Leyton Orient 0 PNE 1
Joe Garner scored a stunning goal as North End laid down a marker to the division, being the first team to defeat Leyton Orient at the Matchroom Stadium.
With 1,200 North End fans at their backs, who never stopped singing from the moment the teams appeared before kick-off, the yellows put on a brilliant performance to keep out the division’s top scorers and earn three valuable points.
The opening goal was a stunner, Garner volleying home Keith Keane’s right wing cross after a blistering counter-attack just after the half hour mark.
It was a goal that had been coming all the first half, with the home side taking until injury time to have a shot at goal; one that almost ended in the flats behind the goal!
North End came out of the blocks with a purpose, Kevin Davies was brought down by Tom Clarke’s older brother Nathan 28 yards from goal. Paul Gallagher’s initial free kick hit the wall, but was deflected wide for the first corner, which 'Gally' again delivered, but Scott Laird could only head wide unmarked at the back post.
On seven minutes a great ball from Gallagher found Garner in behind the O’s defence, in on goal, a brilliant recovery tackle by Nathan Clarke conceded corner, when it could have been much worse for the league leaders.
Simon Grayson’s men, with Jack King playing the central centre half and Gallagher in behind the front men, were dictating the play and good play by Kevin Davies down the left saw him pick the ball on the touchline, drive inside and find Gallagher; the loanee flicked up the ball and lifted a volley just past the right hand post with the Orient keeper Jamie Jones nowhere.
The deadlock was broken on 32 minutes and it was a brilliant goal. Orient had a spell of possession, but North End countered quickly and Chris Humphrey was sent down the right, his initial cross was cleared to Keith Keane, who delivered back across and Joe Garner right-footed a volley into the top left hand corner for his fourth goal in three games.
The second half started the same way as the first with some scintillating football from the yellows. Just before the hour mark it took a Herculean tackle from Scott Cuthbert to deny Garner a second after some brilliant passing football eventually saw Kevin Davies play Garner through on goal. He was bearing down on Jamie Jones until Cuthbert appeared, sliding in and concede a corner.
At the mid-point of the half it looked like the home side would draw level as a lucky ricochet saw 13-goal frontman David Mooney suddenly find himself unmarked in acres of space ten yards from goal, but out of the gloom Bailey Wright appeared to brilliant deny the league’s top scorer.
The home side, as you would expect, were posing more problems and exerting pressure on the North End defence in the second half with changes of Batt and Baudry adding to the probing threats of the O’s.
Four minutes of time was added on by match official Keith Hill with the North End fans singing non-stop throughout as North End broke as Joe Garner, Keith Keane and Kevin Davies went three on one at the back, but Garner’s chip was over the bar.
The game wasn't over and right as the death Declan Rudd needed to come out and make a superb block to deny the home side what would have been the most undeserving of equalisers, but this was the final action as North End were able to celebrate being the first team to win at Brisbane Road since February in front of their vociferous away following.
: Jones, Omozusi, Sawyer (Batt, 62), Cuthbert, Cox, James (Baudry, 70), Lisbie, Mooney (Simpson, 81), Odubajo, N Clarke, Bartley. Subs not used: Larkins, Vanderhyde, Lasimant, Stockley.Leyton Orient line-up
: Rudd, Keane, Laird, T Clarke, Wright, Humphrey (Huntington, 90), K Davies, Gallagher (Kilkenny, 83), Garner, Welsh, King. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Holmes, Buchanan, Monakana, Brownhill.PNE line-up
: 7,123 (1,190 away fans)Attendance
: Mr K HillReferee