10-man Orient on the wrong end of a five-goal thriller at Crawley

Orient head coach Ian Hendon (pic: Simon O'Connor)

Orient head coach Ian Hendon (pic: Simon O'Connor) - Credit: Archant

Sky Bet League Two: Crawley Town 3 Leyton Orient 2

Leyton Orient’s poor run at Crawley Town continued as they suffered a 3-2 defeat at Broadfield Stadium following a poor end to the first half.

Jay Simpson had put them ahead and had further chances to extend the lead before the Red Devils hit back three times to lead 3-1 at the break.

What made things worst was that Alan Dunne received a straight red card before the interval and the O’s had to play the whole of the second period with 10-men.

Simpson pulled one back for them late on, but it wasn’t enough and the east Londoners suffered a fourth consecutive defeat at Crawley.

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Captain Mathieu Baudry missed out with the head injury he suffered last weekend against Notts County so Dunne took his place in the starting team at Broadfield Stadium.

Hendon’s side was unchanged other than that, with Sean Clohessy taking the armband and new signing John Marquis on the bench after joining on-loan from Millwall yesterday.

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Former Orient midfielder Jimmy Smith started for the Red Devils while former Dagenham & Redbridge striker Rhys Murphy led the line for the hosts.

Matt Harold, who was born in Leyton and played for Harlow Town before, was also involved from the off for the home side.

The O’s had never won at Crawley before and lost five of the six matches they have played against them, but they started well and Simpson headed wide inside the opening minute.

Dean Cox curled a free kick wide in the fourth minute as Hendon’s side imposed themselves on proceedings early on.

And four minutes after that effort, they took the lead after great work by Ollie Palmer inside the penalty area.

Cox picked out Bradley Pritchard in midfield and he released Adam Chicksen, who crossed in for Palmer.

His stronger header hit the post and Crawley goalkeeper Callum Preston deflected the ball up in the air. Palmer did well to get to the ball first and although his effort was blocked, it fell kindly for Simpson.

Orient’s top goalscorer made no mistake and slotted into the net for his eighth goal of the campaign.

The O’s supporters were in fine voice and chanting about being top of the league afterwards, it was the type of start Hendon would have demanded.

Pritchard had a volley comfortably saved by Preston two minutes later as the visitors completely dominated the opening 10 at Broadfield Stadium.

A decent free kick by Simon Walton threatened to cause Orient problems in the 16th minute, but Murphy got his volley wrong and it remained 1-0.

They nearly doubled their lead in the 18th minute when Clohessy’s dangerous centre was headed away by Lewis Young, the younger brother of Manchester United’s Ashley.

Cox picked up the loose ball and crossed in for Pritchard, but he headed over. That was a good opportunity, but two minutes later a better one was produced.

Palmer flicked a simple ball forward and Simpson ran through, lobbed the onrushing Preston, but his effort dropped wide of the post when he should have scored.

The Crawley custodian was moaning to the officials minutes later when former Red Devils man Connor Essam caught him at a corner kick before Jack Payne received treatment.

He was fine to continue, however, but in the 27th minute, completely against the run of play, the visitors equalised.

Roarie Deacon, who was at Arsenal with Simpson, picked the ball up on the right, cut inside Chicksen and fired in off the post.

It was a poor goal to concede from Orient’s point of view, allowing the home winger far too much time and space on the ball.

Hendon’s men did have the ball in the back of the net again with half an hour played, but Simpson’s tap-in was ruled out because Palmer was offside.

Crawley were well in the game now, though, and should have perhaps doubled their tally two minutes later when Gwion Edwards ran through.

He found Harrold inside the box, but Dunne made an excellent block and the ball rebound to Murphy, but Chicksen was able to bundle it wide.

That was a warning sign for the away team but they had looked the much better side and just needed to remain patient.

Unfortunately things were to go from bad to worst for them as Payne gave the ball away in midfield and Deacon brought it forward.

Mitch Hancox delivered a dangerous centre and Alex Cisak was forced to tip the ball away for a corner kick.

Hancox went over and took the set piece which was cleared back out to him, from the loose ball he curled into the corner at the near post.

It was a good strike by the Birmingham City youngster, but Orient’s number one wouldn’t have been happy to get beat at his near post.

The O’s looked for an instant response and Chicksen got forward again to go effect and found Palmer in the box, but he header over.

On the stroke of half time the task facing the visitors was made even harder when they conceded a penalty.

Harrold held the ball up really well, passed to Hancox who brilliantly played Murphy in on goal.

He cleverly ran across Dunne inside the box and the former Millwall man tangled with the Crawley forward and referee Kevin Wright pointed to the spot.

Even though Murphy was slightly going away from goal, the man in the middle was left with no choice but to get out a red card.

Walton stepped up and sent Cisak the wrong way to make it 3-1 in stoppage time and leave 10-man Orient with a huge uphill battle to get something from the game.

That was how it finished at the break and the O’s poor run against Crawley appeared to be continuing despite 45 minutes remaining at Broadfield Stadium.

Hendon surprisingly replaced Palmer at the break, bringing Marquis on for his debut as away side tried to somehow respond.

Pritchard lined up at right-back for Orient with Clohessy moving into the centre of defence alongside Essam and the next goal was definitely key.

The mood was tense inside the stadium as the O’s enjoyed lots of possession at the start of the half, but were struggling to break the Crawley back four down.

It was the Red Devils that created the first real chance for the half when Smith, who was having an excellent game against his former club, won the ball in midfield.

He found Murphy out wide and his fizzed centre was headed goalwards by Harrold, but Cisak saved and the rebound was cleared.

Orient responded, however, and Pritchard brilliantly picked out Marquis in the penalty area, but he was denied his first goal for the club by Preston, who blocked with his feet.

Blair Turgott was introduced on the hour mark with Cox making way and Pritchard pushing forward to the right side of midfield.

Chicksen, Essam and Clohessy formed a back three with Turgott lining up on the left and Marquis looking a danger up front.

Sammy Moore went close in the 64th minute when Pritchard teed up the former AFC Wimbledon man on the edge of the area, but Preston tipped over.

Although Hendon’s side were enjoying lots of the ball, the chances weren’t coming and Crawley nearly scored a fourth when Edwards raced forward.

Essam did well to clear, with Murphy ready to pounce and the O’s had just 16 minutes left.

Moore did fizz another effort towards goal in the 75th minute, but he couldn’t hit the target and time was running out.

But just as it seemed like Orient’s chances were fading, they managed to reduce the arrears through Simpson.

Marquis battled well on the right-hand side before cutting back for Simpson and he volleyed into the far corner.

It was his ninth strike of the campaign and Hendon’s men were now targeting get something from the game.

Crawley did take a sting out of some of the visitors momentum, however, by taking off Murphy and replacing him with Shamir Fenelon.

The atmosphere inside the Broadfield Stadium was becoming more tense and nervous, though, with Orient sensing they could salvage a point.

A dangerous ball by Pritchard wasn’t claimed by Preston and the ball dropped to Moore, but his effort was cleared off the line and the Red Devils survived.

Scott Kashket came on a minute later and the O’s started piling the pressure on the home goal. They sensed they could rescue a point.

Just as six minutes of stoppage time was added on, Turgott controlled in the area, but got his effort wrong and the chance went.

Fenelon had a great chance to put the game to bed in the fifth minute of injury time, but Cisak parried his shot away from goal.

Although it didn’t go in, Orient’s opportunity seemed to have gone and it had. The referee blew the full time whistle to confirm their third loss of the campaign.

That sees Hendon’s side slip to seventh in the table ahead of a tough fixture against Oxford United next weekend.

Crawley Town: Preston, Walton, McNerney (Ashton 63), Bradley, Edwards, Smith, Young, Harrold, Deacon (Tomlin 69), Hancox, Murphy (Fenelon 82).

Unused substitutes: Scales, Barnard, Rooney, Jenkins.

Leyton Orient: Cisak, Clohessy, Essam, Dunne, Chicksen, Payne (Kashket 87), Pritchard, Moore, Cox (Turgott 60), Palmer (Marquis 46), Simpson.

Unused substitutes: Grainger, Shaw, James, Moncur.

Attendance: 2,515 (826 Leyton Orient supporters).

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