Orient left low again

Orient boss Russell Slade looks on

Orient boss Russell Slade looks on - Credit: Archant

Orient 0 Crawley 1

O’s completed a miserable week with league defeat at the Matchroom Stadium.

Beaten by a last-gasp injury-time goal at basement boys Hartlepool seven days earlier – and having seen their Wembley dreams shattered by Southend in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in midweek – Russell Slade’s men were in need of a lift back on home turf.

Slade handed Romain Vincelot his full debut for the club and welcomed captain Nathan Clarke back into the side, for his first start since November.

But after a slow start, the hosts fell behind in the 11th minute as Billy Clarke curled a shot into the top corner from Mat Sadler’s pass.

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And the strike proved enough for the visitors to claim all three points and complete a double, following their 1-0 success when the two sides met in September.

Mathieu Baudry headed a chance over from Leon McSweeney’s cross on the quarter-hour mark, but Crawley went close to a second midway through the half when Mike Jones headed a Nicky Adams cross against the woodwork.

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Charlie MacDonald saw a well-struck shot saved by Paul Jones, who comfortably denied another Baudry header from Dean Cox’s free-kick before the break.

Moses Odubajo replaced Lee Cook early in the second half and impressed on the right side of midfield.

But O’s saw a deflected Cox free-kick flash across the face of goal, before David Mooney fired another effort wide midway through the half.

The two Orient men combined on 70 minutes, as Mooney crossed from the left and the ball fell for Cox, who saw another firm strike deflected behind.

And Crawley continued to frustrate the home side, defending well to protect their lead.

Mooney could not take a headed chance, while Scott Cuthbert had an effort saved by from a corner.

And four minutes of stoppage time failed to produce an equaliser as O’s slipped back down to 13th place, a dozen points off a play-off spot.

They visit new leaders Sheffield United – 1-0 winners at Bournemouth – next on Tuesday.

Orient: Jones, Vincelot (Smith 79), Cuthbert, Baudry, Clarke, McSweeney, Cox, Cook (Odubajo 57), James, MacDonald (Batt 64), Mooney.

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