First half goals from Cooper and Davis give Crewe comfortable win in captial.
First half goals from George Cooper and Harry Davis saw Crewe Alexandra record their first win in eight games and their first at Leyton Orient since February 2008, when a Nicky Maynard goal had given us a 1-0 at the Matchroom Stadium. The result puts Crewe back into the play-off places.
The result was no more than Crewe Alexandra deserved with Alex Kiwomya creating both goals to put Crewe firmly in the driving seat in the capital. His first contribution saw him poke the ball through to Cooper to finish in style after the hard work of Zoumana Bakayogo had seen the defender keep the ball in play close to the by-line. Kiwomya then picked out the run of defender Davis to allow him to control his floated pass with a deft touch and pass it beyond a helpless Alex Cisak for his first goal of the season.
Steve Davis made one change to the Crewe Alexandra side that was narrowly beaten 1-0 by Yeovil Town last weekend. Midfielder James Jones regained his starting place in central midfield ahead of Billy Bingham. Jones had initially lost his place following his involvement with Scotland Under-21s.
Forward Ryan Lowe shook off his slight hamstring issue to retain his place alongside the former Leyton Orient favourite Chris Dagnall. A competitive bench contained Dan Udoh, Tom Lowery, Bingham and Callum Ainley.
The home side forced a corner from the boot of Ollie Turton within the opening 20 seconds but Crewe managed to clear Callum Kennedy’s deliver from the left hand side with relative ease. Kennedy also had an early free-kick from distance that was easily gathered by the well placed Ben Garratt.
After stealing possession in central midfield, Danny Hollands found Dagnall and his bustling run towards goal was only halted by the experienced Nicky Hunt standing across him.
With two towering and powerful strikers up front in Ollie Palmer and Jordan Bowery, it became obvious that Alberto Cavasin’s side were going to load our box with crosses at any possible point. Palmer headed over but was adjusted to have nudged Jon Guthrie in the process.
minute and it was the Alex opening up the Orient defence. Following a short free-kick close to the half-way line, Crewe patiently kept the ball, waiting for the right opening and an excellent floated pass from Jones found Dagnall on the shoulder of the last defender, and his left foot shot was pushed out by Alex Cisak. thThe first genuine chance of the game arrived in the 17
Moments later, left back Zoumana Bakayogo was booked for deliberate handball and Davis had to be well placed to clear Kennedy’s accurate delivery into a crowded penalty area. Lowe then slipped Kiwomya in behind full-back Jens Janse, but an uncharacteristic heavy touch took him beyond the by-line with Dagnall waiting for a pull back.
Crewe had a period of possession and deservedly went ahead on 33 minutes after fantastic work by Bakayago. The full-back chased down what appeared a lost cause to keep the ball alive. He somehow reached it to keep it in play and after a brief scramble inside the box, Kiwoyma managed to poke the ball through to Cooper. The youngster took his time before guiding his shot superbly into the top corner for his fifth goal of the season. It was a splendid and composed finish from the man in form.
With the confidence of taking the lead, Crewe pressed forward looking for a decisive second goal and so nearly achieved it. Cooper was again involved and he sent over a magnificent cross that just evaded the forwards but it reached Kiwomya at the far post and the on-loan Chelsea winger did everything right by trying to drill it home but there were just too many bodies between him and the goal and it was blocked.
Crewe’s fine first half performance was rewarded with a well worked second goal on 42 minutes. Kiwomya spotted a fine run from centre-half Harry Davis and his excellent through ball picked him out in front of the Leyton Orient goal. The defender still a bit to do, but controlled the ball superbly, steadied himself and placed it beyond Cisak. It was Davis’ first goal since scoring at Bramall Lane back in March and it put Crewe firmly in the driving seat at the break.
With the only one home win this season, the disgruntled Orient fans made their feeling known as the half-time whistle sounded.
The home side made a change at the beginning of the second half with Michael Collins replacing Bowery. It was Collins’ debut for the Londoners.
Orient did make a concerted effort to put Crewe on the back foot but their final ball was just lacking to really trouble a stubborn defence, with Guthrie and Davis looking really solid against their obvious aerial threat. On 52 minutes though, Palmer went on a clever run that drew a first meaningful save from Garratt. The Crewe goalkeeper did well to get his fingertips to it and send it behind for a corner. From a Kennedy cross, Tom Parkes should really have made Garratt work again with his downward header but he failed to hit the target.
Crewe felt they had a shout for a penalty when Parkes appeared to shove Lowe in the back, but there was nothing given. Lowe and a selection of Crewe players protested to referee Andy Haines but the official waved away the strong appeals. The Orient defender certainly didn’t play the ball.
After an improved start to the second half from the home side, Crewe began to control the contest again. Crewe stroked the ball around, taking the intensity out of the game. It frustrated the home crowd, who have been starved of league wins at the Matchroom Stadium this season.
With time ebbing away, Cavasin made a double substitution with Jay Simpson and Ulrich Nnomo replacing Nigel Atangana and Gavin Massey.
Turton joined Bakayogo in the book for a foul on Kennedy, but the genuine threats on the Crewe goal were few and far between as we entered the final stages.
Steve Davis introduced the fresh legs of Bingham for Lowe, who had been a doubt with a tight hamstring. Crewe were prepared to see the game out and aim to hit the home side on the counter attack. A forceful run from James Jones nearly saw him go all the way after he had regained possession but he was crowded out.
To their credit, Orient kept plugging away but with Crewe determined to see the game out and record that clean sheet, the concentration levels were good.
Sadly, the Orient sub Nnomo was stretched off in the dying minutes and Davis used the stoppage to conduct a double change with Ainley and Perry NG replacing wingers Cooper and Kiwoyma.
In search of a late third goal and one on his return to the Matchroom Stadium, Dagnall went into a 50/50 tackle with the Orient goalkeeper but Cisak held firm to win the duel and prevent the Crewe striker a goal.
Moments from time, Dagnall then did brilliantly to nick possession and he teed up Bingham, who was denied his second goal of the campaign by a fine save from Cisak.