O's see off Crawley in action-packed Boxing Day encounterSam Dalby’s first senior goal and two from strike partner Paul McCallum helped the O’s to a 3-2 victory over Crawley Town in a festive cracker of a game, despite a late comeback from the Red Devils.
Dalby got the ball rolling with just four minutes on the clock, before McCallum doubled the lead seven minutes later, who then trebled the advantage on the stroke of half time from the penalty spot.
A nervy second half was to ensue though as Teddy Mezague put past Alex Cisak and then Enzio Boldewijn set up an anxious 12 minutes which the O's saw out to record back-to-back home league victories for the first time this season.
Boss Andy Edwards made four changes to the side which lost 1-0 at Wycombe Wanderers, with 17-year-old Sam Dalby coming in for his first senior start while Teddy Mezague also made his first appearance from the off.
Michael Collins and Sandro Semedo were also involved from the off, with Callum Kennedy, Robbie Weir, Jordan Bowery and Jay Simpson all making way.
It was a positive start and it couldn’t get much for the O;s when Dalby opened his account in senior football with just four minutes on the clock.
A lovely move down the right, the first of many, saw Gavin Massey slip the ball through to Nigel Atangana and his ball across was fired home by Dalby to spark wild scenes of celebration.
One almost became two, two minutes later when a ball in from Massey was met by the towering McCallum in the box. His header was just inches wide and Dalby tried his best to get a decisive touch at the back post, though it was to no avail.
Every O’s attack seemed to involve Massey who was giving Andre Blackman a torrid time in the early stages.
A quickly-taken free-kick from Michael Collins was to prove profitable as the O’s doubled their lead with 11 minutes on the clock.
Collins found that man Massey and his cross was slid home by Dalby’s strike partner McCallum as the hosts doubled their Boxing Day lead.
Orient were in full swing and a lovely crossfield ball from Hunt found Massey on the right once more and he took one touch before putting in a fizzing delivery which McCallum was just unable to get on the end of.
The same trio combined on 20 minutes in almost carbon copy fashion as Hunt found Massey who then sublimely volleyed over a cross and again McCallum couldn’t quite get to the delivery.
Alex Cisak had near enough been a spectator for the first half hour, but he was called into action to catch a fierce effort from James Collins’ strike, their first of the game.
Every O was playing with confidence and Semedo was no different as he toyed with the Crawley defence before pinging over an inswinging cross right on to the head of McCallum, though the effort was tame and Glenn Morris gathered with ease.
Four minutes of stoppage time were awarded and on the stroke of the half-time whistle the O’s had an opportunity to increase their lead even more when more trickery from Massey saw the winger tripped and referee Trevor Kettle blew for a penalty.
Up stepped McCallum and he sent Morris the wrong way to triple the O’s lead at the break.
Crawley made a half-time substitution with Blackman making way for Joe McNerney at the back and the visitors started the second period on a more positive note.
Former O Jimmy Smith saw an effort blocked by Tom Parkes, before they did pull a goal back when Lewis Young’s cross from the right was turned in by Teddy Meague under pressure from Enzio Boldewijn.
Undeterred by the visitors pulling a goal back, the O’s went on the attack and McCallum almost had his first senior hat-trick as he rose superbly for Massey ‘s cross, but failed to direct the effort on target.
Sam Dalby’s first senior start ended with a rapturous round of applause as he was replaced by Jordan Bowery just short of the hour mark.
Bowery was involved almost instantly when he laid the ball back for Massey who was tripped in the box, but referee Kettle this time waved the appeals away.
The Crawley goal had given Dermot Drummy’s side some confidence though and there were some anxious moments in the O’s penalty area, but they still managed to keep them at bay further with Cisak there when called upon and Parkes producing another fine block to deny Boldewijn.
Massey, so often the creator throughout the game, almost got his name on the scoresheet as he received the ball in acres of space on the inside right and he unleashed a shot which just went wide of the post with Glenn Morris at full stretch.
The former Colchester winger was back in creative mode as he played a lovely throughball for Semedo who took a couple of touches before unleashing a fierce effort that Morris held.
There were to be a few more anxious moments though when Boldewijn rounded Cisak to net a second with 12 minutes left on the clock.
On a number of occasions the visitors caused havoc in the O’s box, but bodies were put on the line and Orient managed to keep them at bay.
ORIENT: Cisak, Judd, Parkes, Mezague, Hunt (c), Massey, Atangana, Collins, Semedo, Dalby (Bowery 59), McCallum.
SUBS: Sargeant, Weir, Palmer, Simpson, Koroma, Erichot.
GOALS: Dalby (4), McCallum (11, 45+5 pen)
BOOKED: Bowery (75), Atangana (82), McCallum (86), Hunt (90).
CRAWLEY: Morris, Young, Connolly, Yorwerth, Blackman (McNerney HT), Boldewijn, Payne, Clifford, Roberts (Bawling 75), Smith, Collins.
SUBS: Mersin, Tajbakhsh, Djalo, Watt, Henderson.
GOALS: Mezague OG (54), Boldewijn (78)
BOOKED: Roberts (45+4), Yorwerth (71), Collins (90), Payne (90), Connolly (90)
REFEREE: Trevor Kettle.
ATTENDANCE: 4,486 (295 Crawley Town fans)