A late strike from James Jones condemned Leyton Orient to a 2-1 defeat at home to Crewe Alexandra in League Two.

Eddie Nolan’s opener had given Crewe the lead before Jordan Maguire-Drew’s response, but he then proceeded to miss from the penalty spot in the second half before Jones’ late winner.

Ross Embleton named the same starting 11 that featured in the 2-2 draw against Exeter City at the weekend, with young Tottenham Hotspur loanee George Marsh retaining his place in the team while Dan Happe returned to the bench after missing out on Saturday.

Orient will have felt they were the better side for large periods at the weekend and they started in a similar vein in this game. They looked lively early on and Lee Angol perhaps should have done better with an effort after only a minute when he powered into the box but drove his shot wide at the near post.

Sam Ling then got himself into a good position after an excellent touch from Josh Coulson’s cross-field ball, but should have shot rather than passing inside, and Dale Gorman also had an effort in the early stages but dragged it wide of the goal.

The O’s were then forced into an early substitution though as Angol, who had taken a knock earlier on in the game, went down again with the ball out of play – he was subsequently replaced by Conor Wilkinson.

For all of Orient’s early pressure, it was Crewe who came the closest to breaking the deadlock. Perry Ng played a delightful ball over the top for Daniel Powell, which was perhaps helped on by the arm of Dale Gorman, but the winger got too far underneath his strike and poked it onto the crossbar.

In an immediate response though, visiting keeper Will Jaaskeleinen was forced into his first save of the night when Louis Dennis, who scored his first goal for the club at the weekend, tricked his way onto his left foot and aimed for the bottom corner, but saw the shot well smothered by the keeper.

Crewe went one better with their reply though, and found the net after 32 minutes when a ball in from the right was flicked on by Powell, and Eddie Nolan claimed the final touch to put the away side ahead.

Orient weren’t behind for long though as a horror show at the back from Crewe gifted them an equaliser. A sloppy ball from Harry Pickering was intercepted by Maguire-Drew, and with Jaaskeleinen out of his goal, the O’s man dinked in his second in as many games at the Breyer Group Stadium.

Crewe would go on to create the first real chance of the second half when substitute Owen Dale shot over, but the O’s had the best chance when Josh Wright was tripped in the penalty area.

Maguire-Drew stepped up, however his effort was nowhere near the corner, and Jaaskeleinen managed to hold the penalty to keep it all square.

After a frantic end to the first half and the same for the start of the second, the game settled back down following the penalty miss, but Crewe will be stumped as to how they didn’t regain the lead.

Firstly, Jones saw Brill keep him out at point-blank range, and the O’s stopper was at it again seconds later, somehow tipping Chris Porter’s one-on-one effort onto the post.

However, there was nothing Brill could do to stop Crewe’s winner two minutes from time. Dale beat Sam Ling for pace down the left and crossed, Marvin Ekpiteta’s clearance fell for Jones, and he rattled home first time to send all three points back to Cheshire.

Orient hit the road again this weekend in a bid to get back to winning ways, travelling to Colchester United on Saturday afternoon.

Orient team: Brill; Ling, Ekpiteta, Coulson, Widdowson; Gorman, Wright, Marsh; Maguire-Drew, Angol, Dennis

Subs: Sargeant, Clay, Wilkinson, Judd, Happe, Harrold, Alabi