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Leyton Orient 2-0 Morecambe
Last-gasp Leyton Orient made Morecambe pay for wasting several gilt-edged chances, as Nathaniel Knight-Percival beat his own keeper before Lee Angol sealed this play-off six-pointer in stoppage time.
Missing seventeen-goal Danny Johnson, due to an ankle injury, Orient had nothing to show for a totally dominant opening half, with schemer, Craig Clay going closest, forcing former Blackpool gloveman, Mark Halstead into a fine tip-around.
Home stopper, Lawrence Vigouroux was a virtual spectator but did well to deny an early speculative Adam Phillips’ drive, before doing well to foil Carlos Mendes-Gomes on the stroke of half-time.
Both sides at least tried to make this play-off six-pointer a more expansive affair after the turnaround, but excellent chances fell to the visitors, with Carlos Mendes-Gomes and Yann Songo’o missing three close-range sitters.
And, there seemed no way through, for the 0’s, as the evergreen, Jobi McAnuff saw his rasper of a drive blocked, with twenty minutes left.
Having performed so competently, Vigouroux almost blotted his copybook, late on. In attempting to chip John O’Sullivan the striker’s inadvertent header flew wide.
But, the O’s dug in and two minutes from time, the classy West Ham loanee, Tunji Akinola’s whipped-in cross took a wicked deflection off Knight-Percival and flew high into an unguarded net.
With effectively six minutes – including stoppage time – remaining the O’s had to weather another storm, but fine McAnuff work freed up Angol, who expertly beat the hapless Halstead at his near post with 92 minutes played.
A delighted head coach, Ross Embleton said: “I’m delighted, it was a massive win and Morecambe – after showing us a lot of respect in the first-half – had the better chances before we scored.”
“Overall, we deserved to win and I’m pleased for Lawrence Vigouroux keeping a clean sheet. It’s our third in a row. Defender Dan Happe got into some good advanced positions, in the first half and consequently, Tunji Akinola showed that initiative to supply the cross that led to our goal.”
Somewhat overshadowed by top scorer, Johnson, Embleton praised matchwinner Angol: “Lee had a very good pre-season and has done a magnificent job for us without being it being ‘starry’ for him. I’m delighted he got his chance, today, to score.”
He added: “Dan Kemp coming in from West Ham is an excellent signing. I’ve known about him from his earlier days at Chelsea. He made a good contribution coming off the bench today. But, I won’t discount the fact there could be another couple of signings before the end of the month.”
Embleton concluded: “Whilst Morecambe showed us a lot of respect today, I’m expecting a very attacking Forest Green next Saturday. And, finally, I’d like to thank the superb efforts by the ground staff for getting the game on today, after heavy rain overnight.”
Leyton Orient: Lawrence Vigouroux, Sam Ling, Dan Happe, Tunji Akinola, James Brophy, Jobi McAnuff, Ouss Cissé (Hector Kyprianou 56′), Craig Clay, Conor Wilkinson, Lee Angol, Ruel Sotiriou (Daniel Kemp 63′) Subs not used: Sam Sergeant (GK), Joe Widdowson, Josh Coulson, Jordan Maguire-Drew, James Dayton
Morecambe: Mark Halstead, Ryan Cooney, Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Sam Lavelle, Stephen Hendrie, Cole Stockton (Toumani Diagouraga 73′), Yann Songo’o, Aaron Wildig, Carlos Mendes Gomes (Liam McAlinden 90), Adam Phillips (Jordan Slew 90′), John O’Sullivan (Brad Lyons 74′) Subs not used: André Da Silva Mendes (GK), Kelvin Mellor, Jordan Slew, Alex Kenyon, Liam McAlinden
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Assistants: Matthew Lee and Paul Lister
Fourth Official: Nicholas Cooper