The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Ben Cold­well

CRAW­LEY in­terim manager Dean Saun­ders is tar­get­ing 50 points for sur­vival af­ter Izale McLeod’s penalty saw them tri­umph in a cru­cial rel­e­ga­tion face-off.

Af­ter an ex­hil­a­rat­ing first-half, in which McLeod con­verted from the spot, Ori­ent piled on the pres­sure, but the Red Devils stood strong to se­cure a third win in three.

The win sees Craw­ley move out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone for the first time since their 4-1 loss at Ori­ent in De­cem­ber. How­ever, it leaves the O’s three points from safety with just one win in their last five.

Saun­ders said: “It’s a good win against a good team. I don’t think they’ll be in the bot­tom four at the end of the sea­son, so it was a big win for us.

“It also caused them a bit of dam­age and that sort of re­sult can dam­age their morale.

“All the de­fend­ers I thought played re­ally well. The keeper made some good saves but had to go off at half­time through con­cus­sion.

“I don’t look at the ta­ble, I’m just aim­ing for 50 points. That’s 43.

“With all the fix­tures, teams are nor­mally there tak­ing points off each other.”

Both sides came out of the blocks quickly and Craw­ley be­gan to build early pres­sure, but it was Ori­ent who had the best of the early ef­forts.

First, Chris Dag­nall found space on the right, but Lewis Price was equal to his pow­er­ful ef­fort, be­fore he tipped over a rasp­ing drive from Dean Cox.

Just af­ter the half-hour, Craw­ley’s pres­sure paid off as McLeod clev­erly drew a foul from Luke O’Neill in­side the area, and the for­mer MK Dons man coolly sent Alex Cisak the wrong way to score his 17th goal of the sea­son.

Craw­ley were sub­jected to con­stant sec­ond-half pres­sure, to the dis­may of an in­creas­ingly rest­less crowd.

For­mer Burn­ley stal­wart Brian Jensen, brought on at half-time in place of a con­cussed Price, was swiftly called into ac­tion, turn­ing Marvin Bart­ley’s ef­fort from dis­tance round the post.

Ori­ent piled on the pres­sure, and the 39-year-old Dane was the hero in the 89th minute, sav­ing from both sub­sti­tute David Mooney and Ryan Hedges.

Ori­ent boss Fabio Liverani was dis­ap­pointed to lose af­ter dom­i­nat­ing much of the game, par­tic­u­larly lament­ing the foul on McLeod.

He said: “It’s a shame we haven’t made points, but in the league ta­ble we’re all within very few points be­cause the other teams lost. So, noth­ing much has changed.

“Last week against Barns­ley we de­served to win.

“Here, un­til the penalty, I think we dom­i­nated.We cre­ated many chances but un­for­tu­nately we gifted away a penalty.

“If you look at the whole match, we cre­ated more chances than them. We had chances in the sec­ond half, too, but we just couldn’t score.

“I can as­sure our sup­port­ers that the team will fight to the last game to avoid rel­e­ga­tion.”

PIC­TURES: Simon O'Con­nor/ TGS Photo

SPOT ON: Craw­ley’s Izale McLeod scores his penalty

HAND­BAGS: Marvin Bart­ley and An­thony Wordsworth


N WARD Crawle


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