A VERY Good Friday for Morecambe...
Good Friday 14th April 2017 1500hrs
Attendance: 3117 (98 from Morecambe)
Morecambe visited Broadhall Way on Good Friday to tackle Darren Sarll`s side, which was lying in the Play-Off positions in League Two prior to kick-off. Given the Shrimps` well-known problems off the field this season and their previous history against the team from Hertfordshire, there seemed little reason for optimism prior to kick off: they had already lost the reverse fixture at the Globe last October nil-two and had never beaten Boro in seven previous attempts to do so, losing four of the earlier contests.
Morecambe were quickly on the front foot today and 38 year old Kevin Ellison had one of those halves where you could understand why his manager Jim Bentley has always insisted Kev is his best signing ever: he was at the root of everything that was good in the visitors` play. The only decent half-chances the hosts had during the first period were when leading scorer Matt Godden`s attempt was well blocked by Dean Winnard after seventeen minutes and when the same player narrowly missed with an instant shot which only just missed the target with almost half an hour played. Danijel Nizic`s only save of the half was also forced by Godden after 39 minutes, when the big Aussie did well to get down low and deny the Boro striker. At the other end, though, Lee Molyneux wasted a glorious chance with nineteen minutes on the clock when he blazed wildly over the bar when well placed. Chris Day did well to deny Aaron Wildig - albeit from a tight angle - after forty minutes. Then - from a number of corners won by the Shrimps - Andy Fleming headed just over the bar shortly before Alex Whitmore walloped another shot way over the frame of the Stevenage goal with 41 minutes played. Morecambe probably should have taken the lead right at the end of the half when Ellison again played-in Wildig and Day saved once more. But Ellison had the final say when the Stevenage goalkeeper literally saved the Day yet again in injury time.
The second half saw Boro come out and- probably predictably - upped the ante right from kick-off. Madden had two good chances within four minutes of the re-start: he booted one over the bar but Nizic excelled himself by spreading himself to deny the big forward almost immediately afterwards. The personal contest between Madden and Nizic continued after an hour when the young Australian international produced a brilliant reflex save to push a goal-bound thunderbolt over the bar to keep the score at nil-nil. As Stevenage continued to press, you started to wonder if Morecambe would rue the opportunities they had squandered during the first half but - to confound all such worries - the Shrimps scored on the counter-attack with their first strike of the second period. Wildig played Molyneux in from the Morecambe left and the Shrimps` Number Ten simply smashed the ball past Day to put the Lancashire side nil-one to the good. After this, the home team threw everything at the visitors but the Shrimps stood strong and kept them out to record a rare victory in recent times and a precious three points.
Manager Jim Bentley was understandably delighted after the game and paid tribute to the fans who had followed his team and contributed to a great atmosphere within the ground. The win gives Morecambe fifty points and probably removes any football-related fears of relegation this season. They go back up to seventeenth in the division as a result. Meanwhile, Stevenage drop to sixth position but still find themselves handily placed in the Play-Off positions in League Two.
Stevenage: 16 Chris Day; 4 Jack King; 5 Fraser Franks; 6 Luke Wilkinson; 7 Jobi McAnuff (35 Ryan Loft 84 mins); 8 Steve Schumacher (26 Kaylen Hinds 80 mins); 10 Josh McQuoid (17 Dale Gorman 68 mins); 11 Tom Pett; 20 Conor Ogilvie; 22 Charlie Lee; 24 Matt Godden.
Subs not used: 12 Callum Preston; 18 Michael Tonge; 19 Dean Wells; 33 Kgosi Ntlhe.
Morecambe: 12 Danijel Nizic; 6 Dean Winnard; 16 Alex Whitmore; 5 Ryan Edwards; 3 Aaron McGowan; 24 Michael Rose (C); 17 Andy Fleming; 15 Aaron Wildig (8 Peter Murphy 77 mins); 10 Lee Molyneux (14 Luke Conlan 85 mins); 11 Kevin Ellison; 7 Paul Mullin (18 Rhys Turner 77 mins).
Subs not used: 20 Nial Maher; 19 Michael Duckworth; 21 Antony Evans; 2 Liam Wakefield.
Ref: Darren Deadman.