It was the feeling of same old story for Leyton Orient fans who saw their side lose 3-2 away at Crawley yesterday. The home side were without a home win all season scoring once prior to yesterday’s fixture. Jay Simpson did give Orient a great start slotting home after Ollie Palmer’s header had clipped the post. The away side were in complete control of the encounter but failed to kill of the game.
Roarie Deacon equalised for the home side as he cut in from the right with his shot going in of the post. The leveller gave Crawley impetus going forward and they took the lead when visiting keeper, Alex Ciask was caught out at his near post by Mitch Hancox. It then got worse for the away side when Rhys Murphy tumbled in the box after a clumsy Alan Dunne challenge. Dunne was dismissed with Simon Walton slotting home the penalty. Orient rallied in the second half and pulled a goal back through Simpson but couldn’t grab an equalizer, giving Crawley their first home win of the season.
Crawley manager Mark Yates made 3 changes to his side that lost 3-0 in midweek to Southend in the Johnstone Paint Trophy. Matt Harrold and Rhys Murphy returned in attack with Lewis Young slotting in at right back. Orient who picked up their first win in six games last week against Notts County made only 1 change with Mathieu Baudry missing out with injury, Alan Dunne filled in at center half.
Orient started the brighter of the sides in the opening minutes, keen to put the home side under pressure with them failing to win any of their opening 6 home fixtures of the season. Dean Cox flashed a free kick from distance wide of the mark before Orient took the lead. A period of possession saw Cox pick the ball up in some space, his ball into the left channel for advancing left back Adam Chicksen was good. Chicksen’s cross was headed onto the post by Ollie Palmer, Callum Preston looked to knock the ball to safety but only found Simpson who had the easy task of slotting home.
The visitors were enjoying large spells of possession with Crawley rarely threatening Alex Ciask in the away goal. Bradley Pritchard had a volley well saved by Callum Preston before heading over at the back post from a Dean Cox center. Ian Hendon’s side have failed to kill of teams this season and it was beginning to have the same ring to it when Jay Simpson missed a glorious chance to double his sides lead. Ollie Palmer flicked a ball forward, there was a mix up at the back between Preston and Sonny Bradley. Simpson nipped in but his lob over Preston went wide of the mark.
Then the game changed within an 18 minute spell at the end of the first half. A long ball forward was won by Matt Harrold, Rhys Murphy picked up the loose ball and picked out Roarie Deacon on the right hand side. The former Stevenage midfielder cut in onto his left foot and struck a low shot which went in of the post to draw the home side level. Hendon’s men were shell shocked, in complete control for 25 minutes but were pegged back with Crawley’s first attempt on goal.
The equaliser had galvanized the home side who were exploiting the space left behind by Sean Clohessy on the right hand side. Only a last ditch from Connor Essam prevented Rhys Murphy from putting his side ahead. Gwion Edwards had broke down the left, his low cross found Murphy but Essam’s block prevented Murphy. The away side struggled to keep hold of possession as Crawley sensed their chance to go ahead. Mitch Hancox was linking up well down the left with Gwion Edwards, much to the space allowed by Orient. Hancox brilliant left foot cross was just too far ahead of Matt Harrold to tap home.
The inevitable did arrive for the away fans 8 minutes before the break. Hancox’s right wing corner was cleared back out to the left back. Hancox looked up and whipped in a shot towards Alex Ciask’s near post. Ciask could only palm the ball into the net putting Crawley ahead. Despite the home side in the ascendancy, Orient really should have levelled a minute after Crawley went ahead. It was a carbon copy of their first, Chicksen broke down the left crossing for Palmer, but the former Mansfield striker could only head over at the back post.
Hendon’s men were at sixes and sevens at the back seeming to be avoid of a leader in defence but it only got worse for them. Hancox who was an attacking threat going forward, caught Sean Clohessy up field, his ball in the left channel found Rhys Murphy. Murphy took one touch and with Alan Dunne running back, Dunne apparently clipped the forward. Referee Kevin Wright wasted little time pointing to the spot and pulling out a red card for Dunne. Simon Walton stepped up and slotted the penalty home to give Crawley a two goal cushion. An uphill battle awaited for Hendon’s men who had capitulated in an 18 minute spell. To look so comfortable for 25 minutes, the story of the last 7 games came to the fore. Fail to kill a team off and punished for your mistakes.
Hendon reacted after the break bringing on John Marquis for Ollie Palmer as Marquis make his debut for Orient after joining on loan from Millwall yesterday. Hendon went to a 3-4-2 formation as he was seeking a response from his side in the second half.
Despite the change, it was what you would expect with 11 vs 10, Crawley were seeing a lot of possession as they seeked a killer fourth. Orient were struggling to keep hold of the ball but John Marquis did look lively in attack for the visitors. The home side were inches away from grabbing their fourth, Rhys Murphy picked the ball up on the right flank, he crossed for his strike partner Matt Harrold, but Harrold’s header was pushed away by Alex Ciask.
Orient were showing attacking ambition and despite being one man down began to grow into the second half. Only a Callum Preston save preventing Orient from halving the deficit, Bradley Pritchard was finding space on the right flank, his cross found Marquis who headed down only to see Preston save well with his feet. The impetus was now with the O’s, Hendon replaced Dean Cox with Blair Turgott as Hendon looked to add some energy and athleticism in the midfield.
Sammy Moore struck twice last week and nearly grabbed Orient a second just after the hour mark. A move down the center saw Pricthard lay back to Moore on the edge of the box, Moore’s first time shot was curling into the far corner until Preston tipped over. Crawley were looking to slow the game down as much as possible and referee Kevin Wright was doing nothing to stop them in their path.
It appeared that Crawley had weathered the Orient storm but as the game reached the 80 minute mark; the O’s had a second wind. Marquis who was a bright spark for the away side in the second half battled well down the right. His cross found an unmarked Simpson who volleyed home to halve the deficit. Orient threw everything at Crawley in the dying stages however were unable to draw level as they slumped to their second defeat in three matches.
Hendon stated in his post match about how poor defensively his side were yesterday, I think every O’s fan there yesterday saw that. The capitulation of Orient is a major worry for Hendon and the fans who saw their side concede 3 goals in 18 first half minutes. Down to 10 men through a dubious red card, you may think I am being biased but I still don’t think that is first a pen and second a red card. The referee was terrible yesterday, not preventing time wasting throughout the game however he was not responsible for our defeat, the horrendous defending was.
Signs of a collapse were seen away at Newport, where Orient conceded two goals in a minute, at the moment it appears that visiting managers seem to have the tactical upper hand on Hendon. Mark Yates looked to exploit the space left by Sean Clohessy as he looked to push forward, Hendon was fuming with Crawley’s third and even turned his back when Clohessy was caught out of position.
Everybody will say it “The size of our Squad” yes it is good to have a tight knitted group however the issue will be raised once more with Dunne’s red card. If Mathieu Baudry remains injured Orient only have one fit center half ahead of next weeks clash with Oxford, I have always said Orient is work in progress but it appears there appears to be a hell of a lot of work to do.
The same old story, and how are we losing to this lot at rung around at half time? Well when you don’t kill off teams you will get punished, chances are being created but unless you show a ruthless streak, you will always be vulnerable. Orient have failed to keep a clean sheet since August, a run of 8 games something which has to change if Orient are to challenge come the end of the season.
Fans will be fickle after defeats but if you go to every game and you are entitled to your opinion. I think Hendon will have to change tact in the coming weeks, whether it be a change of formation (which everybody seems to be urging for) or a different type of tactics. The O’s appeared to be found out by some teams but Crawley will not be in the top half come the end of the season and to lose in such a way is poor. Hendon will need to pick his side up with Oxford providing a real test next week.