Crewe Alexandra 1 – 1 Leyton Orient
npower League 1
ORIENT were unable to claim a fourth straight win but came from behind to extend their unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
Martin Rowlands’ stunning strike in the 19th minute drew the O’s level after Matt Tootle had given the hosts and early lead, and one apiece was how it remained until the end.
The O’s came back strongly from their shaky start and were well worthy of their point, even though they ended the game with 10 men after Anthony Griffith was shown a second yellow card in second half stoppage time.
Crewe made a strong start and found themselves up just 64 seconds after the game kicked off.
Tootle was the scorer, wrapping his foot around the ball to volley into the top left hand corner after Brendon Daniels sent in a cross from the left that was directed in front of a retreating O’s backline.
The hosts remained on the front foot and could have doubled their lead when Tootle slipped a ball beyond Nathan Clarke and into the path of striker A-Jay Leitch-Smith, who was quickly closed down by Ryan Allsop and the O’s survived.
With 19 minutes on the clock Orient hauled themselves back into the game with a strike of the highest quality from Rowlands.
The former QPR man was back in the team following the illness which kept him out on Tuesday and he announced his return in style, thumping home a right footed volley from 22 yards after a Dean Cox cross was only cleared as far as him.
The O’s were by now doing a decent job of stifling the newly-promoted hosts and quelling their early threat.
But Crewe were still only inches away from re-taking the lead before the break when Leitch-Smith lined up a shot from range and beat Allsop down to the left, but not the base of the far post which came to the O’s rescue.
Rowlands departed the action at the break to be replaced by Jimmy Smith, but the pattern of Orient growing into the game continued in the second period as Crewe failed to match their fast start in the opening period.
The O’s exerted a spell of strong pressure midway through the half, with only a couple of last ditch touches from the home defence preventing Dean Cox from picking out Ryan Brunt and Michael Symes.
At the other end Leitch-Smith wasted a great opening when the O’s were caught in possession in midfield and Crewe made use of the turnover to feed the striker through, but he failed to hit the target.
The best chance to win it fell to Kevin Lisbie, but Alan Martin got across his goal brilliantly to claw out the O’s striker’s header after Lee Cook’s fine cross laid on the opportunity.
Allsop shovelled a fierce Ryan Colclough effort around his near post in an end-to-end finish to the game, and Anthony Griffith was shown a second yellow card late on, but neither side could claim a winner and it ended 1-1.
Crewe: Martin; Mellor, Ellis, Davis, Robertson; Tootle, Osman (Turton 56), Murphy, Daniels (Colclough 77); Clayton, Leitch-Smith
Subs: Guthrie, Ray, Garratt (GK), Clayton
Goal: Tootle 2
Leyton Orient: Allsop; McSweeney, Clarke, Chorley, Sawyer; Cox, Griffith, Rowlands (Smith 46), Cook (Odubajo 83); Lisbie, Brunt (Symes 65)
Subs: Baudry, Laird, Grainger (GK), Mooney
Goal: Rowlands 19
Booked: Griffith, Chorley
Sent off: Griffith
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Attendance: 5,163 (322 away)