Free Pint and Free Points n`all...
Saturday 11th February 2017 1500hrs
On a freezing cold day by the seaside, Morecambe entertained Cambridge United on Saturday for a game which many of the local harbingers of doom predicted might not go ahead because of problems concerning a company associated with the troubled club which has recently complicated a tortuously tangled situation as far as the Shrimps` ownership is concerned by going into Administration.
With these problems at least temporarily resolved, everyone who turned-up for today`s game was able to wash down their free pie with a free pint due to Manager Jim Bentley`s superb gesture to thank the fans for paying his £1000 FA fine `for being a naughty boy`.
The game started at a tremendous pace and was end to end for much of the first half. Peter Murphy seemed to put the hosts a goal ahead after eight minutes but the referee ruled his effort out for hand ball and issued Morecambe`s number 7 with a yellow card for cheating. With almost a quarter of an hour played, Paul Mullin was played-in by a superb 60 yard pass from Michael Rose and took a sharp shot which hit the U`s post and bounced towards the onrushing Kevin Ellison, who was just unable to connect with it before the United defence hacked it away from danger. Four minutes later, Ellison found himself one-on-one with Will Norris in the Cambridge goal following a sublime pass from Michael Duckworth but Leon Legge materialised from nowhere and put in a tremendous potentially goal-saving tackle to save the day for the visitors. It wasn`t all Morecambe though and after twenty-five minutes the visitors had a fantastic opportunity of their own when Jake Carroll headed Luke Berry`s cross against the foot of the post only for it to bounce harmlessly away. Back at the other end ten minutes later however, the U`s had another near thing when Mark Roberts came to the rescue by blocking the ball on the United goal-line during an incident which seemed to see Alex Kenyon take a high kick to the head - he was able to continue, thankfully, after several minutes` treatment on the pitch. And thus an entertaining first half ended scoreless.
Cambridge started the second half brightly and forced a corner within sixty seconds but Morecambe opened the scoring after fifty minutes when a ball from the left was deftly headed back into the danger area by Duckworth for Ellison to gratefully head home. Two minutes later, the Shrimps` Number Eleven almost doubled the advantage for the hosts but was denied by an outstanding save by Norris. But he wasn`t going to be denied much longer and when Mullin`s excellent solo run and shot was only parried by the visiting goalkeeper, Kev picked up the pieces with a relatively simple tap-in to make it two-nil to the Shrimps after fifty-eight minutes. There were loud claims for a penalty from the Morecambe bench when Mullin seemed to be fouled in the United area after an hour or so and Norris was called upon to make several good saves - notably again from Mullin and then Lee Molyneux following a wonderful pass from Aaron Wildig - to keep the visitors in the match around about this period of the contest.
So Cambridge - twelfth in League Two before today`s game - fell to 14th and registered their first double EFL defeat against the Shrimps. Morecambe - still in serious trouble off the field - are flourishing on it and today`s three points saw them move to one place below their opponents, just a solitary point behind but with a game in hand. Importantly too, Morecambe also registered their seventh unbeaten game in a row and again managed to keep a clean sheet.
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 5 Ryan Edwards; 4 Alex Kenyon; 16 Alex Whitmore; 8 Peter Murphy(Y); 15 Aaron Wildig (21 Antony Evans 87 mins); 24 Michael Rose (C); 7 Paul Mullin (18 Rhys Turner 75 mins; 10 Lee Molyneux ; 11 Kevin Ellison (27 Luke Jordan 90+3); 19 Michael Duckworth.
Subs not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 2 Liam Wakefield; 3 Aaron McGowan ; 14 Luke Conlan.
Cambridge United: 1 Will Norris; 7 Piero Mingoia (Y); 5 Mark Roberts; 6 Leon Legge; 12 Scott Wharton; 19 Jake Carroll; 4 James Dunne; 16 Liam O`Neil; 24 Conor Newto (10 Ben Williamson 57 mins); 8 Luke Berry (Y); 26 Uche Ikpeazu (9 Barry Corr 57 mins).
Subs not used: 13 David Gregory; 11 Harrison Dunk; 18 George Maris; 20 Max Clark; 22 Paul Lewis.