Ross Embleton made two changes to the side that lost 2-0 away to Bolton. Adam Thompson made his debut in the heart of defence and Nick Freeman came in to make his first start for the O’s.
Elsewhere, Tristan Abrahams made the bench having successfully gained international clearance prior to kick-off and was introduced in the first-half, replacing the injured Ruel Sotiriou.
Crawley had the opportunity to race into lead after referee Kevin Johnson pointed to the spot just 90 seconds into the game. Craig Clay leaned into Jack Powell, who had leapt into the air to try and meet a whipped cross but fell to the floor under pressure.
Nichols’ penalty was well struck, but the powerful effort smacked the bar and flew over. A let off early in the game for Orient.
Straight down the other end Conor Wilkinson’s shot from distance failed to test goalkeeper Glenn Morris, despite zipping up on the wet surface; the ball wizzed wide.
The same man was involved ten minutes later. Nick Freeman led a counter-attack, before passing to Wilkinson, whose right footed strike hit the side netting.
The Leyton Orient forward was involved once more, a few minutes later. A free-kick from 30-yards whet Conor’s appetite and the number nine forced Morris into a save.
Crawley failed to deal with the 26-year-old in the opening moments of the match and were saved by the linesman when he ruled out a Conor Wilkinson goal. Sam Ling’s inch perfect cross was met by Wilkinson, who nodded home, but he was penalised for a foul on Jordan Tunnicliffe.
Orient built good momentum in the first-half until Kyprianou’s dismissal, which naturally flipped the course of the game. The young Cypriot was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Jake Hessenthaler.
Hector’s fellow countryman, Ruel Sotiriou was then forced off with an injury, meaning new signing Tristan Abrahams was introduced to the game before half-time.
The Red Devils were unable to make their advantage pay though, and the teams went in level at the break.
Despite being a man down, it was the O’s who forced the opposition’s ‘keeper into action. Orient countered and could well have took the lead if it wasn’t for a couple of heroic blocks to deny Craig Clay and Dan Kemp.
From the following corner, Glenn Morris got down low to deny Freeman, who had hammered a long range shot towards the bottom corner of the net.
Crawley had plenty of possession in the second- half but were limited to few clear-cut chances. Nichols looked to make amends for his missed penalty, but his curling shot hit the side netting.
Ross Embleton made two late changes, introducing Jobi McAnuff and Joe Widdowson from the bench – their experience proved to be vital, as Orient navigated the closing phases professionally, to claim a big point away from home.
Crawley Town: Morris, Francomb, Dallison (Davies 54’), Powell, Nadesan, Nichols, Tunnicliffe (McNerney 63’), Matthews (Tilley 54’), Craig, Hessenthaler (Rodari 80’), J. Wright
Subs: Galach, M.Wright, Nelson
Booked: Rodari 90’
Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, Ling (Widdowson 87’), Akinola, Thompson, Brophy, Kyprianou, Clay, Freeman, Wilkinson, Sotiriou (Abrahams 41’), Kemp (McAnuff 80’)
Subs: Sargeant, Cisse, Dayton, Turley
Booked: Thompson 29’ Wilkinson 85’ Clay 88′ Brophy 90’
Sent-off: Kyprianou 31’
Ref: Kevin Johnson