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Crawley come from behind to stun leaders
Crawley Town ended a run of nine games without a win in League One as they came from behind to stun leaders Leyton Orient 3-2 at Brisbane Road.
Moses Odubajo had given Orient the lead after 14 minutes but Reds hit back through Gary Alexander and Andy Drury before the break.
Nicky Adams extended Crawley’s lead in the 76th minute with a superb chip and although substitute Marvin Bartley pulled one back with five minutes to go the visitors were able to hang on.
It was also Crawley’s first win under new boss John Gregory and lifted them to 12th in League One.
Gregory made two changes to the side from the abandoned match against Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup in midweek.
Mike Jones returned to the starting line-up for the first time in four weeks after recovering from a groin injury while Gary Alexander was recalled up front. Emile Sinclair was not even in the squad due to injury while Jamie Proctor dropped to the bench meaning Billy Clarke moved from left midfield to attack.
Orient suffered a blow before kick-off with former Albion winger Dean Cox ruled out through illness but 12-goal striker Kevin Lisbie was fit enough to start following an ankle injury.
The weather was similar, if not quite so extreme as against Rovers, with a swirling wind and persistent rain making it difficult for both teams.
Orient keeper Jamie Jones was almost embarrassed early on when he came for a Nicky Adams free kick only to see it soar over his head and just wide.
Clarke also had a low shot touched wide from distance by Jones while at the other end Shaun Batt’s scuffed an effort straight at Paul Jones.
Orient took the lead in the 14th minute thanks to some lax defending. Mark Connolly had a chance to clear as Lisbie surged forward but instead put the ball past Joe Walsh and into the path of Odubajo who shot through the legs of Paul Jones.
Reds were struggling to create much against a well-organised Orient side but equalised in the 36th minute. Connolly floated a cross to the far post and the unmarked Alexander planted his header back across goal and past Jones.
The goal lifted Reds and they nearly went ahead when a corner from Adams had to be clawed away by Jones from under his crossbar.
The visitors did take the lead a couple of minutes before the interval. Connolly was heavily involved again as his shot hit Lloyd James on the arm inside the area and although Alexander’s penalty hit a post, Drury was on hand to slot home the rebound.
Crawley had a couple of chances to extend their lead in a frenetic start to the second half. A shot from Alexander on the end of the area deflected just wide off a defender and then the Reds striker was unable to convert a low cross from Adams when unmarked at the far post.
The visitors did give themselves a two-goal cushion with 14 minutes to go when Adams picked up the ball 30 yards out before running through and sending a delightful chip past Jones and into the top corner.
Reds were rampant now and thought they had a fourth when Clarke beat the offside trap to chip Jones only for Nathan Clarke to get back and clear the ball off the line.
Instead of being able to relax, Crawley had to hold on for the last five minutes after Bartley bundled home from close range after Reds failed to clear a long free kick.
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