13 March 2014

GUEST POST! Port Vale 0 Leyton Orient 2, 11/3/14

I tried to get to this game by boat, until it turned out there is no port in Port Vale - let alone a vale. But don't worry, because Andy Brown - Orient blogger for WAGU and The Two Unfortunates - had no such transport issues and gave this account of the game...

Jakupovic, Cuthbert and Clarke
A game which... witnessed a sight rarer than Lord Lucan riding Shergar (no, not an Os away win, we’ve been spoilt with those this season, making up for almost the entire 90s), but a goal for our very own northern rock Nathan Clarke. It brought his Os career tally to a magnificent  1 in 70 matches.

A frenetic end-to-end contest on an expansive pitch also featured a moment of class from Mooney, Moses and Cox, combined with the kind of staunch defensive rear guard action that would have kept the Guns of Navarone out, never mind the best efforts of Vale’s Pope and Loft.

The Os looked slick, but after the break Vale had two goals disallowed. In both cases the officials called it early but it spurred Vale on as Myrie-Williams, Loft and Pope were a constant threat, but brilliant goalkeeping, defending and a Clarke header settled it to make it 22 wins for the season and the perfect lead into the crunch clash with Brentford.

Moment of magic... Despite Dean Cox’s sublime finish it needs to go to Lloyd James’ point blank defensive header off the line. It kept the one-goal lead at a time when Orient were under significant pressure and typified the courageous and steely determination displayed by the Orient backline all game.

Moment of madness... In the closing stages, Chris Dagnall burst through with only the keeper to beat but bizarrely scuffed his shot wide. It would have allowed all Os fans to breathe easily rather than endure a stressful end to the game, even though Dagnall’s effort couldn’t be faulted. As one fan described it: “He’s worked hard all game, but if it had been 0-0, I would have gone on the pitch and punched him.”

Top gun... Eldin Jakupovic made numerous brilliant saves, which is becoming the norm for the big Bosnian (and prompting a surge in Bosnian flag sales which should be in evidence on Saturday). However, notable mentions for Clarke, Omozusi, Cuthbert and a massively improved Sawyer who worked tirelessly to keep a very quick, fit and determined Port Vale at bay.

Don't let the sad eyes fool you
Little donkey(s)... Boomer the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Port Vale’s mascot, who's about as friendly as the “Home Fans only” pubs. He started off the “banter” by urinating on both of Orient’s goalposts before having a pop at fans. Good to see the novelty buffoon head in paws at the end!

In the dugout... Slade rarely gets it wrong these days, and set up to take advantage of the width on a decent pitch. Mooney provided intelligence and spark up front and the Os' attack looked purposeful all game. The only forced change was Bartley for Vincelot, while Batt’s arrival for Mooney on 73 provided something different as it always does, and the leggy forward stretched Vale in the closing stages.

View from the opposition... Port Vale manager Micky Adams was pretty much spot on with his observations: "We just didn't have the luck in front of goal that you need from time to time, and their keeper played particularly well, especially in the second half. We are disappointed to come away with nothing, but we have given them a good game."

Tweet of the week.... According to Joe de Freitas, our very own Battman fancies himself as Andy Warhol. Make your own mind up…

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