Dagnall is debut hero as Leyton Orient go top
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
League One: Crewe Alexndra 1 Leyton Orient 2
Chris Dagnall’s superb double fired Orient to the top of League One at Crewe Alexandra.
The former Barnsley man came off the bench at half-time and latched onto Dean Cox’s long ball before firing a superb left foot shot into the far corner 14 minutes into his debut.
And the striker finished off Mathieu Baudry’s knockdown to clinch a crucial three points for the O’s.
Alex had taken the lead just after the interval, captain Byron Moore tapping in after Eldin Jakupovic saved Chuks Aneke’s initial shot but it proved in vain for the home side.
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The O’s made once change from the 4-0 win over Carlisle United. Jamie Ness, who scored as a substitute last weekend, starts in place of the injured Marvin Bartley, who has a hamstring problem.
Romain Vincelot started alongside Dagnall on the bench and came on for the final half an hour to play a key part in the victory.
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The game came too soon for top scorer David Mooney, out of action since his red card at the start of December against Walsall which was followed by a foot injury. He could be in line for a return against Coventry City in 10 days time.
Six of Orient’s next eight League One fixtures are at Brisbane Road and the trip to Gresty Road was the perfect opportunity for the O’s to carry on their decent form going into that run of games.
The game also pitted League One’s highest scorers – Orient with 54 – against the division’s leakiest defence – Crewe with 51 – but there was little evidence of those stats until Dagnall’s introduction.
Orient dominated possession but it was Crewe who had the better chances in the opening period.
Jakupovic – who would go on to concede his first goal since his loan move from Hull – saved from Bradden Inman and AJ Leitch-Smith.
Kevin Lisbie was denied by the Railwaymen’s stopper Ben Garratt before Odubajo wasted their best effort, heading wide Dean Cox’s cross.
Odubajo had a decent claim for a penalty waved away just before half-time but both teams started with more urgency in the second period, needing the points for different reasons.
Ness had a shot deflected just over and relegation-threatened Alex soon took the lead.
Baudry dallied on the ball and Aneke nicked the ball off him with Moore picking up the piece after Jakupovic saved the first effort.
Orient were on the rack but a moment of magic from Dagnall turned the game around.
His first goal came out of nothing and he soon doubled his tally, sending the 504 travelling fans into raptures as the visitors continued their superb away record this season.
But there were some nervy late moments, none more so than when Crewe sub Uche Ikpeazu’s shot deflected inches wide of the post in the final minute, before he had another effort deflected just over the crossbar.
Orient: Jakupovic; Cuthbert, Baudry, Clarke, Omozusi; Odubajo, Ness (Vincelot 60), James, Cox; Lisbie, Simpson (Dagnall 45). Substitutes not used: Larkins, Sawyer, Lasimant, Loza, Coulthirst.