A goal in each half saw Leyton Orient fail to build on their weekend win against Newport County as they went down 2-0 away at promotion chasers Crewe Alexandra.

Charlie Kirk capitalised on a calamitous Sam Sargeant error after just two minutes to put Crewe ahead, but despite a good performance from the visitors, Daniel Powell’s solo effort late on wrapped up the points for the high-flying hosts.

Ross Embleton named an unchanged starting 11 to the side that overcame Newport on Saturday, with the only change to the squad being Josh Coulson’s inclusion on the bench over youngster Jayden Sweeney.

There had been an air of optimism around the Breyer Group Stadium after Embleton picked up his first win in permanent charge of the club on Saturday and that was carried into the game at Gresty Road, especially considering the display Orient had put in against Crewe earlier in the season.

However, all of that was wiped out within two minutes as the O’s gifted Crewe the lead with a terrible goalkeeping error.

Sargeant collected a routine backpass with little danger around him, but as he went to clear he slipped under no pressure at all, allowing Kirk to slip in and slide the ball into an empty net.

Despite the early setback, Orient acquitted themselves well in the first half and provided a good response, going close through Craig Clay on seven minutes when he fired wide from George Marsh’s cross.

Both sides continued to trade blows, with Kirk close to adding his and his side’s second with a powerful effort that was turned away by Sargeant, while Clay also drove just wide of the post from 20 yards.

Ruel Sotiriou, who scored his third of the season at the weekend, was close to adding his fourth on numerous occasions in the opening period, firing over from Jordan Maguire-Drew’s cross and forcing a good save from Crewe stopper Will Jaaskelainen, from which Conor Wilkinson blazed the rebound over.

Orient continued to pepper the Crewe goal after the break and they thought they had found an equaliser when Wilkinson headed past Jaaskelainen, but the referee brought an abrupt end to the celebrations by awarding a free-kick for a foul in the build-up.

The visitors did not let this get to them and it was still them putting on all the pressure, much to the dismay of the home faithful.

Embleton’s desire to find an equaliser showed when he threw on Matt Harrold and Lee Angol in place of Marsh and Ouss Cisse, and Harrold almost snatched a leveller when he flicked on Wilkinson’s effort, but Jaaskelainen was equal to it.

Despite having all the attempts, the bulk of possession and putting on all the pressure, Crewe sealed the points with two minutes remaining when Powell managed to wriggle his way into the box from the right and fire underneath Sargeant.

Orient continued to look for a route back into the game, but the closest they came was when Josh Wright shot over.

Defeat leaves the O’s 20th in League Two, with a trip to bottom side Stevenage their next test. Given how tight the bottom of the table is, success there could potentially see them climb as high as 15th.