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Clarke magic does the trick for Crawley
A wonder strike from Billy Clarke earned Crawley their first win in six games at Leyton Orient to keep their play-off hopes alive.
Clarke curled home a delightful shot in the 11th minute to light up an otherwise forgettable game at Brisbane Road.
Crawley had to defend stubbornly in the second half but held on for a hard-fought win thanks to two superb blocks from Joe Walsh.
A terrible pitch could be partly blamed for a scrappy first half lit up by one moment of magic from Clarke to give Reds the lead.
Nothing looked on when the striker picked up a diagonal ball from Mat Sadler on the right-hand side of the box but he turned sharply before curling an unstoppable shot inside the far post.
It was the former Blackpool striker’s 12th goal of the season - and also his tenth in the last 19 games – and was probably his best for the club.
Mike Jones went close to doubling the lead with a looping header that hit the bar from a Nicky Adams cross but otherwise Crawley rarely threatened.
Orient were similarly toothless with Reds keeper Paul Jones called into serious action just once to push a shot from Charlie MacDonald around the post.
Crawley began the second half brightly but Adams wasted a good opportunity on the break by blasting over when Jamie Proctor was well placed.
Orient began to push the visitors back after the introduction of Shaun Batt and Moses Odubajo.
Dean Cox looked certain to score from ten yards only to be denied by a fine sliding block from Joe Walsh while David Mooney put a free header wide.
Walsh came to Crawley’s rescue again to block an effort from Batt with Jones saving a header from Scott Cuthbert from the resulting corner as Reds kept their first clean sheet for seven games.