Captain Marvel strikes again
FOR the second time in four games full back Stephen Purches fired home a winning goal and emerged as the Orient hero once again, WRITES TREVOR DAVIES. His early strike lifted the O s out of the bottom four as they picked up their first home win for thre
FOR the second time in four games full back Stephen Purches fired home a winning goal and emerged as the Orient hero once again, WRITES TREVOR DAVIES.
His early strike lifted the O's out of the bottom four as they picked up their first home win for three months.
Purches, who scored the decisive goal to halt the MK Dons charge up the table at the end of January, was on target again, as O's claimed a crucial win over fellow relegation rivals Crewe.
Orient had to survive a late blitz by the visitors, who also had an effort from Tom Pope ruled out in the first half, as O's were given the benefit of a tight offside decision.
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It was a perfect start for new Orient manager Geraint Williams, in charge for the first time at home, but he refused to get carried away after the win.
"It was an important game, because we were playing one of the teams around us and we have won the game and stopped them taking anything," he said.
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"But it's only three points and now we have to move on to the next game.
"But the lads were magnificent and showed great honesty and endeavour.
"It was always going to be nerve-racking with only one goal in it, but I thought we defended well and limited them to a few half chances."
In an open game, O's started well and Adam Boyd shot wide early on after some good build-up play, but Crewe should have taken the lead on nine minutes when Shaun Miller headed wastefully wide from six yards following John Brayford's cross.
It was an expensive miss as 60 seconds later Orient were ahead.
Boyd played a delightful ball into the path of the over-lapping Purches, who ran into the area and fired home past John Ruddy.
"I didn't see that finish in training," smiled Williams.
"But scoring early helped us to settle. When your home form has not been great, the earlier you can get in front the better and I think that was an important factor in the victory."
Former O's defender Billy Jones had a shot saved by namesake Jamie Jones, while at the other end new loan signing Scott McGleish tested Ruddy.
O's were forced into a reshuffle when Boyd was replaced by Dean Morgan on 25 minutes and Crewe looked to have levelled 14 minutes before the break when Pope headed in Jones' free-kick, but O's were saved by an offside flag.
Skipper Purches, who missed the after-match celebrations and interviews, because of a random drugs test, almost added a second with a fearsome volley that produced a great save from Ruddy.
Crewe, for so long the football purists, relied heavily on the long ball to cause Orient problems and just before the break Clayton Donaldson shot just wide, as the visitors looked to exploit his pace.
After the break Jason Demetriou, back from international duty, drilled a shot past a post on 66 minutes and then burst clear again 12 minutes from time, but Ruddy came to Crewe's rescue.
O's should have given themselves some breathing space when Morgan's cross from the right found McGleish six yards out, but the striker failed to find a finish. It might have been costly, as 60 seconds later Crewe substitute Byron Moore fired over the bar. However, O's weathered the aerial bombardment and held on.
But Williams warned: "The players will enjoy the fact that we're out of the bottom four, but it doesn't fool anyone, because some teams have got three games in hand on us.