Leyton Orient suffered their first home defeat of the season as Crawley Town took all three points in an entertaining 3-2 win for the visitors.

Josh Wright’s screamer put the O’s in front before Nathan Ferguson rattled home a loose ball to ensure it was level at the break.

Lee Angol’s penalty restored Orient’s lead shortly after the break, but a quickfire brace from Crawley substitute Ollie Palmer secured maximum points for the visitors.

Ross Embleton made two changes to the side that beat Mansfield Town in the week. Joe Widdowson dropped out due to a rib injury while Dan Happe was named on the bench, so Louis Dennis and Jordan Maguire-Drew came into the starting line-up.

The home side looked dangerous from the off and could have been ahead inside five minutes when Dennis threaded the ball through for Maguire-Drew, but his low effort was kept out by former O’s keeper Glenn Morris.

Lee Angol came close from the resulting corner, but his firm header landed just wide of the post.

For all the early O’s dominance, Crawley looked pacey on the counter and were getting into some dangerous positions on the wings, but Marvin Ekpiteta was on hand to thwart them numerous times, getting in front of his men to clear the ball away.

Dennis, who made such an impact in the midweek win over Mansfield, was proving to be a constant thorn in Crawley’s side throughout the opening exchanges. Some wonderful skill got him to the byline but he twice flashed across the face of goal after his initial cross was played straight back to him by the feet of Morris.

The deserved breakthrough came on 23 minutes, and it was worth the wait. Wright picked the ball up after Crawley failed to clear a cross, shaped to curl one but instead rifled into the top corner to grab his second of the season.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to find an equaliser, however. Orient struggled to deal with a persistent Crawley move and the ball eventually fell to Ferguson, who side-footed home the leveller.

Crawley may have levelled, but it didn’t stop the O’s from looking the livelier side in the second half, and after Dennis was denied by Morris, they regained their lead less than 10 minutes after the restart.

An intricate move around the box saw Angol play in Maguire-Drew who was tripped in the area, and the former stepped up to slam the penalty into the side netting.

The pressing and constant pressure from the hosts seemed to ease off as the half went on – perhaps starting to show some of the effects from Tuesday’s mammoth effort.

Crawley were beginning to probe in attack and then turned the game completely on its head in a two-minute spell.

After the O’s failed to deal with a corner, substitute Ollie Palmer seized the ball, burst around the defence and finished across Brill, and Palmer was the beneficiary of some more slack Orient defending as Reece Grego-Cox squared for him to tap into an empty net.

The quick goals had the hosts stunned, suddenly looking toothless in attack while less than assured at the back, and they were lucky it wasn’t four quickly after conceding as Palmer curled a free-kick agonisingly wide.

Clear-cut chances were at a premium for either side for the remainder of the half, but Orient came the closest in stoppage time when a long-range drive from Dennis was tipped away by Morris.

Orient now have a week’s gap until their final game of the month next Saturday, away at fellow promotion winners Salford City.


Orient team: Brill; Ling, Ekpiteta, Coulson, Brophy; Wright, Clay, Maguire-Drew; Wilkinson, Angol, Dennis

Subs: Sargeant, Gorman, Judd, Happe, Harrold, Marsh, Alabi