MORECAMBE boss Jim Bentley says it is a great feeling to see his side head the League 2 table.
Bentley saw his side extend their unbeaten run to eight games with a rare victory at Dagenham which took them two points clear of Rotherham at the top and add further gloss to the Shrimps’ superb start to the season.
Bentley said: “It is great to be top of the table and there is no doubt it is a nice feeling for the lads and the supporters.
“I can’t praise the lads enough for their efforts so far this season, they have been absolutely brilliant. This`was always going to be a tough game against a side who were in the league above us last season and I always thought we were comfortable.
“When we got to 2-0 I thought we would go on and see the game out but they came back into it with a bit of a fluke and we had to hang on a bit more than I would have liked after that.
“We had to be resolute and we defended well with the lads putting their bodies on the line and we made harder work of it than I would have liked but we saw it through.”
There were certainly a few worrying moments with Brian Woodall seeing a late header cleared off the line and Barry Roche having to make a decent save from Oliver Lee but two quick-fire goals at the start of the second half from Danny Carlton and Stewart Drummond were enough to give the Shrimps the three points.
In a first half of few chances the Shrimps looked the brighter with Izak Reid firing wide and Carlton testing Lewington with a shot from close range that the keeper did well to tip around the post.
The Shrimps were rewarded for their adventure as Carlton notched his fifth goal in three games two minutes into the half.
A long ball from Kevin Ellison caught the Dagenham defence cold and Carlton took advantage with a neat first touch to give him a run on goal and he produced a cool finish to take his tally to six for the season.
It didn’t take long for the Shrimps to add a second. On 53 minutes Laurence Wilson made a good run down the left and produced a good cross which Lewington could only push into the path of Drummond who stroked the loose ball into the bottom left hand corner of the empty Dagenham goal.
Carlton and Lewis Alessandra both had efforts to extend the Shrimps’ lead but both were denied by Lewington who made good blocks to make up for his earlier mistake.
Ellison was then booked for diving when he tripped in the box in a decision which baffled most people in the ground.
The Shrimps looked comfortable until Dagenham scored a shock goal on 73 minutes.
Oliver Lee swung in a free kick from the left which seemed to be sailing over the bar. Barry Roche certainly thought so and made little effort to get to the ball and looked as shocked as everyone else when it ended up in the top left hand corner.
That signalled a late Dagenham rally.
Lee forced Roche into a save at full stretch with a sweetly struck shot from the edge of the area, Damien Scannell forced the ball over the bar from close range when he should have done better and Woodall was denied by Ellison’s goal line clearance.
The Shrimps hung on and kept Dagenham out to pick up their fourth away win of an increasingly exciting season.
Dagenham: Lewington, Rose (Walsh 89), Doe, Arber, Ilesanmi, Nurse, Lee, Gain, Scannell (Woodall 67), Williams, Tomlin (McCrory 73). Subs not used: Hogan, Bingham.
Morecambe: Roche 6, Parrish 7, McCready 7, Fenton 7 (Charnock 68), Wilson 7, Reid 6 (Haining 83), Drummond 6, Hunter 6, Ellison 7, Price 6 (Alessandra 63), Carlton 7. Subs not used: Routledge, Fleming.
Booked: Fenton, Ellison
Referee: D Coote 5/10
Star man: Andy Parrish – Hardly put a foot wrong all afternoon.