Slade admits a draw was fair as Rowlands earns Orient a point at Crewe

League One: Crewe Alexandra 1 Leyton Orient 1

Martin Rowlands earned Orient a point with a stunning leveller on 19 minutes, as Russell Slade’s side stretched their unbeaten run to four games at Crewe.

But it came at a cost, as midfielder Anthony Griffith saw red when he picked up a second yellow card in the second minute of stoppage time and will miss next weekend’s game against Doncaster Rovers.

After the match the O’s boss admitted that a draw was a fair result.

“It didn’t look like it would be a draw,” said Slade.

“It was a very open game from the first minute to the last, with both sides trying to win it.

“They started the better, but we got the goal back and in the second period it was end to end.”

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Slade was delighted with the equaliser. “It was a great goal. He hit it cleanly from the edge of the box and it went right in the corner.”

The Orient boss made just one change to the side that had demolished Yeovil Town 4-1 in midweek, with Rowlands, who had recovered from illness, restored to the side, with Jimmy Smith dropping to the bench.

The visitors, who had won their last three games, could not have scripted a worse possible start, as the game was just 64 seconds old when Matt Tootle fired a left-wing cross from Brendon Daniels into the roof of the net to give Crewe a dream start.

The Railwaymen, who went into the game on the back of three successive draws, continued to press and might have added a second, but A-Jay Leitch-Smith was denied by Ryan Allsop in the visiting goal.

But O’s hit back after their indifferent start and levelled when a cross from Dean Cox was only half cleared and Rowlands volleyed home the rebound into the corner of the net from 20 yards.

Crewe almost regained the lead before the interval when Leitch-Smith fired a shot from distance against the foot of Allsop’s post.

Smith replaced Rowlands, who picked up a slight hamstring injury, at the break and the O’s looked a more potent force as they took a grip of the game, but it was the home side that wasted a great chance to regain the lead through Leitch-Smith.

In an encounter that could have gone either way, Orient striker Kevin Lisbie saw his header brilliantly tipped away by Alan Martin, following a Lee Cook cross.

While at the other end Allsop denied Ryan Colclough but with the game drifting towards a stalemate, there was a sting in the tale in stoppage time when Griffith picked up a second yellow card.

“I have no qualms about it, they were both yellows,” said Slade.

Crewe Alexandra: Martin; Mellor, Ellis, Davis, Robertson; Tootle, Osman (Turton 56 mins), Murphy, Daniels (Colclough 77 mins); Clayton, Leitch-Smith. Subs: Garratt, Guthrie, Ray, Clayton.

Orient: Allsop, McSweeney, Clarke, Chorley, Sawyer; Cox, Griffith, Rowlands (Smith 46 mins), Cook (Odubajo 83 mins), Lisbie, Brunt (Symes 65 mins), Subs: Grainger, Baudry, Laird, Mooney.

Orient bookings: Griffith, Chorley.

Orient red cards: Griffith

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Attendance: 5,163 (inc 322 Orient fans)