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Leyton Orient will top League One table at Christmas despite Crawley Town defeat
Leyton Orient will lead the League One table at Christmas despite a disappointing 3-2 home defeat to Crawley Town this afternoon.
The hosts took an early lead when the ball fell kindly for Moses Odubajo and the winger netted his sixth goal of the season. But former Orient striker Gary Alexander equalised before the break with a close-range header.
Crawley were awarded a penalty before half-time when Lloyd James was penalised for blocking a shot with his hands. Alexander's penalty struck the post but Andy Drury followed up to make it 2-1.
The visitors sealed their third victory in a row against the O's in the second half through Nicky Adams' classy finish to leave Orient without a win in four league games despite a late effort from Marvin Bartley.
The O's made three changes to the side held at Bradford City last weekend. Kevin Lisbie made his first start since the end of November in place of Robbie Simpson in attack.
Elliot Omozusi was serving a one-match ban and his place in defence went to Gary Sawyer. Dean Cox also missed the game through illness which handed another opportunity in midfield to Yohann Lasimant.
There was an early chance for the O's but Shaun Batt's shot was straight at keeper Paul Jones. The visitors responded and forced a corner after Alexander's strike was saved by Jamie Jones.
Orient grabbed the opening goal after 14 minutes when Lloyd James' pass was missed by Lisbie but fell perfectly for Odubajo who fired past Jones.
The conditions worsened significantly and the wind and rain was proving an obstacle to flowing football at Brisbane Road.
The O's went close from a corner but Scott Cuthbert was unable to direct his header on target.
Crawley Town grabbed their equaliser in the 36th minute and it came through a likely source as Mark Connolly's cross was headed home by striker Alexander.
The visitors nearly took the lead from Adams' cross which forced Jones to save after the wind diverted it towards the goal.
Orient conceded a penalty before the break when Connolly's shot was blocked at close range by James' hand. Alexander's effort struck the post but Drury reacted quickest to convert the rebound.
The O's made a change at the break as Russell Slade introduced Robbie Simpson in place of Frenchman Lasimant.
Orient went close at the start of the second half through Mathieu Baudry's header but his effort was cleared off the line.
Crawley nearly made it 3-1 on the break but Billy Clarke's deflected shot flew inches past the far post.
The visitors had another decent opportunity after a cross from Adams but Alexander could not guide the ball on target.
Orient made a second change with time running out as midfielder Bartley replaced James.
But Crawley netted their third goal to put clear distance between the sides when a mistake by Baudry enabled Adams to race clear and produce a classy finish chipping the ball over Jones.
It could have been even worse for the O's but Clarke's lob was brilliantly cleared off the line by the Orient captain.
The O's grabbed a lifeline late on when Sawyer's free-kick was bundled home by Bartley.
Orient had five minutes of injury time to find an equaliser but Slade's side could not get a goal as they suffered their third league defeat of the season.
Leyton Orient: Jones; Sawyer, Clarke, Baudry, Cuthbert; Lasimant (Simpson, HT), James (Bartley, 75), Vincelot, Odubajo; Batt, Lisbie
Subs not used: Larkins, Lee, Gorman, Ling, Finney
Crawley Town: Jones; Sadler, Conolly, Bulman, McFadzean; Walsh, Adams, Drury, Jones; Alexander, Clarke
Subs not used: Hurst, Essam, Torres, Proctor, Smith, Malins, Maddison
Referee: Trevor Kettle
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