Andy Hessenthaler’s Leyton Orient see off Morecambe after delivering best showing of the season at Globe Arena
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Morecambe 1 Leyton Orient 2
Leyton Orient delivered their best performance of the season to beat Morecambe and knock them off the top of the League Two table.
Goals from Liam Kelly and Jordan Bowery cancelled out Kevin Ellison’s excellent strike in an entertaining clash at Globe Arena.
Andy Hessenthaler would have been delighted with the work rate of his team and how they defended.
Without Dean Cox after he left the club by mutual consent on Thursday, the O’s provided their supporters with an excellent showing and all three points in Lancashire.
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Four changes were made to the starting team from Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Stevenage in the English Football League Trophy.
Alex Cisak, Yvan Erichot, Kelly and Gavin Massey all started the match at Globe Arena.
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Sam Sargeant, Aron Pollock and Sandro Semedo dropped to the bench while Nigel Atangana missed out completely with a tight groin.
Despite remaining at the club after the close of the transfer window, there was no place for Jay Simpson in the O’s squad.
The Orient striker wasn’t with the rest of his team-mates in Lancashire due to his ongoing ‘back’ problem.
Without Simpson, Hessenthaler included numerous youngsters on the bench with Josh Koroma and Myles Judd alongside Sargeant, Pollock and Semedo.
Ulrich Nnomo, who moved to the east Londoners on transfer deadline day, was also included among the replacements.
Orient made a bright start at Globe Arena, pushing for an opener and being first to almost every ball in the opening five minutes.
But the Shrimps showed in the eighth minute why they are top of the League Two table with a good move.
Andrew Fleming picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and played in Cole Stockton, but he fired just past the post from 10-yards.
The game become more even after the opening 10 minutes and with the pitch wet, O’s weren’t keeping hold of the ball well enough.
It led to Hessenthaler screaming an expletive at his team – telling them to retain possession better.
Less than 60 seconds later he nearly had something else to worry about as Morecambe attacked again.
Stockton was the provider this time, playing in Ellison and he forced Cisak to parry his close range effort.
Nicky Hunt was on hand to clear the loose ball with a Shrimps player ready to pounce if not.
Orient responded in the 27th minute when Kelly and Harry Cornick combined before Bowery had a shot deflected behind for a corner.
The set piece was swung it and cleared, but Hessenthaler’s team kept the ball alive and in the hosts half.
Eventually it come out to Kelly, 22-yards-out, and the ex-Oldham Athletic captain curled towards goal and beat Morecambe’s Barry Roche.
The Shrimps custodian should have done better, but nevertheless it was a fine strike by the O’s number four.
It was also Kelly’s third consecutive goal for the club in League Two and just what they needed in Lancashire.
Boosted by the opener, the east Londoners were brimming with confidence now and nearly doubled their advantage 13 minutes before half time.
Bowery held the ball up well on the left and Orient worked it out to Kelly in a similar position to his goal.
This time the vice-captain passed out to Cornick and he tried to get past Liam Wakefield on the right.
After working a yard of space, the AFC Bournemouth man cut back for Kelly, but he volleyed over from eight-yards.
Three minutes later and Paul McCallum surprised everybody by producing a Rory Delap throw, which Tom Parkes flicked on, but Kelly couldn’t test Roche.
Morecambe responded in the 42nd minute when Jack Dunn dribbled past Hunt and into the box.
The O’s right-back got back well, though, and blocked the strike by the Shrimps number 20.
An additional two minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the half, but it remained 1-0 to the visitors at the break.
Hessenthaler saw his team make another bright start to the second half, but they were hit by a sucker punch in the 49th minute.
Parkes got the ball stuck under his feet and it rolled out to Ellison, 25-yards-out, and he smashed past Cisak and into the corner.
It was a brilliant strike and despite dominating for long periods at Globe Arena, Orient found themselves on level terms.
But three minutes later they should have been back ahead when Massey put Bowery through on goal.
The ex-Aston Villa striker saw his effort pushed wide by Roche when he really should have scored.
Bowery got another opportunity three minutes later, however, and this time he found the back of the net.
Kelly tried his luck again from long range and it was blocked by a defender before McCallum looked to test Roche from 20-yards.
The Orient forward could only scuff his effort into Bowery’s path, but he composed himself, cut inside and saw an effort deflected past the Shrimps goalkeeper.
It sparked jubilant scenes from the O’s bench and was the first time Bowery had found the net since moving on a free in the summer.
And it was nearly 3-1 on the hour mark when Cornick’s cross was flicked on by Kelly to the back post.
McCallum was there, under pressure from Liam Wakefield, but Roche somehow saved from close range.
Orient sensed they could kill the game off and pressed again for a third, and were denied what looked like a clear penalty in the 67th minute.
Again Cornick was involved and tried to pick out McCallum at the back post, but he was dragged to the ground by Ryan Edwards.
Referee John Brooks waved the appeals away, although it failed to deter O’s as they pushed forward once more.
Parkes controlled on the halfway line and fizzed out to Callum Kennedy, who had been excellent, on the left.
The central defender continued his run and got on the end of Kennedy’s cross, but Roche saved.
Morecambe’s goalkeeper was having a good game and was called into action again in the 72nd minute.
O’s forwards linked up well and Bowery was given a sight of goal from a tight angle, but Roche saved.
Shrimps supporters were growing more and more frustrated, but Orient were working so hard all over the pitch and defending as a team.
Four minutes of additional time were added on, but Hessenthaler’s men stood firm and took all three points.
They move up to seventh as a result and this will offer them plenty of encouragement ahead of next weekend’s trip to Carlisle United.
Morecambe: Roche, Wakefield, Whitmore, Edwards, McGowan, Barkhuizen, Fleming (Kenyon 64), Rose, Ellison, Dunn (Turner 64), Stockton (Mullin 86).
Unused substitutes: Nizic, Molyneux, Massanka, Jennings.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Hunt, Erichot, Parkes, Kennedy, Massey, Weir, Kelly, Cornick, Bowery, McCallum.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Palmer, Nnomo, Semedo, Pollock, Koroma, Judd.
Attendance: 1,665 (257 Leyton Orient supporters).