Dagnall at the double as Orient move out of League One relegation zone with big win over Crawley
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
League One: Leyton Orient 4 Crawley Town 1
Fabio Liverani picked up his first win as boss with a 4-1 victory against fellow strugglers Crawley Town as the O’s moved out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
The triumph was inspired by Dean Cox, and though he may well be targeting a move in the transfer window, he played a vital part after putting the hosts in front with a fine sixth-minute free-kick.
Former Orient midfielder Jimmy Smith levelled the scores just four minutes later before Chris Dagnall headed home Cox’s cross to give the hosts a half time lead.
A third goal to seal the win in the second half looked unlikely until substitute David Mooney popped up with two minutes to go before Dagnall doubled his tally in stoppage time to secure a morale-boosting win for the O’s and extend Crawley’s winless run to eight games.
The O’s made three changes from the side which lost 2-0 at Barnsley with Dagnall back in following suspension, while Andrea Dossena and Cox were promoted from the bench in place of Gianvito Plasmati, Gary Sawyer and Bradley Pritchard respectively.
It was certainly a lively start as Batt flashed a cross in from the byline in the opening minute, but Dagnall at full stretch was unable to get the decisive touch.
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Conor Henderson let fly from 25 yards up the other end and saw his effort narrowly creep wide of the post.
But the O’s broke the deadlock on six minutes and in true festive fashion, it was a cracker.
Former Orient defender Dean Leacock gave away a free-kick on the edge of the area and Cox curled it superbly into the top corner.
However the lead was shortlived and it was some more poor defending from the hosts that saw the Red Devils level just four minutes later.
An inswinging free-kick from the right was headed goalwards by Matt Harrold and that struck the post.
But a goalmouth scramble ensued and former O’s midfielder Jimmy Smith was there to prod it over the line.
The set piece frailty was once again in evidence as another free-kick from a similar position to Crawley’s goal came into the Orient box.
This one took a deflection off the wall but goalkeeper Adam Legzdins could only half clear the ball to Henderson.
His shot was straight at Legzdins, but he couldn’t gather and he was spared further agony when referee Philip Gibbs adjudged the O’s goalkeeper to have been fouled.
Cox certainly looked up for the game and he would provide the assist for the hosts to go in front once again on 20 minutes.
His fine left-wing delivery found the unmarked Dagnall in the box and he glanced a fine header past Brian Jensen into the top corner.
And it was the diminutive winger who continued to cause the Sussex side problems as another free-kick found the head of Cuthbert but the effort was off target as the O’s went in ahead at half time.
The second period wasn’t quite so lively but the hosts almost made it 3-1 when Mooney let fly from just inside the box, only for Jensen to produce an excellent stop to push it behind for a corner.
Much to the disappointment of the home supporters Cox was brought off with 25 minutes left to play, but Josh Wright went close as he drilled an effort from the edge of the box just wide of the goal.
Legzdins was forced off with what looked like a shoulder injury with 20 minutes to go, and while the lead was just a single goal it was always going to be nervy.
Orient looked like the side that was going to score next though and after some good play from Dagnall he laid it off for Wright but Jensen once again held and Mooney’s cross was fumbled by Jensen and no Orient forward could capitalise.
But Mooney sealed the win two minutes from time after twice seeing efforts blocked and then Pritchard’s centre was converted by Dagnall to seal the win.
Leyton Orient: Legzdins (Woods 70), Omozusi, Cuthbert, Lowry, Dossena, Cox (Pritchard 65), Wright, Vincelot, McAnuff, Batt (Mooney 27), Dagnall
Unused substitutes Sawyer, Baudry, Lee, Lisbie.
Crawley Town: Jensen, Dickson, Henderson, Leacock (O’Connor 80), Walsh, Edwards, Smith, Miller (Tomlin 65), Bawling (Young 75), Harrold, Elliott.
Unused substitutes: Banya, Richeford, Isaacs.
Attendance: 4,108 (242 Crawley Town fans)