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Morecambe manager Jim Bentley: There’s light at the end of the tunnel for Leyton Orient despite poor start to 2017

10:30 09 February 2017

Leyton Orient defender Tom Parkes (right) shows his despair at the full time whistle against Morecambe (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient defender Tom Parkes (right) shows his despair at the full time whistle against Morecambe (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

Shrimps boss praised spirit and desire of east Londoners and hopes Danny Webb’s team can remain in the Football League

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley doesn’t believe Leyton Orient will remain in the League Two relegation zone for long if they continue to play like they did on Tuesday night.

The Shrimps claimed a 1-0 win at Brisbane Road after Paul Mullin produced a superb curling effort in the 73rd minute.

It handed new O’s boss Danny Webb a second consecutive defeat since taking over, but his opposite number offered some sincere words of comfort.

Bentley said: “I do feel sorry for Leyton Orient because they’ve had a right good go, they’ve competed, battled and played some good stuff.

“They put us under large spells of pressure and on that evidence they are not a bottom two side, but we stuck in there and defended well when we had to.

“Barry (Roche) has pulled off a couple of good saves and it was a spectacular goal from Paul, which was worthy of winning any game.

“We have had a difficult time off the field, very much like Leyton Orient, but hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel for both clubs.”

Bentley’s comments could easily be swatted aside as one manager saying the right things to the media, but the Morecambe boss meant every word.

The 40-year-old has endured an extremely challenging season in charge of the Lancashire club with their monthly wages twice paid late.

Orient have different problems with president Francesco Becchetti putting the club up for sale and letting several experienced players leave.

Webb now has to try and move O’s away from the relegation zone with an uneven mixture of youngsters and senior professionals.

After losing to Morecambe on Tuesday night, the east Londoners have suffered sixth consecutive defeats and haven’t picked up a single point in 2017.

But Bentley hopes they can stay up, adding: “Orient have a decent squad, they are a big club and I know they have off field problems, but they showed a spirit and desire against us, like we have been doing, and they didn’t deserve to lose the game.

“They battled away, played good stuff and created chances, but when you look through the whole match, both teams had opportunities and gave it their all.

“We both showed spirit, desire and work rate and it was a decent game settled by a wonder strike from Paul. We are happy to accept the three points because we need them ourselves, but I wish Leyton Orient all the best going forward.”

Morecambe are a great example of what can be achieved in spite of adversity and it should be a lesson to O’s and their supporters.

It is completely understandable that so many Orient fans are feeling pessimistic now and expecting relegation this season.

But the Shrimps have demonstrated what can occur when everybody unites together with an excellent run since the turn of the year.

Morecambe ended 2016 with confusion and uncertainty over who owned the club and who would be funding the Lancashire outfit in the long run.

Bentley has been able to put the distraction to one side and lead his team on a five-match unbeaten, which has seen them draw at high-flying duo Carlisle United and Doncaster Rovers.

He said: “Sometimes when you have hard times you can’t do anything else, but pull together and you can’t feel sorry for yourself. You can’t mope around and be all doom and gloom.

“Hopefully we can get our problems sorted off the field, but certainly on the field the lads are doing the job. We have a great togetherness and spirit and we are all working hard for each other.”

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