David Amoo’s sweet strike with just 20 minutes to go ensured Port Vale picked up all three points with a 1-0 win at home to Leyton Orient.
It’s a result that allows the Burslem based club to move within just three points off the final playoff spot in the Sky Bet League Two table thanks to Cheltenham Town losing 1-0 at Crewe Alexandra.
Manager John Askey made two changes to the side that lost at Morecambe in midweek. Tom Conlon and Tom Pope made way for Will Atkinson and Mark Cullen.
It was Atkinson who had the first chance of the game inside 30 seconds when Amoo was able to cut the ball back to Atkinson. He shrugged off his man, but could only put his effort straight at Sam Sargeant.
David Worrell also went close in the opening five minutes when Cullen was able to keep the ball in play and pick out the winger. However, his header fell just wide of the post.
While at the other end, goalkeeper Scott Brown had to be on top form to make a fine save with his feet to deny Josh Wright from opening the scoring after Cristian Montano was shrugged off the ball.
Leon Legge could have given the Vale a half-time lead when a quick free-kick found him at the back post. However, his effort was gathered comfortably by Sargeant as the two teams went into the break level.
Leyton Orient thought they had taken the lead just five minutes into the second half when James Gibbons had to be on hand to head the ball off the line after George Marsh’s shot beat the dive of Brown.
Marsh was then fortunate not to be sent off just before the hour mark when he clattered into Montano on the halfway. It left the wing-back needing treatment and later on would be brought off for Rhys Browne, while Marsh picked up just a booking.
Cullen had a decent game up front on his own but, he would be left wondering how he didn’t score on 65 minutes when Worrell did well to shrug off the defender before allowing the ball to run to the former Luton Town forward, sadly for him the shot was blocked by Sargeant.
The deadlock was finally broken on 71 minutes when the visitors failed to clear a corner properly which, Luke Joyce crossed the ball into the area for Legge flicked the ball onto Amoo. The former Liverpool youth team player took one touch to steady himself before letting fly across the face of the goal.
Pope was brought on for Cullen with 10 minutes to go and, he almost ensured the three points were safe when Amoo crossed the ball to him. However, the Vale’s record goalscorer in the post-war era put his header straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.
The Vale had to ride out the Orient storm as they looked for an equaliser with Brown been called into action on several occasions to deny them and prove why he is one of the best keepers in league two.
It was a vital victory for the Vale as they keep pace with those teams in the playoff places, Askey’s men are back on the road next Saturday as they visit the league leaders Swindon Town next Saturday before welcoming 2nd place Exeter City to Vale Park on the following Tuesday night.
After the game, I spoke to Port Vale manager John Askey to get his thoughts on the game.
Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Legge, Smith, Montano (Browne, 82), Amoo, Joyce, Atkinson (Conlon, 80), Burgess, Worrell and Cullen (Pope, 80).
Unused Subs: Evans, Bennett, Brisley and Maddison.
Leyton Orient: Sargent, Judd (Clay, 66), Coulson, Happe, Brophy, Wilkinson, Maguire-Drew, Marsh, Kyprianou (Cisse, 66), Angol (Harrold, 78) and Wright.
Unused Subs: Vigouroux, Drayton, Sotiriou and Ekpiteta.