Morecambe 1 Leyton Orient 0: Caretaker boss Barry Roche praises Shrimps’ players and supporters

Kevin Ellison and Barry Roche oversaw victory against Leyton Orient on Saturday
Kevin Ellison and Barry Roche oversaw victory against Leyton Orient on Saturday

Morecambe caretaker boss Barry Roche had high praise for the Shrimps after they claimed their first home win of the season.

They beat Leyton Orient 1-0 on Saturday thanks to a second-half goal from A-Jay Leitch-Smith.

Two minutes after replacing Cole Stockton, he sent an unstoppable shot past Orient keeper Dean Brill to give Morecambe a timely three points.

It wasn’t enough for them to climb off the foot of the League Two table but it was a fine way to end a difficult week following the departure of former boss Jim Bentley.

“We’re over the moon,” said Roche, who has overseen first team affairs with Kevin Ellison after Bentley’s exit.

“It’s been a difficult start to the season, especially at home, so to get that first home win in the manner that we did with such a positive performance was really pleasing.

“It was a difficult start to the week because everybody knows how much we love the gaffer (Bentley) and were sad to see him go.

“In the position we’re in, there’s no way we could afford to sulk, to be down on ourselves, so that’s what we said to the lads first thing Monday morning.

“We said ‘We have a massive game, we’ve got to be positive, we’ve got to be together’ and I think you could see that on the pitch.

“Stevenage drew so it’s closed the gap on them; the last thing we could afford to do is let a gap appear between us and the teams above.

“The fans were superb, not just at the end but all the way through; the noise was fantastic, the singing behind the goal was relentless all game and that’s the kind of atmosphere we need to create at the Globe Arena.

“We are well aware, at home this season, we have not always given them something to shout about but I think, today, we did and they responded brilliantly.”

The Shrimps’ victory was also aided by a second home clean sheet of the season.

With Roche dropping to the bench, Mark Halstead was largely untroubled for the first 75 minutes before making late stops to deny Dan Happe and Josh Wright.

“That’s what happens when you take me out of the team!” Roche said.

“The really pleasing thing is Mark’s not had an awful lot to do but the sign of a good goalkeeper is when your concentration is so good you make a vital save in the last minute and he was fantastic for us.

“It was tough to watch in the last few minutes because you know the work the lads have put in.

“We have worked them very hard but we worked on a plan to press them and they carried it out to a man; they were fantastic.”