ORIENT’S long unbeaten run on their travels came to an end with a day to forget after a 3-0 defeat at Vale Park. Darius Henderson’s first half red card put Orient on the back foot for the majority of the game and despite working hard for long periods, the O’s were put to bed by a flurry of three second half goals.
With further injuries plaguing his squad, Kevin Nugent was forced into once more shuffling his pack at Vale Park. Suspended duo Mathieu Baudry and Nathan Clarke returned with Baudry taking the place of injured Jack Price in midfield. Romain Vincelot was still missing for the O’s with a knee problem, though Nugent was boosted by the return of Dean Cox who took up a place on the subs bench.
It was wet and windy at Vale Park but the O’s came flying out of the blocks winning a corner in the first 15 seconds before Dagnall had a shot well saved by Chris Neale.
As the sun came out, so did the home side who weathered the early Orient storm and pushed Orient back towards their own goal.
There was not much to write home about before the game sparked into life on the 30 minute mark. First of all the O’s were indebted to Gary Woods who got down low to deny Ryan McGivern before then pushing an effort from Chris Lines against the post.
The main talking point came two minutes later when Darius Henderson was shown a straight red card for an alleged elbow against Richard Duffy. Orient were far from happy with the decision as referee Lee Collins wasted no time in brandishing the card and the striker trudged off.
Vale heaped the pressure on the O’s who stuck to a 4-4-1 shape with 10 men with Dagnall working hard to try and make the ball stick up front but the home side would have been disappointed they didn’t have the lead heading into the interval especially after Jordan Slew had a shot blocked on the line by McAnuff and then the had the ball in the net after Slew then headed home but the flag was up for offside.
The home side made two changes at the break as they attempted to turn the heat up on the O’s whilst Nugent stuck with the same 10 that finished the first half though Simpson was moved into a more central role to support Dagnall in more of a 4-3-1-1 formation.
Like the first half, Orient started well and forced back to back corners as Nathan Clarke, who scored here last season, had a volley deflected wide from distance before Shane Lowry was next to go close also with a volley from a corner.
The O’s work rate was impressive in the early stages as the midfield worked well as a unit with Baudry breaking up the play in front of the back four.
Vale weathered the Orient storm though and broke the deadlock just after the hour mark. Mark Marshall had looked a thread down the Vale right and he did well to cut in and lay the ball off for Adam Yates who smashed the ball past Woods into the top corner from 16 yards.
Nugent turned to Cox and Pritchard to turn the tide but they had barely had time to draw breath before the O’s fell further behind when Ben Williamson found space and bundled into the box before firing past Woods to make it 2-0.
The second was a sucker punch to the O’s though Cox refused to give up the chase as he looked bright on his return and forced a couple of corners, whilst the back four continued to throw themselves in front of Vale shots.
It would get worse for the O’s with 10 minutes to go when sub Dany N’Guessan challenged for a Michael O’Connor free-kick with the ball looping past Woods off what looked like the shin of Clarke.
Port Vale: Neal, Yates, Dickinson (Streete 45), McGivern, Duffy, Birchall, Williamson, Lines, O’Connor, Marshall (Dodds 86), Slew (N’Guessan 45)
Subs: Johnson, Dodds, Daniel, Brown, Veseli,
Goals: Yates 63, Williamson 66, Clarke OG 79
Bookings: Dickinson 42. Birchall 82
ORIENT: Woods, Omozusi, Cuthbert, Baudry, McAnuff (Pritchard 64), Lowry, Clarke (C), Bartley, Dagnall (Batt 76), Henderson, Simpson (Cox 64)
Subs: Lee, Kashket, Grainger, Ling
Bookings: Bartley 47, Clarke 90
Red: Henderson 31