For the 5,667 traveling to Vale Park today, that game will live long in the memory. Goals from James Wilson, Dennis Politic and Jamie Proctor were enough to see off a spirited Leyton Orient 3-2, in the quintessential game of two halves.
Despite a bright start from the Valiants, a mistake in the backline on four minutes gave the visitors their first opportunity, but Harry Smith’s effort was deflected wide for a corner. The resulting corner was swung across to the back post, striker Smith was unmarked, but he could only put his header into the side netting when a header back across goal was the better option.
But it was Vale that took the lead with their first meaningful attack of the game on six minutes. A surging run in the midfield from Garratt, leaving two midfielders in his wake, the midfielder fired the ball into Wilson, who dropped the ball short to Gibbons down the Vale left. The wing back checked onto his right foot, sending a deep cross beyond the back post, which was met well be Proctor heading back across goal to a unmarked Wilson who planted his header into the roof of the net past Vigouroux.
Vale could have doubled their lead on ten minutes, this time good work down the right freed David Worrall who fired in a cross towards penalty spot. Proctor had done well to lose his marker, heading goalward, but it was just wide of the right upright.
On sixteen minutes, another poor piece of control in the midfield gifted the visitors a chance on goal, Smith running at the Vale back three before laying the ball off to Drinan, but his was a tame effort and Covolan gathered easily.
Minutes later Conlon won the ball in the Vale midfield, firing the ball out to Worrall on the Vale right, the Winger took a touch before sending a raking ball up the right wing. Garrity read it well, beating the left back for pace before firing in a first time effort towards the penalty spot where it was met first time by Proctor, but the striker put to much on it and it flashed wide of the right hand post with the goal at his mercy.
On thirty-two minutes Vale won a free kick, central to the goal, twenty-five yards out after a good run from Wilson was brought to an abrupt end by Beckles who conceded a caution in the process. Conlon stood over it, taking it left footed over the wall, but it was just wide of the left hand post with Vigouroux well beaten. Two minutes later Garrity broke free down the right, chipping a ball into Wilson in the Orient penalty area, the forward with his back to goal, took a touch before taking a snap shot that flew just over the O’s bar into the Bycars stand.
Vale continue to press home their advantage and on forty minutes Jones broke the lines and ran clear down the Vale left before pulling a ball back towards Garrity who struck the ball first time but it was blocked, the ball falling to Worrall who took a touch and shot, but despite the clean strike, it just curled wide of the left hand post.
The second half though was to see a switch in emphasis, the visitors starting much the better. Minutes into the half, Cass was unfortunate to give a corner away, a nudge in the back wasn’t seen as he tried to shepherd the ball out of play. This was the first real chance for Orient to add the ‘big lads’ from the back but Vale defend well and Covolan was able to gather the ball through a gaggle of players.
On fifty-six minutes Vale suffered the first blow of the half as they were forced into a change as Ben Garrity pulled up after an innocuous challenge, Jake Taylor joining the fray. Things went from bad to worse minutes later, a good run through the middle of the Vale midfield released Paul Smyth to run at the Vale defense, sliding a pass through to Smith. The angle was to tight to shoot so the forward looked to pass across goal, the ball deflecting off Jones, wrong footing Covolan as the ball trickled into the Vale goal to make it 1-1.
Orient continued to apply the pressure and as the game entered the final third the visitors secured a free kick from the attacking left. Tom James took it right footed high to the back post, Proctor doing well to head the ball high and Covolan tidied up claiming high above a couple of players.
The visitors must have thought though that they’d secured the three points on eighty-five minutes, a rare poor pass from Conlon sold Gibbons short as James bursts from the midfield, striking a fine effort low across keeper Convolon into the bottom left hand corner giving the keeper no chance.
But Vale were not to be outdone and on ninety-one minutes drew level. Substitute David Amoo did extremely well down the right wing, advancing into the box before standing the left back up and firing a ball towards the penalty spot where it found Politic unmarked, the Bolton loanee might not have touched the ball before this move but you couldn’t tell as he struck the ball crisply past the Vigouroux to make it 2-2.
And Leyton Orient hearts were broken on the ninety-third minute as Vale took the three points. A long diagonal ball from Dan Jones, from within his own half, got the better of the left back Connor Wood, allowing Worrall to win the header and advance into the Orient box, pulling the ball back to Proctor who smashed the ball first time with his right foot, into the left hand top corner to make it 3-2 and send Vale into the promotion spots with an interesting fixture at home to Rochdale in the Papa Johns Trophy this Tuesday.