First half goals from Callum Ainley, Ryan Wintle and George Cooper for Crewe Alexandra ended Leyton Orient’s 112 year stay in the Football League as they became the first team to be relegated into the National League at the Alexandra Stadium.
Crewe made 2 changes from last Monday’s 3-0 defeat at Yeovil Town with Cooper in for Jordan Bowery who couldn’t play against his parent club and Wintle replacing captain George Ray, the armband going to former Orient striker Chris Dagnall. Leyton Orient made 1 change from their 2-1 home win against Hartlepool last Monday with midfielder Liam Kelly being replaced by Tom Parkes, Teddy Mezague moving forward into midfield.
The hosts almost took the lead in the second minute when Oliver Turton was played in down the Alex right but his cross beat Dagnall into the centre with the striker about a yard from getting on the end of it. Cooper had the next effort at goal but it was saved by Sam Sargeant in the Orient goal before Dagnall was denied by a challenge from Parkes a minute later from Cooke’s left-wing cross.
The opening goal came on 26 minutes as Zoumana Bakayago was given the freedom of the Alex left to get a cross that was turned in by Ainley via a deflection at the back post. They extended the lead on the half hour as Cooper’s corner was headed home by Wintle despite an attempt to clear it off the line, the goal the first for Wintle in his professional career.
They almost extended the lead with 5 minutes before the break as a Parkes sliding challenge denied Ng his first ever goal for the Railwaymen before Dagnall’s effort was saved by Sargeant. They did get a third in the single minute of stoppage time as Ng released Dagnall down the right with him pulling the ball back for Cooper, whose shot found the bottom corner from just inside the area.
A double change at the break for the visitors saw captain Michael Collins and Mezague replaced by Paul McCallum and Josh Koroma as the O’s went to a back 3, with Parkes taking the armband. The game continued in the same pattern with Aron Pollock blocking a Callum Cooke shot before the Middlesbrough loanee almost turned provider for Dagnall with the experienced man again almost getting on the end of a cross from the left.
Harry Pickering came on for his senior debut just after the hour mark, a reward for his impressive season with Alex Morris’ U23 side, as he replaced Ainley who got a standing ovation from the home support whilst Bakayago was booked for an off-the-ball incident with Tristan Abrahams. After the tempo was slowed down for the final 20 minutes of the game, Abrahams had the first shot from Orient with 10 minutes left on the clock whilst Cooper hit the inside of the post from the corner of the area after Sargeant had made a save from Cooke.
Crewe’s next game is a trip to Plymouth next Saturday whilst Orient host Colchester on the same day. My next game, and final one of the season, will be Crewe’s final home game against Barnet on May 6th (5.30pm kick-off).
Crewe (4-4-2): Garratt; Turton, Ng, Bingham, Bakayago; Ainley (Pickering 63), Jones, Wintle, Cooke (Udoh 87); Dagnall (c), Cooper (Kirk 90)
Booked: Bakayago 72
Leyton Orient (4-4-2): Sargeant; Clark, Pollock, Parkes, Semedo; Collins (c, Koroma 45), Ochieng, Mezague (McCallum 45), Alzate; Adeboyejo (Dalby 74), Abrahams