Date: 26th November 2016 at 6:52pm
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Morecambe faced top of the League Two table Plymouth Argyle on Saturday on the crest of a slump. From being right at the pinnacle of the division at the beginning of the season, the Shrimps had slumped to only two places above the relegation spots before the game. In doing so, they had set an unwanted record of seven straight defeats at home in the league. Throughout this time, however, manager Jim Bentley has constantly insisted that everyone associated with the club must pull together; that his is a young and inexperienced team and that all that is needed to transform the fortunes of his team is patience, luck and a little bit of guile on the field.

Morecambe have quite a poor record against the Pilgrims, having lost five of the eleven previous contests and winning only three. In sharp contrast to Morecambe, moreover, Derek Adams` team had been on a fine run of form until a surprising blip in their last two league games, both of which they have lost at Home Park. So would Saturday’s game end in another record defeat for the hosts? Or would the Pilgrims slip-up for the third time in a row?

Morecambe had the first chance in the opening minute of the game, when Cole Stockton`s decent attempt was well held by Jake McCormick in the visitors` goal. But the Pilgrims also looked lively going forward and McCormick`s opposite number Barry Roche made a good save up in his top corner after a quarter of an hour. After this, however, there was a spell of concerted Morecambe pressure, with no less than five corners being conceded by the visitors within the space of five minutes during which Aaron Wildig drew a tremendous save from McCormick who managed to stretch into his top corner to push away a clever and accurate lob. The home team`s pressure finally told though and Gary Miller fouled Dean Winnard in his own penalty area after twenty minutes. Referee Darren England duly pointed to the spot from which Michael Rose made no mistake to put the Shrimps into the lead. In an incident which would have ramifications later on, Jordan Slew was then booked for a foul on Rose with twenty-five minutes on the clock. Three minutes later, Rhys Turner`s tremendous volley from Peter Murphy`s cross smashed against the crossbar. Towards the end of the half, however, the Pilgrims started to play themselves back into the game and it was no surprise when Ozzie Threlkeld popped-up unmarked on the left side of the six yard box to head past a Morecambe goalkeeper who apparently admitted to his team-mates at half time he should have dealt with.

So the second half started all-square but the pivotal moment of the contest arrived in the second minute following the restart when the referee adjudged Slew to have dived in the Morecambe penalty area following a challenge from Roche. Mr England thus produced a second yellow card and sent the Pilgrim`s number eight from the field for an early bath. Against ten men, the Shrimps began to take over. First of all, Kevin Ellison hit a post with a fierce shot after 57 minutes and then Ryan Edwards came close with a header after an hour. The goal which seemed inevitable eventually arrived after 63 minutes when Rose took a corner kick from which Peter Murphy headed the ball powerfully past the Pilgrims` keeper. It could have got even worse for the visitors virtually straight from the re-start when Wildig hit the woodwork with a header when it seemed easier to put the ball in the net. Morecambe continued to press after this, with Stockton in particular prominent and even having a goal rightfully disallowed but right at the death, Roche atoned for his earlier aberration with a fine save from a Jake Jervis free-kick which actually went under the jumping Morecambe wall.

So it ended with a welcome and much-needed win for the Shrimps which pushed them back up into seventeenth place. Plymouth`s third defeat in a week saw them fall off the top perch – albeit only on goal-difference – to be replaced by Carlisle United.

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 2 Liam Wakefield (Y); 5 Ryan Edwards; 6 Dean Winnard; (Y); 8 Peter Murphy (C); 24 Michael Rose; 21 James Jennings; 18 Rhys Turner (19 Ntumba Massanka 84 mins); 15 Aaron Wildig (7 Paul Mullin 82 mins); 11 Kevin Ellison (Y) (3 Aaron McGowan 94 mins); 23 Cole Stockton.

Subs not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 14 Luke Conlan; 10 Lee Molyneux; 27 Luke Jordan.

Plymouth Argyle: 23 Jake McCormick; 2 Gary Miller; 5 Nauris Bulvitis (19 Karleigh Osborne 75 mins); 15 Sonny Bradley; 18 Oscar Threlkeld; 4 Yann Songo`o; 14 Jake Jervis (Craig Tanner 88 mins); 10 Gordon Carey (Paul Garita 72 mins); 6 Connor Smith; 11 Ryan Donaldson (Y); 8 Jordan Slew (R).

Subs not used: 7 David Goodwillie; 20 Louis Rooney; 21 Vincent Dorel; 24 David Fox.
Ref: Darren England