A SUPERB goal from A-Jay Leitch-Smith gave the Shrimps a vital victory under caretaker bosses Barry Roche and Kevin Ellison.
In the first game since Jim Bentley’s move to AFC Fylde the Shrimps picked up their first home win of the season with a spirited performance.
Roche and Ellison made four changes to the side that lost at Stevenage including dropping themselves. Shaun Miller and Alex Kenyon were also on the bench with recalls for Mark Halstead, Aaron Wildig, Andrew Tutte and Lewis Alessandra who returned after his one match ban.
The Shrimps started superbly and Tutte went close with the first shot of the game, but his curling effort from the edge of the area was deflected a yard wide of Dean Brill’s post.
Tutte then threatened again with a long range shot was superbly tipped over the bar by Brill. The fierce strike dipped and swerved in the air and the O’s ‘keeper did well to read the path of the ball and turn it behind.
Although Orient had a lot of possession the Shrimps looked solid and had a chance to go ahead on the half hour when after losing possession in a dangerous area centre-back Dan Happe recovered to make an important block from Cole Stockton’s shot on the break.
Stockton then turned provider, delivering a perfect low cross to the feet of Lewis Alessandra but he was denied by a fine covering tackle from Marvin Ekpiteta.
Orient came out of the blocks much improved and won a couple of corners in quick succession following the restart. James Dayton and Josh Wright’s in-swinging deliveries created problems for the home defence, who managed to clear their lines both times of asking.
Orient boss Carl Fletcher made a double change before the hour mark, introducing Dale Gorman and Conor Wilkinson in place of Ekpiteta and James Dayton, as O’s anchor-man George Marsh switched to right-back.
The latter almost caught Mark Halstead by surprise a few moments later. After receiving the ball in the right channel from Craig Clay, a shot-come-cross darted just a whisker over the target.
The telling moment came on 74 minutes through a sensational strike from substitute A-Jay Leitch-Smith. Cutting in from the left flank, the number 10 curled an effort into the far top corner from 20-yards.
In the final 10 minutes the visitors hunted for an equaliser. Dan Happe would be the first to go close, but ‘keeper Mark Halstead blocked the defender’s close-range half-volley.
Soon after Matt Harrold flicked the ball to Josh Wright, who’s looping header looked destined to find the back of the net but with Halstead beaten, the ball drifted the wrong side of the post.
Right at the death a full length block from Morecambe goalkeeper Halstead ensured all three points for the home side. James Brophy did exceptionally well down the left wing, delivering a teasing ball into six-yard-box which was bundled towards the goal, but at full stretch Halstead pushed the ball behind off the line to give Morecambe a much needed win.
Morecambe: Halstead, Tanner, Old, Lavelle, Conlan, Brewitt, Tutte (rep Cranston 64), Wildig (rep Kenyon 83), O’Sullivan, Stockton (rep Leitch-Smith 72), Alessandra. Subs not used: Roche, Brownsword, Buxton, Miller,
Orient: Brill, Ekpiteta (rep Gorman 59), Coulson, Happe, Widdowson, Clay, Marsh, Wright, Dayton (rep Wilkinson 59 (rep Maguire-Drew 75), Brophy, Harrold
SUBS: Sargeant, Dennis, Turley, Alabi.
Ref: P Marsden.