Leyton Orient’s relegation finally confirmed after defeat at Crewe Alexandra
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Crewe Alexandra 3 Leyton Orient 0
Leyton Orient’s relegation from League Two was finally confirmed following a 3-0 loss at Crewe Alexandra this afternoon – ending their 112-year stay in the Football League.
It had been coming for a while and was expected last weekend, but after living to fight another day twice over Easter, O’s officially went down with a whimper.
Omer Riza’s team struggled throughout at Gresty Road, but the damage had been done a long time ago for the Brisbane Road club.
The Orient starting XI at Crewe contained eight players aged 20 or younger due to chairman Francesco Becchetti dismantling the squad throughout the season.
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Several experienced players have departed Brisbane Road since August and were never replaced - leaving the academy stars to pick up the pieces.
And with O’s staff and players still waiting for their March wages, relegation is not the biggest worry for the east London club.
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Orient have lost their fight on the pitch, but attention will now turn to off it and the supporters won’t give up until there is a change of ownership.
Riza was without vice-captain Liam Kelly due to a grade one calf tear, which was a huge blow for O’s.
The ex-Oldham Athletic skipper had been immense for Orient in recent weeks and his absence was likely to be sorely felt in Crewe.
As a result of Kelly’s injury, Teddy Mezague moved into midfield and Tom Parkes was back after his three-match ban.
Former Orient striker Chris Dagnall captained the Railwaymen and Michael Collins wore the armband for O’s.
Crewe had the first effort of the match, as Sandro Semedo’s heavy touch put the away side on the back foot, but Oliver Turton drilled a shot wide after two minutes.
It was a rare noteworthy moment during quarter of an hour at Gresty Road with both teams looking nervous.
The hosts threatened again in the 17th minute, as George Cooper let fly from just inside the area, but Sargeant saved well.
And it was the start of a sustained period of pressure, as Crewe began to dominate possession against Orient.
Callum Ainley produced a fine piece of skill on the right to bamboozle Semedo, but he couldn’t find a team-mate.
Mezague then put his goalkeeper in trouble, as he chipped a pass back to Sargeant and luckily for O’s the 19-year-old was able to chest down and clear.
Cooper fired wide two minutes later with the Railwaymen pushing for the opener and in the 26th minute it arrived.
Callum Cooke was allowed too much time on the left by Michael Clark and crossed in for Ainley, who backheeled into the corner.
It was another poor goal for Orient to concede, yet nothing more than the hosts had deserved at Gresty Road.
Unfortunately for O’s it opened the floodgates, as with half an hour gone Crewe made it 2-0.
Cooper’s corner picked out Ryan Wintle at the back post and despite Teddy Mezague getting back to clear, the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line.
With 30 minutes played at Gresty Road, Orient were heading for relegation after 112-years in the Football League.
Six minutes before half-time and O’s nearly conceded another when Crewe took a free kick quickly.
Dagnall crossed in and Perry Ng was about to shoot before Parkes produced a brilliant tackle to deny the defender.
Crewe kept the ball alive and it came to Dagnall at the back post, but Sargeant blocked his effort and it stayed 2-0.
A minute of stoppage time was added on at the end of the first half and it was enough time for the Railwaymen to add another.
Cooper picked up the ball around 25-yards-out and with time and space lashed low and into the corner past Sargeant.
It was another poor goal for Orient to concede and concluded a terrible first half for the east Londoners.
Riza made a double substitution at the break with Paul McCallum and Josh Koroma coming on.
Central midfield duo Mezague and Collins were the pair to make way, as O’s played a 3-4-3 formation.
Steven Alzate and Henry Ochieng partnered each other in midfield with Koroma and Semedo lining up as wing-backs.
Crewe continued pressing at the start of the second half and Cooke nearly made it 4-0 in the 50th minute.
The Railwaymen winger let fly from 18-yards, but Aron Pollock blocked his effort with his head.
Cooke went close again moments later, as he controlled impressively, but his cross-cum shot evaded Dagnall.
Riza’s changes failed to have the desired effect, as Crewe carved Orient open with every attack.
The Railwaymen should have added a fourth when Dagnall found Cooper, but his low shot was weak and Sargeant saved.
Dagnall then turned Pollock inside the area, but didn’t catch the effort clean and it was easy for O’s custodian.
After a strong start to the second half, the game meandered out and Sam Dalby came on for Victor Adeboyejo with 16 minutes left.
Orient supporters continued to back the team and also chant for Becchetti to leave the club and were joined by Crewe’s fans.
With 10 minutes remaining, Tristan Abrahams had O’s first shot of the match, but he blazed high and wide.
Sargeant was called into action five minutes later as Cooke tried his luck, yet Orient’s goalkeeper parried wide.
From the resulting set-piece, Cooper controlled and went past Parkes and Semedo before cutting back and curling an effort against the post.
Orient had their first shot on target on the stroke of full time, as Alzate’s 30-yard effort was comfortably saved by Ben Garratt.
It was almost the last kick of the match and after two minutes of stoppage time, O’s stay in the Football League was over.
With two games to go, Orient had officially been relegated and their loyal supporters certainly don’t deserve that.
All of the O’s squad applauded the travelling fans at the end of the game before more chants of Becchetti out.
That is the focus for every Orient fan now the battle on the pitch is over. They want the Italian to leave their club.
Crewe Alexandra: Garratt; Turton, Ng, Bingham, Bakayogo; Ainley (Pickering 63), Jones, Wintle, Cooke (Udoh 88); Cooper, Dagnall
Unused substitutes: Dawber, Saunders, Kirk, Kiwomya, Finney.
Leyton Orient: Sargeant; Clark, Pollock, Parkes, Semedo; Collins (Koroma 46), Mezague (McCallum 46); Ochieng; Alzate; Abrahams, Adeboyejo (Dalby 74).
Unused substitutes: Janata, Kennedy, Moncur, Janse.
Attendance: 3,745 (407 Leyton Orient supporters).