Leyton Orient suffer cruel defeat at home to Morecambe despite fine performance
21:42 07 February 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 0 Morecambe 1
Leyton Orient suffered a cruel League Two defeat at home to Morecambe despite a performance full of effort and desire at Brisbane Road.
Paul Mullin’s wonderful second half strike handed the Lancashire outfit the points and saw Danny Webb lose his second match in charge.
It was incredibly harsh on O’s, especially after a dominant first 45, but it leaves the east Londoners 23rd in the table.
Webb was forced to make a change to the starting XI which faced Carlisle United at the weekend with Callum Kennedy absent due to a thigh problem.
Yvan Erichot replaced the former AFC Wimbledon defender and partnered Tom Parkes at the heart of O’s back four.
Club captain Nicky Hunt lined up at left-back while the Orient boss also brought in Victor Adeboyejo for his full debut.
The 19-year-old had made nine appearances for the O’s off the substitutes bench, but this was his first opportunity from the off.
Rowan Liburd, as a result, dropped to the bench and was joined by defender Michael Clark, who played for East Thurrock United last weekend.
Orient’s vice-captain Liam Kelly was also among the replacements, three days before his 27th birthday.
With Dalby and Adeboyejo leading the line for O’s, the combined age of the front duo was just 36.
And included in the match day squad by Webb were eight current or former academy players at Brisbane Road.
Orient got the match underway and you could sense the nerves straight from kick-off from both sets of players.
It was the O’s who fashioned the first proper chance of the encounter when Gavin Massey crossed in for Nigel Atangana.
The French midfielder only got a faint touch on the ball and it was an easy save for Barry Roche, who had been nominated for Sky Bet League Two player of the month for January.
Erichot, making his first appearance for a month following injury, made a strong start with a crunching tackle on Kevin Ellison.
Morecambe won the opening corner of the match in the 11th minute, although it could have been much better for the visitors.
Ellison drifted away from his marker, Atangana, and volleyed a cross towards goal, but Myles Judd headed away.
With tension present, the O’s fans did their best to lift the players and the response was Sandro Semedo winning a corner.
The Portuguese winger went across to take it, instead of regular set-piece taker Michael Collins, but it was easily dealt with by the Shrimps.
Every time one team produced a noteworthy moment, the other seemed to instantly respond and Morecambe did.
Referee John Brooks harshly penalised Erichot for a tug on Paul Mullin and Michael Rose swung in the free kick.
Mullin got a toe to it, yet it went harmlessly over Sam Sargeant’s crossbar and it remained goalless at Brisbane Road.
The next bit of action occurred in the Morecambe half when Erichot produced a sensational pass out to Semedo.
Orient’s number 11 squared up his marker and worked half a yard before forcing Roche to save with his feet.
Collins took the corner this time and picked out Massey, who got into the area and then blazed well over.
The O’s were growing in confidence, although Morecambe showed their threat just before the half an hour mark.
Ellison brought the ball into the area and crossed in, but Sargeant came out well and grabbed his delivery.
Shrimps captain Peter Murphy, running in, kicked the ball out of the goalkeepers hands and in, but referee Brooks awarded a foul.
The incident failed to deter Orient and instead they enjoyed arguably their best spell at Brisbane Road this season.
Dalby flicked on a long pass and Adeboyejo controlled before finding Massey, and his cross won O’s a corner.
It came to nothing but with the home supporters fully behind the players, Orient pushed for the opener.
They produced a sensational passage of play in the 37th minute which ended with Collins finding Massey and the winger forcing Roche into an excellent save after a fine effort from the outside of his boot.
Collins swung in the corner and Parkes controlled before scuffing a shot which went agonisingly just past the post.
Webb’s young and inexperienced team smelt blood and Dalby and Massey linked up to win O’s another corner.
Semedo’s cross was dropped by Roche and despite being under pressure, the visiting goalkeeper managed to grab the loose ball.
An end-to-end passage occurred three minutes before half time when Tom Parkes made an excellent block to deny Ellison.
Orient broke quickly and Adeboyejo, who was growing into the contest, won yet another corner for the hosts.
Parkes was picked out again and tested Roche this time, but it was a routine save for the Morecambe custodian.
It was all O’s now and Massey skinned his opponent, Alex Whitmore, before putting in a teasing cross.
Roche couldn’t get anywhere near it and Adeboyejo, sliding in, was inches away from making a connection.
There was still time for Massey to force another corner, but it came to nothing and one minute of stoppage time went by quickly and it remained goalless at the break.
All of the Orient players left the pitch to a standing ovation after one hell of an effort during the first 45.
Having not got the reward they deserved from the first half, Webb would have hoped to see O’s get something after the restart.
Orient didn’t make a rapid start to the second period, but it only took them 10 minutes to test Roche again.
Judd did well on the right and crossed in for Semedo, yet his effort was deflected and easy for the away goalkeeper.
The noise levels inside Brisbane Road were increasing with the O’s supporters well behind the team.
But the east London fans were nearly silenced in the 63rd minute when Ellison was playing through on goal.
Sargeant stood up well and managed to deflect the ball past the post to keep Orient level with a fine piece of goalkeeping.
It was a let off for O’s and they nearly made the most of it five minutes later, but Parkes headed Semedo’s corner over.
The match was getting stretched now and the visitors again nearly took the lead when Aaron Wildig looked set to convert a low cross, yet Judd flew in from nowhere to deflect the ball behind.
Sargeant grabbed the corner and found Massey quickly, who managed to win Orient another corner.
Unfortunately it came to nothing and then, almost out of nothing, disaster struck and the visitors took the lead.
Mullin controlled a pass around 25-yards-out and shrugged off Hunt before curling into the top corner.
It was so cruel on O’s and Webb, but the home supporters did their best to get behind them and urged them on.
Orient’s manager responded by bringing on Liburd with 13 minutes to go for Dalby, who had battled hard and shown glimpses of his quality.
Semedo tried his luck from range soon after, although his effort flew over the North Stand to groans.
After a valiant effort, time was now ticking away for O’s and with the pressure intensifying, they started to misplace passes.
Webb’s final roll of the dice was to introduce Josh Koroma and Kelly for Adeboyejo and Collins.
Both had put in a tremendous amount of effort, but with only four minutes of stoppage time added on, the two subs had little time to make an impact.
Liburd was present with one chance when Hunt picked him out, but he could only head wide.
The full time whistle soon followed and the Orient squad left the pitch to warm applause from the home fans.
It was another encouraging performance under Webb, but it was a sixth consecutive defeat in the division.
O’s remain inside the bottom two ahead of travelling to Yeovil Town this Saturday where they’ll hope to finally get their first point of 2017.
Leyton Orient: Sargeant; Judd, Erichot, Parkes, Hunt; Massey, Atangana, Collins (Kelly 90), Semedo; Dalby (Liburd 77), Adeboyejo (Koroma 90).
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Moore, Mezague, Clark.
Morecambe: Roche; Whitmore, Edwards, Winnard; Rose (Kenyon 75); Duckworth; Wildig, Murphy; Molyneux (Turner 65); Ellison, Mullin (McGowan 81).
Unused substitutes: Nizic, Wakefield, Conlan, Evans.
Attendance: 2,660 (58 Morecambe supporters).