Tom James had hammered the O’s ahead after 86 minutes, but Dennis Politic and Jamie Proctor both scored in the dying moments to steal the win for the home side.
Kenny Jackett made two changes to the team that drew with Mansfield last week, with Dan Happe replacing the injured Alex Mitchell and Hector Kyprianou preferred to Craig Clay in central midfield. Elsewhere, Paul Smyth featured for the first time this season since picking up a hamstring injury against Salford City.
Orient’s top scorer Harry Smith had a couple of openings in the first five minutes of the match. The striker’s snap shot from the edge of the area was flicked behind by the head of Lewis Cass, and from the resulting corner – Smith headed wide.
The Vale scored with their first opportunity of the game; Gibbons crossed the ball to Proctor who nodded it across the face of goal to James Wilson, who headed the home side in front after six minutes.
Port Vale quickly had an opportunity to double their lead, but Proctor couldn’t direct his header on target.
Down the other end, Hector Kyprianou linked up well with Harry Smith on the edge of the Vale box, but his subsequent strike was easily saved by Covolan.
The home side grew stronger as the first-half went on and were unfortunate to only take a one goal lead into the break. James Wilson and Tom Conlon both went close for Darrell Clarke’s team before the break, but the O’s managed to get into the break with the game still in reach.
HALF-TIME: Port Vale 1-0 Leyton Orient
Kenny Jackett utilized his bench at the break and opted to replace Theo Archibald with the returning Paul Smyth. The break and substitution massively improved Orient, who equalised on the hour.
Smyth played a cutting ball in between two defenders to find Drinan in the area, who pulled the ball across the face of goal and a deflection off of the sliding Dan Jones took the ball into the back of the net.
Ten minutes later, Drinan found himself in a similar position, and once again, the Irishman looked to pull the ball across the face of goal to Harry Smith, but Covolan was alert to the danger and jumped on top of the ball.
Orient ‘keeper Lawrence Vigouroux was on hand to deny Vale sub David Amoo, who had wriggled free in the area. The 30-year-old beat his man and pulled the trigger, but Vigouroux dived to his left to prevent the ball creeping in at his near post.
The save looked even more important six minutes later, when Tom James opened his Orient goal scoring account. The right-back intercepted the ball 30-yards from goal, took a touch to get the ball out of his feet and unleashed a fierce low drive into the bottom corner to seemingly steal all three points.
Immediately after conceding, Clarke replaced Gibbons with debutant and Bolton loanee, Dennis Politic, who scored with more-or-less his first touch of the ball. Amoo pulled the ball back to the Romanian who was able to wrap his shot around the onrushing Omar Beckles and into the top corner of the net.
Vale Park was rocking following the equaliser and the home side used the atmosphere and momentum to snatch a winner in the 93rd minute. David Worrall was the provider this time, dragging back a very similar ball to the one seconds earlier, though this one fell to Jamie Proctor who hammered home first-time to break Orient hearts.
Vale: Covolan, Gibbons (Politic 87’), Jones, Smith, Worrall, Garrity (Taylor 57’), Wilson (Amoo 66’), Conlon, Proctor, Pett, Cass
Bench: Stone, Benning, Johnson, Lloyd
Goals: Wilson 7’ Politic 90+1’ Proctor 90+3’
Booked: Taylor 88’
Orient: Vigouroux, James, Ogie, Beckles, Happe, Wood, Kyprianou, Pratley, Smith, Archibald (Smyth 46’), Drinan (Clay 76’)
Bench: Byrne, Kemp, Sotiriou, Young, Papadopoulos
Goals: Jones OG 60’ James 86’
Booked: Kyprianou 28’ Beckles 32’ Ogie 38’ James 74’
Ref: Christopher Sarginson
Attendance: 5,667 (356)