Glovers Thwarted By Lucky Shrimps
Yeovil made the long journey to the Globe Arena today hoping to make it five EFL games unbeaten in a row, having won 0-1 last time out at Carlisle to put them into twelfth position in League Two. Their previous record against Morecambe, however, didn’t augur well for three points for the team from Somerset: in six previous Football League meetings, they have only beaten the Shrimps once and lost four times. However, Jake Gray put Town ahead last time they visited the north Lancashire seaside after just twenty-five seconds in a thrilling December game which the visitors went on to eventually lose 4-3 having led 0-2 and 2-3 at various times in the match. The single victory they have earnt in the past also came at the Globe, reflecting Morecambe’s disappointing record there since their move from Fortress Christie Park eight years ago.
Mark Halstead made a rare start for the Shrimps in the home net, stepping-in for the injured Barry Roche today. Darren Way named Yoann Arquin and Wes McDonald in his starting line-up and his team started the brighter on a grey, damp day under leaden skies. Rhys Browne looked a handful on the Glovers’ right during the early stages and they came close to taking the lead after fourteen minutes. Tom James started and finished a good move by the visitors but his header was just wide of Halstead’s post when he might have done better. At the other end, there was a bit of a goalmouth scramble following a free-kick after nineteen minutes but the Shrimps went ahead four minutes later. A-Jay Leitch Smith was picked-out by Liam Mandeville and made no mistake as he turned cleverly in the box before sweeping the ball past a helpless Nathan Baxter into the top corner of the net to score against his former employers. The goal seemed to encourage the hosts and they started to get on top at this point. But A-Jay went from Hero to Zero with thirty-four minutes played. James – who had already been shown a yellow card – could think himself lucky to have stayed on the field when he brought-down Jordan Cranston in the Glovers’ penalty area. But Baxter came to Town’s rescue when he pulled off a fine save low to his right to block Leitch-Smith’s effort from the penalty spot and although Vadaine Oliver headed the ball into the net from the rebound, the score was chalked-off for being off-side. Buoyed-on by this bit of luck, the Glovers started to get back into the game and Halstead did really well to turn Bevis Mugabi’s volley from a Jake Gray corner away for another one after 41 minutes. The Glovers remained on the front foot right at the end of the half when Browne shot narrowly over the bar in the final minute. So the visitors went in one goal behind at half time but probably relieved that they still had eleven men on the park. Jim Bentley must have been pleased with his side’s lead but equally unhappy that they had missed a golden opportunity to double their advantage from a very rare penalty opportunity.
It took just three minutes of the second period for the Shrimps to double their lead. Rhys Oates tried his luck from a long way out, his fierce strike took a wicked swerve as it bounced in front of Yeovil’s orange-clad keeper and thus eluded his best efforts to keep it out of the net. Town almost got straight back into the contest when Olufela Olomola attemped to emulate A-Jay’s earlier score with a turn and shot in the box with 50 minutes played. Sadly for him, he missed. Substitute Alex Pattison then also tried his luck four minutes later but also missed, shooting over the bar. There was a bit of panic in the Morecambe defence following a free-kick from James but Halstead managed to push it away after an hour and Yeovil continued to dominate as they sought to reduce the arrears. Halstead saved Wes McDonald’s effort after 66 minutes but he was beaten two minutes later when the goal Town deserved finally arrived. Arquin flicked-on a ball to Olomola who kept his nerve when well-placed and buried it in the corner of the net. As home fans remembered the way the Glovers had thrown their lead away last year at the Globe and feared their own side were in the process of doing the same thing, the Glovers continued to play all the football. James was denied by Halstead again after 72 minutes as the Shrimps attempted grimly to hold on to their slim lead. In the last five minutes, Morecambe’s second-choice goalkeeper excelled himself to keep out two tremendous free-kicks from James with Shaun Donnellan blasting a rebound from the second one over the bar with the goal gaping. But try as they as they might, the men in the green strips just couldn’t find their way back into the game.
Jim Bentley has frequently talked about Lady Luck in the past and the way she has not favoured his team on many occasions. He couldn’t say any such thing today, though. His own team did their level best to throw the match away when in a good position; they were lucky to get their second goal and only had themselves to blame that they failed to convert a penalty. Darren Way will see his team play much worse than they did today and win. The loss saw Town fall to fourteenth in League Two; Morecambe’s very fortunate three points saw them move up to twentieth position in the table.
Morecambe: 21 Mark Halstead; 2 Zak Mills; 16 Sam Lavelle (Y); 3 Luke Conlan; 14 Josef Yarney; 27 Jordan Cranston (Y); 18 Rhys Oates (4 Alex Kenyon 81 mins); 15 Aaron Wildig; 9 Vadaine Oliver (Y); 14 Liam Mandeville ( 11 Kevin Ellison 70 mins); 28 A-Jay Leitch-Smith (5 Steven Old 95 mins).
Subs not used: 13 Dawid Szczepaniak; 25 Ben Hedley; 19 Carlos Mendes-Gomes; 12 Jason Oswell.
Yeovil Town: 12 Nathan Baxter; 5 Bevis Mugabe; 23 Tom James (Y); 3 Carl Dickinson (C); 27 Shaun Donnellan; 10 Jake Gray (17 Alex Pattison 50 mins); 21 Wes McDonald; 20 Sessi D’Almeida; 7 Rhys Browne; 18 Yoann Arquin (13 Francois Zoko 76 mins); 24 Olufela Olomola (Y) (8 Omari Patrick 84 mins).
Subs not used: 1 Sid Nelson; 30 Alefe Santos; 15 Gabby Rogers; 29 Enes Mahmutovic.
Ref: Peter Wright.
1406 (133 from Yeovil)