Orient come from behind to beat Port Vale
PUBLISHED: 17:54 28 March 2015 | UPDATED: 22:20 28 March 2015
Simon O'Connor Photography
Sky Bet League One: Leyton Orient 3 Port Vale 1
Leyton Orient boosted their League One survival chances by coming from behind to beat 10-man Port Vale.
A late strike from Dean Cox added to David Mooney’s penalty and a Neill Collins own goal in cancelling out Chris Birchall’s earlier strike.
Fabio Liverani made four changes to the side that had lost at Crawley, Mathieu Baudry, Gary Sawyer and Mooney replacing Andrea Dossena, Nathan Clarke and Darius Henderson, while Ryan Hedges made way for Reading loanee Jake Taylor, who joined the O’s on Thursday.
Port Vale made five switches following defeat at Sheffield United in midweek, with Adam Yates and Ben Williamson dropping to the bench in favour of new loan pair Francisco Junior and Collins, while Carl Dickinson, Birchall and Tom Pope came in for Byron Moore, Ryan McGivern and Michael Brown.
The away side started strongly with Port Vale winger Mark Marshall winning his side a corner inside the opening minute of the game with a teasing run down the left flank.
Chris Roberston’s goal-bound header was cleared from danger by Orient’s Luke O’Neill, following the set piece.
Marshall curled in from the flag again two minutes later with the ball again falling to Roberston, but his shot was blocked from range.
The home side weathered the early danger and managed the first shot on goal nine minutes in, but Mooney could only scuff the chance, providing Chris Neal with a simple pick-up.
The Valiant’s number one was on hand to deny Chris Dagnall from a few yards out two minutes later, stealing the ball from the feet of the O’s top-scorer after a delightful left-to-right cross from Marvin Bartley.
Dagnall was stopped again by Neal on 17 minutes, the keeper opting to punch the ball to safety from deep inside his penalty area before the striker could get the ball under control.
O’s keeper Alex Cisak produced a fantastic save to keep the scores level five minutes later, somehow palming away Louis Dodds’s dangerous attempt from 12 yards out.
The away side continued to press, but were denied by Sawyer on the line a minute later from the corner, the resulting free-for-all in the box only resulting in a goal-kick.
But Rob Page’s men got their goal on 28 minutes, Birchall losing his defenders and slotting the ball past Cisak at the far post, after Michael O’Connor’s lofted pass dissected the O’s back four.
Tom Pope had a chance to double the away side’s advantage on 34 minutes as a teasing cross found him in space a few yards from goal, but his header was directed straight at Cisak.
The Port Vale striker almost atoned for his mistake less than 60 seconds later when, following some clever build-up play, his powerful shot seemed to be rolling goalwards under the body of Cisak.
But defender Baudry managed to get back just in time to clear off the line.
The danger seemed to give the home side a new lease of life in the half’s dying minutes, with Mooney firing in a screamer from 25 yards out, only to see the ball punched away by Neal for a corner on 40 minutes.
The ball fell to Dagnall from the resulting set-piece, but the Orient talisman could only fire his attempt wide from close range with four minutes of the first 45 remaining.
Cox very nearly levelled the scores on the stroke of half-time with a powerful rocket of a shot from just inside the Vale box, but could only find the right-hand post.
Goalkeeper Neal saw red on 51 minutes when he brought down Dagnall inside the box with the Orient striker clear on goal.
And Mooney stepped up to slot the ball into the right-hand corner to level the scoring, with substitute keeper Sam Johnson diving in the opposite direction on 54 minutes.
The home side snuck ahead seven minutes later when Port Vale’s Collins made it a debut to forget, toe-poking Sawyer’s cross past his own keeper.
Johnson got his own back on Mooney on 73 minutes when he saved the second penalty taken by the Orient striker, moments after dragging him down inside the box – the referee keeping the cards in his pocket this time.
But Cox sealed three vital points for Orient six minutes from time with a superb individual strike, running through the Port Vale defensive line before firing home from 25 yards.
Victory leaves Orient one point adrift of safety, with a game in hand, heading into their crunch trip to Coventry on Wednesday.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, O’Neill (Clarke 67), Cuthbert, Baudry, Sawyer, Taylor (James 85), Wright, Bartley, Cox, Mooney (Plasmati 77), Dagnall.
Unused subs: Omozusi, James, Henderson, Simpson, Woods.
Port Vale: Neal, Vesili, Robertson, Collins, Dickinson, Birchall (Daniel 69), O’Connor, Junior (Johnson 54), Marshall, Dodds, Pope (Williamson 69).
Unused subs: Yates, McGivern, Coulibaly, Campion.
Referee: Darren Hadley.
Attendance: 5,623 (454 Port Vale).