Crawley were forced to settle for a point against a spirited Leyton Orient side this evening. Tom Nichols missed a penalty in the opening minute before Orient were reduced to ten men after Hector Kyprianou went in dangerously on Josh Wright.
The Reds started the game with electrifying pace and found themselves with a penalty inside the opening minute. Ashley Nadesan curled a dangerous looking ball into the Leyton Orient penalty area, Jack Powell looked destined to meet the cross but was thrown to the floor by an Orient defender. Kevin Johnson had no choice but to point to the spot, Tom Nichols stepped up from 12-yards and sent the ball crashing into the crossbar to deny the Reds an early lead.
Conor Wilkinson started brightly for Orient on the right flank, the winger going close twice in the opening exchanges. First striding past Dallison before blasting into the side netting, then from a set-piece around 25-yards from goal, Glenn Morris handling well on the slippery surface.
Leyton Orient did have the ball in the net in the 24th minute, luckily for the Reds, it was disallowed by Kevin Johnson. Wilkinson rose highest to nod a cross past Morris but was deemed to have unfairly challenged Jordan Tunnicliffe in the process.
Orient were starting to assert a firm grip on the game as James Brophy almost provided the opening goal for the visitors. Brophy was fed down the left following a quick free-kick routine and proceeded to flash the ball across the face of goal, no one in a black shirt on hand to convert.
Just as the visitors began to control the first period they were reduced to ten men. Hector Kyprianou flew into a tackle with Josh Wright, sending the former Orient man into the air in a considerable amount of pain. Kyprianou was shown a straight red card by Johnson, the midfielder's complaints falling on deaf ears.
The Reds started the second half with real menace and almost took the lead once again in the opening minute. Dallison found space on the left wing before cutting onto his weaker right foot and delivering low into the box, the cross only just evading Hessenthaler at the far post.
Crawley started to assert their dominance with the one-man advantage, James Tilley and Archie Davies were introduced ten minutes into the second half. Davies looked to cause a threat almost instantly as his cross was spilt by Lawrence Vigouroux, the Orient keeper just able to scoop up on the second attempt.
The Reds then survived a real scare as Craig Clay and Dan Kemp both went close in quick succession. Tristan Abrahams getting the better of George Francomb and squaring to Clay whose shot took a deflection which required Glenn Morris to make a fabulous reflex save before Kemp’s effort was blocked by Tunnicliffe.
Morris was then forced to make a superb save down to his right-hand side. Nick Freeman volleyed towards goal from the edge of the box following an Orient corner, the ball looked destined to reach to the bottom corner but somehow the Cat was able to outstretch a hand and tip round his post.
Crawley were straight back on the attack as Tom Nichols went close to giving the Reds the lead. Jack Powell picked out Archie Davies with a delightful ball which cut through several Orient men, Davies cut the ball back to Nichols who fired into the side netting.
The Reds threw everything at the visitors in the closing ten minutes, with Joe McNerney heading just wide at the back post after good work from James Tilley to bring down Powell’s cross-field pass.
More great play from Crawley as George Francomb and Archie Davies linked up well again on the right flank, Francomb crossing Davies' return ball onto the head of McNerney whose effort flew just wide.
The Reds threw everything but the kitchen sink at Leyton Orient as Davide Rodari headed over with the last action of the game. A resilient Orient side will walk away from The People’s Pension Stadium very happy with a point.
REDS XI: Morris, Francomb, Dallison (Davies 55’), Powell, Nadesan, Nichols, Tunnicliffe (McNerney 63’), Matthews (Tilley 55’), Craig, Hessenthaler (Rodari 82’), Wright.