Despite dominating the second half, the Valiants fell to their fifth consecutive league defeat after an entertaining game at Vale Park. Notwithstanding the five changes to the starting eleven, it was the same defensive frailties that led to Vale recording the worst form in League Two.
Indeed, Vale started the game brightly and as early as the third minute put the Orient defence under pressure. A great cross field ball from David Fitzpatrick found David Amoo on the right, the winger getting to the by-line and pulling the ball back to Mitchell Clark who fizzed a ball across the box. Devante Rodney did well to control and drop the ball to an unmarked Tom Conlon who struck first time, the ball glancing the bar as it flew into the Hamil Road Stand.
The pressure continued though on eight minutes, Vale wining the first corner of the game as a result of a deflection of a David Worrall effort on goal. Worrall took the resulting corner, sending it high to the back post, Leon Legge raising well above his defender to head down and put Vale 1-0 up.
But Vales lead was short lived, as Orient struck back immediately. Jobi McAnuff sending a corner from the attacking left, headed clear by Tom Conlon. The ball eventually found its way to Josh Coulson who crossed from the right, Danny Johnson peeling off the back of Nathan Smith to glance his head into the roof of the net to make it 1-1,
Vale’s poor run of luck was no better summed up on the thirty one minutes as Leyton Orient took the lead, Louis Dennis picking up the ball thirty-five yards out, taking a speculative effort that only managed to cannon into Johnson twelve yards from goal. Johnson brought the ball under control but a fine tackle from Smith may have averted the danger, but his clearance only cannoned into Fitzpatrick and towards the Vale goal. Legge managed to recover to block the ball from crossing the line but Conor Wilkinson had followed up and side footed into the empty net to give the visitors the lead.
Vale tried to react and on forty-four minutes, Montano picked up the ball in centre field and drove at the Orient defence, twisting and turning, he created himself an excellent opportunity but just at the pivotal moment, he slipped, and his effort flew wide of the left upright.
Vale started the second half much the same as the first, firmly on the front foot, winning a series of corners and also having a solid penalty shout turned down, Manny Oyeleke seemingly held back in the box as he ran at the Orient defence but the appeals were waved away by referee Peter Wright.
Continued pressure through the form of eleven corners and fifty-eight percent possession finally paid off, Cristian Montano seemingly making something out of nothing. Oyeleke opted to square a free kick across the halfway line to the left back when many would have expected the ball to be launched in the area. The Wingback strode deep into the Orient half, dancing past Hector Kyprianou, before getting to the edge of the box and striking a twenty-five-yard effort into the top right hand corner giving Lawrence Vigouroux no chance on the Orient goal.
But just as on lookers expected to Vale to push for the winner it was Orient that stole the points on eighty-three minutes. The corner was swung in from the attacking right, Coulson heading back across goal only for Tom Pope to head clear. A coming together of Smith and Worrall meant a second clearing header only traveled as far as a red shirt and the ball somehow founding Coulson who hung a cross to the back post where James Brophy controlled and then side footed the ball in vale net despite the best efforts of Scott Brown.
In previous weeks, Vale have seemingly got what they deserved, but after todays performance, it would be hard to begrudge the team at least a point and Manager Askey will be thankful of a quiet week to drew the squad together looking forward to Saturday’s trip to Bolton.
Mike Stubbs – Full Time Match Report