Sub Dagnall cancels out Moore's opener with quick fire double
Two clinical finishes from Leyton Orient recent signing Chris Dagnall proved the difference in a fiercely contested affair at the Alexandra Stadium. Orient's super sub arrived for the start of the second half to cancel out Bryon Moore’s opener at the beginning of the second period. Moore may have applied the final touch after Chuks Aneke's initial shot had been saved and pushed onto the post by the Orient goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic but it was difficult to tell at normal speed. It may be that Aneke's shot had already crossed the line to give him his 7th goal of the season.
Dagnall was in the right place at the right time twice in seven minutes to inflict Crewe’s second successive defeat following a 4-2 defeat at Rotherham last week. It took Orient’s mid-week signing seven minutes to turn this game around and although Crewe showed great determination to get level things in the second half, but just couldn’t find that equaliser with late substitutes Uche Ikpeazu and Mathias Pogba certainly making an impact in the closing stages with their power.
It was another positive performance against another of the top sides in League One but again we were left with nothing to show for our efforts.
Steve Davis had the luxury of naming an unchanged side for the visit of promotion seeking Leyton Orient. The Alex boss decided to leave Mathias Pogba and new loan signing Uche Ikpeazu on the substitutes’ bench due to their lack of match fitness. George Evans also had to settle for a place amongst the substitutes for the second successive game after returning from his suspension but the trio would be on before the end.
Crewe Alexandra made a really bright start to the proceedings, snapping into tackles and looking to wingers Brad Inman and Byron Moore to move us up the pitch with pace. Chuks Aneke was involved early on to create an opportunity for Inman and his instant shot was pushed away by Edin Jakupovic.
Defender Kelvin Mellor was booked after just 10 minutes after catching the Orient winger Dean Cox and the tempo of the game continued with both sides prepared to put a foot in. That competitiveness made for a good atmosphere inside Gresty Road.
Ben Garratt raced off his line to deny Kevin Lisbie after the veteran striker had strayed in behind Mark Ellis to latch on to a fine pass from Lloyd James from midfield. The Crewe goalkeeper was quick off his line to dive at the striker’s feet.
Mellor was then forced to clear in front of his grounded goalkeeper after Cox had got a touch to a cross at the far post but Crewe had felt the Orient winger had nudged Moore to reach it first.
Just before the 20 minute mark, a patient build up from the Crewe right hand side saw Mellor feed Abdul Osman and his cross towards the far post was met by Inman. His header found Chuks Aneke, who showed some great strength and awareness to lay off a chance for AJ Leitch-Smith and his snap shot was well held by Jakupovic.
After an intense and relentless start to the game, it was bound to slow down a bit and the game became a real scrap in the middle of the park, with the ball spending more time in the air than we would have liked. Aneke was having to try and win too many flick ons and there were some over-hit passes from back-to-front in the second half of the first half.
Chances became few and far between but there were moments toward the end of the first half that could have seen either team go in at the break ahead. Cox swapped wings to pick out Moses Odubajo but he couldn’t direct his header on target before Aneke again showed great strength again to hold off a couple of challenges close to the by-line and after cutting in, his shot had to be deflected over the Leyton Orient crossbar.
There was still time for Crewe to survive a penalty appeal when the pacy Odubajo went down under a challenge from Inman but referee Woolmer waved way the Londoners’ appeals.
Dagnall replaced Simpson at half-time and would be the decisive player in the game with his finishing but it was Jamie Ness, on loan from Stoke City, having the first half chance of the second period.
Crewe took the lead on 53 minutes with Aneke instrumental again. In truth, the Orient defence gave the on-loan Arsenal starlet far too much room inside their box and after his initial shot was saved by Eldin Jakupovic, Moore raced in to make absolutely sure of crossing the line for his third goal of the season. It was unclear if Moore had applied the final touch after Aneke's shot had looped up and onto the post after Jakupovic had got a strong glove on it.
Having taken the lead, the Railwaymen then carved open another great chance to double the advantage with Leitch-Smith producing a delightful flick from Inman’s pass to find Aneke, but a little off balance he could only side foot his shot wide of the mark.
Leyton Orient equalised on the hour mark and it was far too straight forward from a Crewe point of view. A long through ball found Dagnall on the other side of Ellis and he hardly broke stride before tucking it past a helpless Garratt.
Aneke was then booked for failing to move quickly enough at a free-kick but in truth he didn’t have much of an opportunity to get out of the way!
the ball deflecting into their paths on a couple of occasions, but from a defensive point of view it was another poor one to concede. Dagnall showed his experience by reacting quickest to a knock down to dispatch a close range effort past Garratt. A few minutes later, Dagnall showed his goal poaching instincts to tuck home the winner. Crewe had ample opportunities to clear their lines following a long free-kick placed into our penalty area and Orient had some good fortune with
Dagnall then blighted his afternoon with a yellow card for a late tackle on Mellor before Crewe boss Steve Davis introduced Ikpeazu for Leitch-Smith. The on-loan Watford striker showed flashes of great strength and directness and he and his fellow substitute this afternoon Pogba will certainly b a handful if named in the same side going forward.
Chasing an equaliser and a deserved point, Crewe piled on the pressure. A short free-kick from Harry Davis found Inman and his whipped over cross was cleared again by the impressive Mathieu Baudry, who was sporting a headband from the start.
Scott Cuthbert was booked for a cynical foul on Matt Tootle as he threatened to get away from the half way line before Osman had a shot blocked on the edge of the box after good work from the powerful Ikpeazu.
Pogba came on to add even more power in the final third and George Evans came on for Osman as we chased a late goal. That real genuine chance never really fell for us and Jakupovic wasn’t called into action as much as we would wanted, but Ikpeazu had an overhead kick saved by the Orient keeper and a deflected effort from Ikpeazu on the turn bounded just wide of the mark.