Leyton Orient boost promotion bid with Port Vale win

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Dean Cox hit a superb opener for the O's at Port Vale: Simon O'Connor Dean Cox hit a superb opener for the O's at Port Vale: Simon O'Connor

Leyton Orient strengthened their automatic promotion hopes after a 2-0 win at Port Vale in League 1 this evening.

Russell Slade's side grabbed the opening goal four minutes before half-time when Dean Cox struck a superb effort into the net for his 12th goal of the season.

Orient extended their lead in the second half when Nathan Clarke headed home his first goal for the side.

Port Vale produced a spirited response and twice had a goal ruled out but Orient held on to clinch their first win at Vale Park for 57 years. 

The O's made one change with David Mooney returning from his rib injury to replace Kevin Lisbie in the side. But French defender Mathieu Baudry remained sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Port Vale made a bright start and Jennison Myrie Williams sent in a cross which Eldin Jakupovic could only punch into the path of Ben Williamson. But he dragged his effort wide of the O's goal. 

Romain Vincelot was injured in a tackle with former Orient midfielder Anthony Griffith. The Frenchman was unable to carry on and Marvin Bartley was introduced early from off the bench. 

Orient created their first opportunity midway through the half when Mooney laid the ball off to Cox but the winger's shot hit the side netting. 

The visitors had a chance when the ball was knocked back to Lloyd James but the midfielder's half-volley was easily saved by Chris Neal. 

Orient opened the scoring, four minutes before the break, with the first decent move of the match. Mooney played the ball to Moses Odubajo and he set up Cox for a stunning strike which went in off the bar. 

Tom Pope had a late chance in the half for the hosts but his acrobatic overhead kick flew over the bar. 

A mistake from Carl Dickinson, at the start of the second half, let in Chris Dagnall but the striker's touch was too heavy after rounding the keeper and the ball went out of play. 

The O's were indebted to James after he blocked Doug Loft's header on the line when an equaliser looked a certainty. 

James then went on the offensive and sent in a teasing cross but Dagnall was unable to direct his effort on target. 

Orient doubled their lead after 58 minutes when captain Clarke headed home his first goal for the club.

Port Vale nearly responded immediately through Chris Birchall but his effort was crucially saved by Jakupovic. 

Williamson fired the ball into the net but his effort was ruled out for offside. Vale kept up the pressure and substitute Billy Knott curled an effort against the bar.

The hosts were knocking furiously at the door and were enraged when Pope's shot went into the net but the referee blew ruled it out for a foul on Clarke.

The visitors made their second change when Shaun Batt was brought on in the final 20 minutes in place of Mooney.

Port Vale continued to push for a deserved goal but Myrie Williams' free-kick was palmed away by Jakupovic. 

Dagnall should have killed off the game on the break but the striker miss-kicked and his shot flew harmlessly wide. 

Slade made his final change of the game late on when Robbie Simpson was brought on.

Port Vale had one late chance through Loft but his fierce strike was saved by the excellent Jakupovic as the O's clicnhed their 22nd win of the season. 

Port Vale: Neal; Dickinson, Duffy, Robertson, Yates; Myrie Williams (Hugill, 84), Loft, Griffith (Lines, 61), Birchall (Knott, 61); Pope, Williamson

Subs not used: Johnson, Jones, Dodds, Grimmer

Leyton Orient: Jakupovic; Sawyer, Cuthbert, Clarke, Omozusi; Cox, James, Vincelot (Bartley, 20), Odubajo; Mooney (Batt, 73), Dagnall (Simpson, 87)

Subs not used: Lisbie, Larkins, Lasimant, Ness

Referee: J Simpson 

Attendance: 4,235 (224)

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