Ross Embleton named an unchanged starting line-up from Saturday’s game with Exeter, though Dan Happe replaced Shadrach Ogie on the bench having missed the trip to The Grecians because of family reasons.
The visitors got the game going, but The O’s were the first to have a crack on goal. A superb through ball from Sam Ling released Lee Angol down the right-hand channel, who cut inside and fired an effort wide of Jääskeläinen’s post after just two minutes.
Orient enjoyed a wonderful start to the game, pinging the ball around with confidence and exposing the visitor’s defensive line.
Dale Gorman was next to have a go. After some neat football in the middle in the park with George Marsh and Jordan Maguire-Drew, the number four dragged an effort a couple of yards wide of the target from the edge of the area.
Angol’s night was cut short after 15 minutes. The forward hit the floor with a hamstring injury and Conor Wilkinson was the man introduced from the bench.
The stoppage in play sucked the tempo out of the game, allowing David Artell’s team more time on the ball having soaked up early pressure.
Daniel Powell spurned a glorious chance for The Railwaymen just before the half-hour mark. A long ball flew into his path, but Powell could only lift his effort onto the cross-bar.
Crewe came forward again, but this time were more clinical as they opened the score. A ball in from the right-flank was flicked on by the head of Powell, squirming through several bodies before Nolan poked The Alex ahead.
Orient were behind for all of ten minutes before Maguire-Drew levelled the tie. The goal-scorer had originally intercepted the ball in a dangerous area, before baring down on goal and finishing excellently with a delicate dink.
The midfielder’s goal was sure to change the half-time team talk, as the teams went in at the break all square.
Wikinson saw an effort saved 47 minutes in, heading a Marsh cross goal-bound, but it was a comfortable save for Jääskeläinen.
With 57 minutes on the clock, referee Josh Smith awarded Orient a penalty-kick. Josh Wright crept into the area after a lovely flick from Conor Wilkinson and a smart touch took the ball out of the reach of Nicky Hunt who tripped his man.
Maguire-Drew took the spot-kick, but Jääskeläinen was equal to his effort and caught the ball down to his left.
As the clock ticked on, Gorman stabbed an effort with his studs into the hands of the ‘keeper after the ball fell kindly in the area.
Craig Clay and Matt Harrold were introduced with 12 minutes left to play, replacing Gorman and Dennis as Embleton looked to freshen things up.
Super goalkeeping from Dean Brill denied a goal in the 80th minute, with The O’s shot-stopper blocking two goal bound efforts.
First, Brill made himself big to deflect Jones’s shot away from danger and secondly palming Chris Porter’s drive onto the post.
The game would end in heart-break, with Crewe netting a winner right at the death. An Owen Dale cross deflected kindly to Jones on the edge of the area who smashed home the winner with no time to respond.
ORIENT: Brill, Ling, Widdowson, Gorman (Clay 75’’), Ekpiteta, Coulson, Maguire-Drew, Dennis (Harrold 77’’), Angol (Wilkinon 19’’), Marsh, Wright
SUBS: Sargeant, Judd, Happe, Alabi
BOOKED: Dennis 67’’ Marsh 90’’
GOALS: Maguire-Drew 42’’
CREWE: Jääskeläinen, Ng, Pickering, Wintle, Nolan, Powell (Ainley 60’’), Jones, Porter (Anene 90’’), Kirk (Dale 54’’), Hunt, Lowery
SUBS: Richards, Lancashire, Finney, Lundstrum
GOALS: Nolan 32’’ Jones 90’’
REFEREE: Josh Smith
ATTENDANCE: 4,289 (284)
Next up: Colchester United 21st Sep (A)