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Orient boss Russell Slade admitted Crawley were the better team as his side lost in League One for just the third time this season.

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A goal from former O’s striker Gary Alexander helped the Reds come from behind at Brisbane Road to win 3-2 - but the home side stay top on goal difference courtesy of Wolves’ draw at Rotherham.

“Crawley seem to have it over us at the moment. They were better than us but hopefully we’ll bounce back,” Slade said. “Mistakes cost us and they grew into the game.

“Some of the defending was really bad and we should have done better.

“It’s a disappointing result after a half decent start.”

Orient took an early lead through Moses Odubajo’s composed finish but Alexander equalised with a header from Mark Connolly’s cross after the half hour mark.

Alexander had the chance to double his tally minutes later when Lloyd James blocked Connolly’s shot with his hand.

The striker fired the spot kick against the post but Andy Drury slotted in the rebound.

Nicky Adams’ sublime chip gave Crawley breathing space with 15 minutes remaining as the hosts chased the game.

Sub Marvin Bartley scrambled home late on to give Orient hope but they couldn’t salvage a point.

Slade described the period after Alexander’s equaliser as the “worst we’ve played this season.”

He admitted they missed Dean Cox, who pulled out on the morning of the match with illness, and the suspended Elliott Omozusi, as the squad was stretched with striker David Mooney still suspended.

“Losing Cox four hours before the game was a blow,” Slade said.

“Our left side was decimated and we weren’t quite the same force, no disrespect to the boys who came in.”

Orient travel to Gillingham on Boxing Day before a promotion showdown with Wolves three days later.

It’s now four League One games without a win but Slade insists they’re not concentrating on the results of their promotion rivals as the O’s look to regain some momentum.

He said: “Gillingham will be a tough game. There are no easy games in this league and they’re doing well under Peter Taylor.

“Anyway, you can’t just walk out and win a game.

“We’re not concentrating on what Wolves are doing. Every game is important and we want to get some momentum and consistency. We seem to have lost it a bit at the moment.”

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