The O’s were made to rue a number of missed chances during the opening 45 minutes as the away side struck twice in the second half to secure victory.
The home side were looking to continue on from last week’s defeat of Southend United and they were nearly off to the perfect start through the persistence of Jerome Martelli. The striker did well to chase down Andis Nikolau’s clearance but his lob over an on-rushing Luke Colquorn flew just wide of the target.
They were then presented with a better opportunity just a minute later following a mix-up in the Crawley defence but this time Colquorn was called into action to deny Sinclaire Sandy, who only had the goalkeeper to beat.
Orient could easily have been two goals ahead by this point, though they were then given notice of Crawley’s own intentions when Billy Woon’s fabulous 25-yard effort thundered back off the crossbar.
Despite this it was the O’s who looked more likely to open the scoring, with Montel Ageymang next to have an attempt on goal in the 22nd minute. But just three minutes later they were given the opportunity to take the lead from 12 yards after referee Chris Reid awarded Orient a penalty after Sandy’s pace proved too much Vince Smith, who conceded the foul. Freddy Moncur stepped up to take the penalty but his low effort was saved well by Colquorn, who leapt to his right to parry away the spot-kick.
The hosts did not dwell on the latest spurned opportunity, and they created another chance on the stroke of half time. Christian Owusu met Josh Uzun’s inviting free kick, only for his header to fly agonisingly wide.
But within four minutes of the second half came the opening strike of the match, as Orient were caught cold by Melville. Neither Alex Finney nor Jack Humphrey could deal with Colquorn’s long goal kick and the striker took advantage to emphatically volley past Bridle-Card.
The O’s came close to an equaliser on the hour mark when Uzun’s free kick from 20 yards dipped into the side netting.
But less than five minutes later the Reds appeared to take the game out of Orient’s reach. Harry Anderson was able to wriggle away from Sam Ling, and although his strike on goal was parried by Bridle-Card, Issac was on hand to pounce on the rebound.
Orient searched for a route back into the game during the remaining third, but Crawley hung on to their advantage to secure victory.
“Overall, today’s performance wasn’t up to scratch,” stated Andy Edwards. “We could have been maybe two goals ahead during the first half if you include the penalty, though we understand penalties aren’t always scored. But we didn’t continue to do the basics in the second half, and that’s what has cost us.”
Orient: Ben Bridle-Card, Sam Ling, Andis Nikolau (Kane Adams, 46), Alex Finney (C), Jack Humphrey, Lawson Okameji, Montel Ageymang (Nick Brown, 63), Freddy Moncur, Josh Uzun, Sinclaire Sandy, Jerome Martelli (Christian Owusu, 34). Subs not used: Robert Mensah, Shola Oladipo
Crawley Town: Luke Colquorn, Vince Smith, Dylan Lall, Brad Isaac (C) (Olly Gill, 69), Eddie Jackson, Alex Read, Harry Anderson, Ryan Richefond, Scott Melville (Tope Fawady, 58), Billy Woon, Daniel Hector (Wille Kovadio, 76). Subs not used: Chris Haigm
Goals: Melville (49), Isaac (64)
Referee: Chris Reid