Leyton Orient crash to narrow defeat at home to Crawley

Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Crawley Town celebrate a goal against Leyton Orient at the Breyer Group Stadium - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Leyton Orient crashed to a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Crawley Town in the final match ahead of the Christmas break. 

An 82nd minute strike from Max Watters sealed the three points for the Reds at the Breyer Group Stadium after two own goals in the first-half. 

Ross Embleton made two changes from the mid-week defeat to Morecambe. Captain Jobi McAnuff returned to the heart of midfield in place of Hector Kyprianou, while Conor Wilkinson missed out with a knock meaning Joe Widdowson returned to the starting eleven, in a switch that saw James Brophy deployed further up the field.

The match started in a cagey manner with not a lot of action at either end. However, the away side capitalised on their first opportunity to deliver a ball into the danger area when Sam Matthews’ in-swinging free-kick was diverted into his own net by Josh Coulson.

Following the opener, the O’s began to fight their way back into it with a concerted spell of possession. They almost levelled in the 22nd minute as Dan Happe’s goal bound headed effort was well cleared by a Crawley body.

Orient threatened with two further set-pieces shortly afterwards, with McAnuff’s and Brophy’s deliveries causing havoc in the Crawley area, however Embleton’s side were unable to find an equaliser.

The O’s were left frustrated in their attempts to find a leveller once again in the 40th minute. Brophy did well to beat his man with a burst of pace and flashed a ball across the face that just evaded Danny Johnson at the near post, the ball then fell to Lee Angol whose powerful effort was well stopped by former Orient keeper Glenn Morris.

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In a near carbon copy of the previous move, the O’s found their equaliser. Brophy’s low cross eventually landed at the feet of McAnuff and the midfielder’s deflected strike found its way into the net to restore parity just before the break.

Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Leyton Orient captain Jobi McAnuff celebrates as his effort is deflected in against Crawley Town - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Orient started the second period exceptionally well and could have taken the lead a minute after the restart. Brophy again continued to cause the opposition defence all sorts of problems with a mazy run, he picked out Angol inside the area though the former Swindon man saw his effort blocked and the visitors managed to scramble the ball away.

Soon after, Brophy went again as he weaved in and out of his marker before unleashing a rasping strike that Morris did well to turn behind.

Just before the hour mark, a long throw from Sam Ling fell to Craig Clay on the edge but the central midfielder was unable to direct his effort on target as it trickled wide of the far post.

Unfortunately, due to the current restriction’s supporters were unable to attend this one, though if fans were allowed in they would have been off their seat when McAnuff delivered a moment of brilliance to beat his marker

The O’s were dealt a let off in the 73rd minute when a miscommunication at the back saw Max Watters find Jack Powell in the box but with the goal gaping Crawley’s number eight failed to keep his header down.

And they perhaps got even luckier a few minutes later when Tom Nichols’ curling strike cannoned back off the underside off the bar and away.

Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Leyton Orient striker Danny Johnson was denied against Crawley Town - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

In an attempt to turn the tide, Embleton made a host of changes bringing off Angol, Joe Widdowson and Ouss Cissé off for Jordan Maguire-Drew, Hector Kyprianou and Ruel Sotiriou.

However, the changes didn’t have the desired effect as the visitors took the lead with eight minutes to play, Watters the man to slot home inside the penalty box.

And that’s how it stayed in E10 as the O’s were unable to find a late leveller.

Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, Ling, Coulson, Happe, Widdowson (Sotiriou 81), Cissé (Kyprianou 79), McAnuff, Clay, Angol (Maguire-Drew 75), Johnson, Brophy

Unused subs: Sargeant, Dayton, Dennis, Akinola

Crawley Town: Morris, Dallison-Lisbon, Powell, Allarakhia (Bulman 72), Davies (Sesay 57), Nichols, Tunnicliffe, Matthews (Nadsean 65), Craig, Watters, Hessenthaler.

Unused subs: Nelson, McNerney, Ashford, Galach