Date: 7th February 2017 at 9:49pm
Written by:

Morecambe travelled to Leyton Orient on Tuesday evening to fulfil the fixture which was postponed on 21st January due to a frozen pitch. They were also looking to avenge their home defeat to the `O`s` last September and try to reverse their fortunes against the real-life East Enders, against whom they have lost every previous encounter they have ever contested – all three of them so far. Morecambe have well-documented and serious problems off the field with what has been described as an `Italian American businessman` – in the shape of Joseph Cala – apparently poised to take over the club. Brisbane Road, however – where another Italian has been in charge in recent times – is not a place where lots of happy bunnies can be found at the moment either. What might be politely described as `colourful` owner Francesco Becchetti announced during January that he was putting the club up for sale (Shrimps supporters can tell him at least one other foreign `businessman` who he should not sell it to in any circumstances) after bossing a regime which has seen ten managerial changes during the two years he has been in charge. His other contributions to the club`s fortunes – such as hosting a Reality TV show on Albanian telly on which Italian footballers looking to progress or re-start their careers were competing for an Orient contract and forcing the squad to train even though the season had ended because they had been relegated from League One – have not had any obvious success. His relationship with the Managers he has appointed has been worthy of a Soap Opera – as opposed to a Reality TV show – on its own. He was fined £40,000 by the FA and banned from Brisbane Road for six games after aiming a kick at assistant Manager Andy Hessenthaler: a cringeworthy incident as far as `O`s` fans are concerned which has been recorded for everyone to see forever on YouTube. One of his appointees (fellow Italian Alberto Cavasin) was sacked last November having been appointed only seven weeks earlier after having been out of work for five years and dutifully going on to lose eight of the ten league games for which he was in charge: so in a sense, he was kicked out as well. Recent incumbent Andy Edwards was sacked just a week ago to be replaced by Danny Webb whose thankless task is to improve Orient`s dire fortunes. His team started tonight`s game against the Shrimps having lost all of their fixtures – five EFL games – during 2017. Given the on-going and widespread clear-out of even their better players – notably Jay Simpson, Andy Dunne and Jordan Bowery in recent times – this is probably not too surprising. So Morecambe`s chances against a team six places lower at twenty-third and thus a relegation position in the League and a whole seven points behind them having played two games more before kick-off have probably never been better.

After a brisk opening from both sides, the visitors had the first decent chance when Kevin Ellison`s volley was blocked by Myles Judd and then cleared eventually for a corner by the `O`s` defence after eleven minutes. With Orient looking perhaps the most fluent of the two teams, the Shrimps had another chance from a Michael Rose free kick five yards in from the left touchline after 22 minutes but Paul Mullin`s resultant effort ended up on the roof of the Brisbane Road North Stand. Peter Murphy had the ball in the Leyton net after home custodian Sam Sargeant spilled the ball with half an hour played but the referee ruled out a goal for a foul on the goalkeeper. With the home team still playing the more progressive football, Orient had the best chance of the half so far after 36 minutes when – following excellent approach play – Gavin Massey drew a good save from Barry Roche at the expense of a corner from which Tom Parkes eventually unleashed a volley when unmarked which went just wide of the post – he probably should have done better. The Shrimps` goalkeeper almost blotted his copybook from Orient`s next corner, which he dropped almost at Sam Dalby`s feet but the huge Irishman did well to recover and set the visiting team in motion to go straight down the other end where his opposite number caught Mullin`s header relatively easily. With four minutes still scheduled to play in the first half, Aaron Wildig cleverly set-up Ellison for another shot which was well blocked this time by Yvan Erichot. The teams went in all-square but the home team probably had the upper hand on the overall balance of play.

Morecambe started the second half as they had the opening one with the first good chance after forty-eight minutes. Ellison made good progress down the Shrimps` left wing and slung over a peach of a cross which Wildig looped only marginally too high over the bar from the penalty spot with his head. Three minutes later, the visitors had another chance but Lee Molyneux blasted a free kick way over the Leyton crossbar from just outside the penalty area. The hosts had a few half chances after this but the next serious strike on goal came from Molyneux, whose shot after 62 minutes was well saved low down to Sargeant`s right. The home goalie did even better just a minute later to deny Ellison when the Shrimps` forward was played-in for the best chance for the visitors so far. Mullin did well to dispossess an opponent after 69 minutes only for substitute Rhys Turner to waste a golden opportunity to put Morecambe ahead as he poked the cross from the Shrimps` Number Seven just over the bar. As the visitors stepped-up the pressure, Judd came to the rescue with a brilliant block just a minute later to prevent what looked like a certain goal for Wildig. But Mullin got his reward for a committed evening`s work after 72 minutes, sweeping the ball past Sargeant from outside the area with a tremendous left foot shot right up into the corner of the net to put the Lancashire club one-nil up on the night. The visitors kept up the pressure and Ellison tried his luck from a free kick after 77 minutes which curled just over the bar and the game ended with the visitors virtually untroubled by a team which find themselves in real trouble at the wrong end of League Two. Orient have now lost all six of the games they have played this year and must realistically fear the drop into the obscurity of the National League at the end of the season. For Morecambe, this was their sixth unbeaten game on the spin and Jim Bentley must be delighted that – despite all the crippling troubles off the field – he and his players not only were actually paid today but also took all three League points back to the seaside with them tonight.

Leyton Orient: 24 Sam Sargeant; 29 Myles Judd; 37 Yvan Erichot; 6 Tom Parkes; 16 Nicky Hunt (C); 11 Gavin Massey; 15 Nigel Atangana; 7 Michael Collins (Y); 22 Sandro Samedo (Y); 16 Victor Adeboyejo; 30 Sam Dalby (20 Rowan Liburd 77 mins).

Subs not used: 12 Charlie Grainger; 34 Michael Clark; 19 Teddy Mezague; 14 Sammy Moore; 4 Liam Kelly; 28 Josh Koroma.

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 5 Ryan Edwards; 6 Dean Winnard; 16 Alex Whitmore; 8 Peter Murphy; 15 Aaron Wildig (72 mins); 24 Michael Rose (C) (4 Alex Kenyon 75 mins); 7 Paul Mullin (Y)(3 Aaron McGowan (Y) 81 mins); 10 Lee Molyneux (18 Rhys Turner 65 mins); 11 Kevin Ellison; 19 Michael Duckworth.

Subs not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 2 Liam Wakefield; 14 Luke Conlan; 21 Antony Evans.

Ref: John Brooks