Crewe: Jaaskelainen, Ng (c), Hunt, Nolan, Pickering, Wintle, Jones, Lowery, Powell (Ainley, 60), Kirk (Dale, 54), Porter (Anene, 90+2)
Unused Subs: Richards, Lancashire, Lundstram, Finney
Goals: Nolan (32), Jones (90)
Attendance: 4,289 (284 Crewe)
James Jones scored a dramatic late winner as Crewe Alex battled to a fourth away win of the season to run out 2-1 victors at Leyton Orient.
Eddie Nolan put Crewe ahead half an hour in but Jordan Maguire-Drew equalised before half-time. Will Jaaskelainen saved a second half penalty before Jones stole the show.
David Artell made two changes to the side that lost at home to Cambridge United, opting to replace Olly Lancashire with Nicky Hunt, whilst also bringing in James Jones for the suspended Paul Green.
The O’s came out the traps the quicker & were pressing Crewe high up the field, creating two chances inside the opening five minutes.
Lee Angol, who was forced off injured a short while later, raced away down the right to break into the box & thumped an effort high & wide of the near post before Dale Gorman struck an effort from 25-yards that never troubled Will Jaaskelainen.
After an initial ropey ten minutes, the Alex began to gain control & confidence & came within inches of opening the scoring with 29 minutes on the clock. Perry Ng curled a ball over the top for Daniel Powell to race onto. The clever ball beat the defender to allow Powell through & his shot beat the goalkeeper, but struck the angle of post & bar & rebounded into the hands of a fortunate Dean Brill.
Straight up the other end & it was the O’s testing Jaaskelainen. Harry Pickering did well to break up the play but the ball fell to Louis Dennis 25-yards out to shoot left-footed first time, but Will got down to his left to save & hold on with substitute Conor Wilkinson ready to feed on scraps.
But the opening goal did arrive just two minutes later & it came the way of the Alex. A corner kick on the left found its way over to the right hand-side to Lowery. He put an inswinging cross over & Powell flicked on a header for Nolan to stab low into the corner from six-yards.
That looked to be that for the first period, but a 42nd minute misplaced pass by goalscorer Nolan in the defensive third allowed Maguire-Drew to race in on goal & he finished well past the onrushing Jaaskelainen to level things up 1-1 at the break.
After a quiet start to the second period for both teams, Crewe gifted Orient the opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot when Nicky Hunt tripped Josh Wright to give-up the 58th minute opportunity.
Maguire-Drew stepped up in the hope of notching his second of the game, but Jaaskelainen guessed right, diving to his left to not only save the spot-kick, but hold on to the ball & alleviate all the pressure.
Orient continued to enjoy most of the ball after the missed penalty without really testing Jaaskelainen again, but the tide turned inside the final 15 minutes.
With 78 on the clock, Ng got down to the right by-line & pulled back for Jones to strike but Brill made a superb save, with Jones turning creator just seconds later slipping in Chris Porter for a one-on-one. His shot was superbly saved again by Brill, tipping the effort onto the post as Crewe found their feet.
The Railwaymen really went for it inside the final five minutes, Jones almost scoring the winner on 89 when Porter raced down the left & got the better of defender Marvin Ekpitea to pass across the face, with Jonah have to stretch & prod narrowly wide.
It looked as if both teams would have to settle for a point – a first draw for Crewe since March – but Jones popped up in the right place again as the clock struck 90 to seal a dramatic fourth away victory of the season from five games.
It was Owen Dale down the left this time who got away from Nolan’s ball over the top & he fired over a low cross that was poked into the path of Jones by Ekpitea & the Alex midfielder smashed his low shot into the net to send the traveling fans into raptures.
The Alex defended out the five minutes of injury time professionally without Orient having a sniff to ensure all three points and a move to second in the Sky Bet League Two table.