Leyton Orient 0 Morecambe 1
Sky Bet League Two
By Rowland Lyons at the Matchroom Stadium
Leyton Orient’s desperate search for their first points of 2017 continues after they were sunk by Paul Mullin’s second-half stunner, on Tuesday night.
And, despite another promising performance, the O’s remain entrenched in the drop zone, by failing to capitalise on their game in hand on their closest rivals
Boss, Danny Webb, made two changes from Saturday’s narrow Carlisle home reverse. In stepped Yvan Erichot and another teenager, Victor Adeboyejo, replacing Callum Kennedy and Rowan Liburd, respectively.
On a slippery surface, the O’s made an encouraging start against a side still needing points to climb to safety.
Midfielder, Nigel Atangana went close early on, before the Shrimps began to gain the upper hand, with Kevin Ellison forcing Myles Judd into a vital block.
The visitors did have the ball in the net, on the half hour mark, but despite Sam Sargeant appearing to spill an Ellison shot, under pressure from Peter Murphy, the O’s got a temporary reprieve.
The east Londoners soon looked the likelier to break the deadlock, with Gavin Massey forcing Barry Roche into a smart 35th minute block, before debutant, Adeboyejo and Tom Parkes were literally inches away from netting.
Despite a bright start to the second period, with Massey’s bobbling effort forcing Roche into a low save, the Shrimps took charge and with sub, Rhys Turner going close and Ellison forcing Sargeant into a fine save, it took a piece of Mullin brilliance to win the game for the Lancashire side.
A raking Roche 72nd minute free-kick fell for Mullin to turn and beat Sargeant, with the ball still rising as it hit the back of the net.
From then on, Orient failed to trouble the visitors and it was star man Ellison - on 89 minutes - with a spectacular bicycle kick that almost added insult to injury.
Webb said: "We’re getting there. But, you can see why teams are down the bottom - because they’re not scoring goals. I can’t criticize, either, the back four or Tom Parkes for missing a chance, tonight."
He insisted: "But, the players do care and morale has been low. It’s now a matter of forming a little bit of team spirit."
"You’ve seen a little addition in the quality in which we play tonight. It’s now a case of taking it up another notch at Yeovil on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) - and it will be nice to come away with something."
Schemer, Michael Collins, admitted: "There is that little extra pressure with the fact that falling into the National Conference would affect people’s livelihoods. So, there’s an onus on us to get the job done."
Collins revealed: "I have been in a relegation battle before, when I was at Scunthorpe. We had a very good team. But, if didn’t quite work for us. It happens. At any level no team is too good to go down."
He concluded: "People were telling me last weekend that we didn’t look like the team in bottom two against Carlisle. It’s disappointing to hear these things - but we are where we are. But, we mustn’t listen to what people say and just remain positive. We have to turn things around sharpish and will go to Yeovil looking to put things right."
Generous in victory, Shrimps’ boss, Jim Bentley said: "Leyton Orient didn’t play like a team in the bottom two. Both teams gave it their all and it was settled by Paul Mullins’s wonder strike. I wish Leyton Orient all the best for the rest of the season."
How they lined up:
Leyton Orient: Sam Sargeant, Myles Judd, Yvan Erichot, Tom Parkes, Nicky Hunt (captain), Gavin Massey, Nigel Atangana, Michael Collins (Liam Kelly 89), Sandro Semedo, Sam Dalby (Rowan Liburd 77), Victor Adeboyejo (Josh Koroma 89).
Subs (not used): Charlie Grainger (gk), Sammy Moore, Michael Clark.
Morecambe: Barry Roche, Ryan Edwards, Dean Winnard, Alex Whitmore, Peter Murphy (captain), Aaron Wildig, Michael Duckworth, Lee Molyneux (Rhys Turner 65), Michael Rose (Alex Kenyon 75), Paul Mullin (Aaron McGowan 81), Kevin Ellison.
Subs (not used): Dan Nizic (gk), Liam Wakefield, Luke Conlan, Anthony Evans.
Referee: John Brooks
Assistants: Graham Kane & Louis Marks
Fourth Official: Ian Cooper
Attendance: 2,660 (58 away)