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Crewe 1-1 Leyton Orient

22 September 2012

Alex held to fourth draw in a row.

Crewe Alexandra recorded their fourth successive draw after a stunning Matt Tootle opener was cancelled out midway through the first half by an equally spectacular goal from Martin Rowlands

The Alex, who had taken the lead after just 64 seconds, pressed for a winner, and came so close to one in stoppage time with Mark Ellis and subsistute Ryan Colclough both coming close, but Orient, who had Anthony Griffith sent-off late on hung on.

Crewe boss Steve Davis was forced in to a late change in the build up to the game as Byron Moore was ruled out for personal reasons. Moore was replaced by 18-year-old Brendon Daniels who was handed his first start for the club. Harry Clayton replaced Daniels on the bench.

Tootle continued on the right of the Alex midfield after his impressive performance at Carlisle in midweek, and it was the versatile man that gave Crewe the lead after just 64 seconds, and what a goal it was.

The 21-year-old collected a Daniels pass on the edge of the box, before volleying in to the top corner with a super finish. It was Tootle's first goal since Boxing Day 2009, and only his second in a Crewe shirt.

The Alex could have doubled their lead minutes later as Tootle impressed again. This time he slipped a lovely through ball in behind the Orient defence for Max Clayton, but his shot was well saved by Ryan Allsop.

Orient had their first chance soon after good work down the Alex left. Dean Cox whipped a delightful cross in but Stoke City loanee Ryan Brunt headed over Alan Martin's goal.

But it was still the Alex on top and Mark Ellis came so close to doubling Crewe's lead as he headed Ajay Leitch-Smith's cross-shot narrowly wide over the Orient goal. It was a tough chance, but Ellis was disappointed not to net his first Alex goal.

More good play between the impressive Daniels and Tootle created a chance for Leitch-Smith, but the 22-year-old just couldn't work space for a shot in the packed Orient box. Moments later Daniels had a powerful effort well blocked.

The Alex were made to pay for not taking those chances when Orient levelled with a spectacular strike of their own. Crewe could only partially clear a dangerous cross again from Cox, and former QPR midfielder Rowlands emphatically volleyed the ball past a helpless Alan Martin from 25-yards.

Crewe responded well though and had a penalty appeal turned down as Daniels went down in the Orient box, and continued to press over the next twenty minutes.

They were nearly rewarded for that pressure minutes before half-time as Leitch-Smith managed to elude the Orient defence, before firing a powerful from distance. Unfortunately for the Alex academy graduate his shot rebounded back off the post. Soon after Ajay was this time denied by the linesman's flag.

That was the last real action of the first-half, but it was Leitch-Smith that was again threatening in the second as he latched on to a Clayton pass before a good block from the Orient defence.

Former Port Vale midfielder Griffith was booked for a heavy challenge on Abdul Osman, that was Osman's last action as he was replaced by second-year professional Ollie Turton.

By now, it was Orient that were on top, and the Alex were struggling to retain possession, and Orient sub Jimmy Smith powered an effort from distance just over the Crewe bar. Moments later, Mark had to head a really dangerous cross to safety.

The Alex still looked like they could cause problems on the beak though, and as the game neared the closing 15 minutes, Tootle won possession in midfield and found Leitch-Smith, unfortunately for the Railwaymen the Alex forward couldn't find a finish.

Orient then had a glorious chance to win it when Kevin Lisbie met a dangerous cross. Thankfully for the Alex, Martin was on hand to produce a fine save.

A tired Daniels was then replaced second-year scholar Colclough who was making his debut for the club at the age of just 17.

Tootle came close to his second of the game with a powerful effort from the edge of the box, before debutant Colclough nearly made an immediate impact with an effort that was well saved by the Orient keeper. Colclough was really impressing and had another chance minutes later after good work from captain Luke Murphy.

The Alex now looked like they could snatch a winner, and good linkup play from Leitch-Smith and Colclough saw Clayton nearly prod the Alex in to the lead.

Griffith received his second booking late on for a challenge on Murphy, and the Alex nearly won it through Ellis and Colclough in stoppage time, but both were denied as the Alex had to settle for a point.

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