O’s held by Railwaymen after failing to take chances

Orient manager Fabio Liverani
(pic: Simon O'Connor).

Orient manager Fabio Liverani (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Sky Bet League One: Crewe Alexandra 1 Leyton Orient 1

Leyton Orient extended their unbeaten run to four matches at Gresty Road, but would have been disappointed not to return from Crewe with three points.

Fabio Liverani’s team found Railwaymen goalkeeper Paul Rachubka in great form and despite dominating for large parts of the match couldn’t add to Darius Henderson’s 30th minute strike.

Chris Dagnall had the best opportunity for the Brisbane Road outfit, but he was thwarted by Crewe’s goalkeeper and O’s had to settle for a point.

Liverani made four changes to the team that fought back against Gillingham on Easter Monday. Marvin Bartley, Henderson, Jobi McAnuff and skipper Nathan Clarke returning to the starting team.

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Dean Cox missed out altogether with a groin injury, whilst Dave Mooney, Andrea Dossena and Lloyd James dropped to the substitutes bench.

Gianvito Plasmati was back among the replacements with Jay Simpson unavailable for O’s clash at Gresty Road.

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Young goalkeeper Charlie Grainger, who has been on-loan at Conference South side Farnborough recently, was back on the bench too with Gary Woods ruled out with a back injury.

After a slow start the game sprung into life in the sixth minute when the Railwayman’s Ryan Colclough dribbled into the O’s box.

Shane Lowry poked the ball away from him, but it rolled to James Jones in space on the edge of the box. Mathiue Baudry was able to block his effort and Orient broke forward.

Ryan Hedges brilliantly got in between two players and brought the ball forward, running over half the length of the pitch, before passing to Henderson.

He was too sluggish on the ball, however, but did force a corner as his shot was blocked.

From O’s first corner of the afternoon in the seventh minute, Crewe broke in numbers and Bradden Inman brought the ball forward before finding Colclough. He cut inside, leaving Baudry and Clarke in his wake, but Alex Cisak got down to gather his low effort.

Three minutes after that effort and the hosts had the ball in the back of the net. Jones passed out to Greg Leigh, in space on the right, and he got to the byline before squaring for Lauri Dalla Valle to bundle in from close range.

The opener was always going to be crucial and Liverani’s team were now facing an even tougher task to get all three points.

Orient did respond well, though and Hedges dragged an effort away from goal before McAnuff chested down a loose ball and volleyed wide.

The visitors continued to slowly grow into the game and with half an hour played they got back on level terms.

Hedges combined well with Bartley on the right and the former Burnley midfielder crossed in from the right for Henderson, unmarked, to volley past Paul Rachubka.

It was Henderson’s eight goal of the season and second in successive matches. The first time he had managed that since the start of the season.

O’s were pushing for a second now and Bartley fired over the bar in the 39th minute following Dagnall lay-off before Colclough volleyed wide at the other end.

McAnuff had a chance two minutes before the break when he stabbed a dangerous cross from Lowry towards goal. Rachubka was able to parry and then gather at the second attempt.

Liverani would have been encouraged by the finish from his team as they ended strongly and Lowry seemed to be getting plenty of joy down the left.

Hedges ambitious volley from outside the box was the last action of the first period, but Orient continued to up the ante after the break.

Josh Wright nearly played in Henderson immediately from kick-off, but Crewe were able to initially clear the danger.

Dagnall nearly worked a shooting opportunity moments later before the ball broke to McAnuff and he was fouled on the edge of the box.

Wright stood over the set piece, but could only hit the wall and the Railwaymen were able to survive the early onslaught from the away side.

The Orient pressure continued, though, and McAnuff fired over the bar on the hour mark as the visitors pressed for a second.

Dagnall was presented with a golden chance to put Liverani’s team ahead when Hedges played him in, but Rachubka brilliantly tipped his fierce strike over the bar.

Railwayman responded with an effort from Colclough, which forced Alex Cisak to tip wide for a corner.

But the momentum was back with O’s shortly afterwards as they had three opportunities in quick succession.

First Henderson went agonisingly close to scoring his second following McAnuff’s knock down, but despite chucking himself at the ball he couldn’t get a touch.

Hedges was next to try his luck as he forced Rachubka to parry into the air and his follow up effort fortunately hit a Crewe defender and bounced up for the Railwayman keeper to gather.

And to cap a crazy couple of minutes Henderson had another chance at the far post, after the hosts failed to clear, but he curled wide.

Andrea Dossena was introduced in the 74th minute as Liverani looked for more accuracy down the left flank, Lowry the man to be replaced.

Plasmati was introducing four minutes from time as Liverani tried one last roll of the dice to get O’s another precious three points.

Four minutes of stoppage time were added on, but neither team were able to find a winner and had to be satisfied with a point each.

The draw moves Orient up to 19th in the table, but they only remain out of the bottom four on goal difference ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Doncaster Rovers.

Crewe Alexandra: Rachubka, Davis ©, Turton, Atkinson (Ikpeazu 54), Inman (Ajose 83), Dalla Valle, Jones, Leigh, Colclough, Ness (Nolan 46), Tate.

Unused substitutes: Guthrie, Ray, Haber, Stewart, Ajose.

Leyton Orient: Cisak, Cuthbert, Baudry, Clarke ©, Lowry (Dossena 74), Hedges (Plasmati 86), Wright, Bartley, McAnuff, Dagnall, Henderson.

Unused substitutes: Grainger, James, Mooney, O’Neil, Taylor.

Attendance: 4,419 (571 Leyton Orient supporters).

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