Crewe Alexandra failed to build upon another rapid start after converted midfielder Matt Tootle gave them a second-minute lead against Leyton Orient, who equalised through former Queens Park Rangers schemer Martin Rowlands before Anthony Griffith was sent-off deep into added time.
The Alex were earlier forced into a late change when Byron Moore was ruled out for personal reasons and replaced by Brendon Daniels. And the full debutant immediately supplied Tootle to blast into the top corner for only his second goal for the club after just 64 seconds.
Goalscorer soon turned provider as Max Clayton was denied by goalkeeper Ryan Allsop while on loan Ryan Brunt headed over in reply. Mark Ellis must then have thought he’d doubled the advantage when heading wide from AJ Leitch-Smith.
But it was the visitors who drew level when Rowlands volleyed in from around 25-yards after a Dean Cox delivery wasn’t properly cleared.
Crewe still ended the opening half pressing forward and after Daniels had an unsuccessful penalty appeal, Leitch-Smith struck an upright from distance before also being denied by a raised flag.
The hosts lost midfielder Abdul Osman into the second-half after a heavy challenge and their visitors were coming more into proceedings. Winger Jimmy Smith shot dangerously over the bar before Alan Martin produced a fine stop to keep out Kevin Lisbie.
Back at the opposite end Tootle and debutant substitute Ryan Colclough both went close before Griffith was dismissed for a second bookable offence following a challenge on Luke Murphy. Ellis and Colclough were then denied in stoppage time as the hosts were forced to settle for a fourth consecutive draw.
Crewe Alexandra: Martin, Mellor, Davis, Ellis, Robertson, Tootle, Murphy, Osman (Turton 56), Daniels (Colclough 77), M. Clayton, Leitch-Smith
subs (unused): Garratt, Guthrie, Ray, H. Clayton
Goals: Tootle (2)
Leyton Orient: Allsopp, Sawyer, Chorley, Clarke, McSweeney, Cox, Griffith, Cook (Odubajo 83), Rowlands (Smith 46), Lisbie, Brunt (Symes 65)
subs (unused): Grainger, Baudry, Laird, Mooney
Goals: Rowlands (19)
|LATEST ON THE VITAL CREWE FORUMS …|