Leyton Orient earn draw at Crewe Alexandra

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Leyton Orient extended their unbeaten run to four games after battling to a 1-1 draw at Crewe Alexandra this afternoon.

Orient made a sluggish start and were punished in the opening minutes when Matt Tootle fired Crewe in front.

But the visitors weathered the storm and struck back with a brilliant equalising volley from Martin Rowlands.

Both sides had opportunities to win the game and Orient will probably head south content with the point after their poor start to the contest. 

The O's made one change from the team which convincingly beat Yeovil on Tuesday. Midfielder Rowlands was fit again after an illness and he replaced Jimmy Smith.

Orient were rocked as Crewe opened the scoring inside the first two minutes. Brendon Daniels worked his way down the wing and he set up Tootle for a close-range finish.

The hosts were lifted by the early goal and could have doubled their lead when A-Jay Leitch-Smith's strike was parried by Ryan Allsop.

The visitors mustered their first attempt on goal when Ryan Brunt headed over Dean Cox's cross. 

Orient's defending was looking unusually shaky and they nearly conceded again when Mark Ellis fired narrowly wide.

But the O's equalised out of the blue in the 19th minute with a stunning effort from Rowlands. The ball was headed out of the area by a defender and the former QPR midfielder struck a superb volley into the bottom corner of the net for his first goal for the club. 

The goal settled Russell Slade's team down and they enjoyed a decent spell of possession which started to frustrate the Crewe supporters.

Orient had a scare towards the end of the half when striker Leitch-Smith struck the foot of the post.

The visitors made a substitution at the start of the second period with Smith replacing goalscorer Rowlands.

Smith had an early chance to make an impact but he scuffed his shot past the post.

The O's forced another shot on the home goal from a Cox corner but Smith's rasping strike flew over the crossbar.

Orient again went close midway through the half when Cox floated in a dangerous cross which was headed away from the goal by Ellis.

The visitors thought they had a case for a penalty when Smith appeared to be tripped in the area but the referee decided otherwise. 

Slade made his second change of the match when he introduced striker Michael Symes in place of Ryan Brunt. 

The hosts should have regained the lead when Tootle released Leitch-Smith but the striker fluffed his chance by sliding the ball past the post. 

Orient created another opening when Lee Cook sent in a cross and Kevin Lisbie's header was well saved by Alan Martin. 

But Crewe still offered a threat going forward and the lively Tootle forced Allsop to parry his strike. 

The home side stepped on the gas and Allsop again had to be alert to push away substitute Ryan Colclough's strike. 

Orient were coming under real pressure towards the end of the game and Max Clayton forced another decent save from Allsop late on. 

The visitors had to play out the final minute with ten men when Anthony Griffith was shown a second yellow for a late challenge on Luke Murphy.

Crewe forced a couple of late saves from the excellent Allsop and the O's were grateful to leave with honours even. 

Crewe: Martin; Davis, Ellis, Mellor, Robertson; Tootle, Murphy, Daniels (Colclough, 77), Osman (Turton, 56); Clayton, Leitch-Smith 

Subs not used: Garratt, Ray, Guthrie, Clayton

Leyton Orient: Allsop; McSweeney, Sawyer, Chorley, Clarke; Cox, Griffith, Cook (Odubajo, 83), Rowlands (Smith, HT), Brunt (Symes, 65), Lisbie

Subs not used: Grainger, Baudry, Laird, Mooney

Referee: G Salisbury

Attendance: 5,183

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