan was switch across the field and collected by Humphrey down the right; the No.7 drove to the byline and drilled the ball across. It took a small deflection and was fired home by Robinson for his first senior goal from close range at the back post, much to his and the large travelling following’s delight.
A minute later it could have been both 2-0 and 1-1 in the space of 30 seconds!
Firstly Gallagher, becoming the player to make the most ever appearances as a loan player for the Lilywhites (with 70) almost made it two and as the ball ricocheted to him in the box, he checked inside and fired hard and low, but Mathhieu Baudry made a block and Orient countered…
Jay Simpson was sent clean through by Marvin Bartley’s slick ball down the middle, only for former O’s stopper Jamie Jones to make a superb save with a strong hand to turn the ball behind for a corner.
The home side were in the ascendency at that point and were unlucky not to level it up before the break. Firstly Buchanan blocked Jay Simpson’s shot on the line after a Dean Cox corner from the left bounced around in the box falling to the former Arsenal man.
Then on 33 minutes a free kick from Shane Lowry deflected behind for a corner, before a moment of brilliance from North End’s No.1 twice denied his former employers.
It was five minutes before the break and Jones made a fantastic double save to deny firstly Simpson and then debutant forward Gianvito Plasmati after a driving run down the left and cross by Shane Lowry.
Both sides made a change before the hour mark, Paul Galagher, seemingly carrying an injury, replaced by Kevin Davies and Josh Wright, on loan from Millwall, on for his O’s debut.
Just after the mid-point in the half Neil Kilkenny delivered a cross from the right after Chris Humphrey had been fouled and the ball was allowed to reach the back post to where Joe Garner poked out a foot and guided it past Woods, but also narrowly past the right hand post.
But for the second week in a row it wasn’t Garner with a goal on the road, but Paul Huntington. A free kick was awarded for a foul on Garner about 30 yards out in a right hand channel. Neil Kilkenny swung it over to the back post to where substitute Tom Clarke, with his first touch of the game, headed back across goal and Huntington pushed out a long leg through a crowd of players to poke home from a couple of yards out.
There was four minutes added on at the end, but North End comfortably ran the clock down to make it seven straight league wins and eight in all competitions with Jamie Jones, outstanding on his return to Orient fittingly getting the final touch on the night with a big clearance.
Leyton Orient line-up: Woods, Omosuzi, Cuthbert (c), Baudry, Cox, McAnuff, Lowry, Pritchard (Wright, 55), Bartley, Simpson (Kashket, 90), Plasmati (Batt, 65). Subs not used: Lee, Grainger, Dagnall, Ling.
PNE line-up: Jones, Wiseman, Buchanan, Kilkenny (Browne, 86), King, Huntington, Humphrey, Welsh (c), Garner, Gallagher (K Davies, 53), Robinson (Clarke, 73). Subs: Stuckmann, Laird, Reid, Brownhill.
Attendance: 4,560 (771 away fans)
Referee: Mr C Berry