Date: 16th April 2016 at 5:14pm
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Until the beginning of this season, it might have saved everyone a lot of time, effort, money – and sheer frustration for Shrimps` fans – if Jim Bentley had simply put six League points in an envelope and posted them to opposite number John Coleman for the last eight years and not bothered playing the scheduled matches between their two clubs. Because – with arguably only Dagenham & Redbridge to compete with them – Stanley are without doubt Morecambe`s absolute Nemesis as far as League Two are concerned. Whereas the Shrimps just roll over and die every time it ever really matters as far as the East London club are concerned, the East Lancashire team had never lost to the visitors from the county`s coast in sixteen matches before the start of this season. But the bubble finally burst when the side managed by Morecambe`s record scorer of all time finally lost to their nearest geographical rivals at the Globe Arena last August by the only goal of the game. Stanley are on a fine run of form currently, however, and started the game in third position: an automatic promotion slot. The visitors, on the other hand, have shown relegation form this calendar year and went into Saturday`s game without regular goalkeeper Barry Roche, who was sent off for the second time in three weeks last Saturday during their latest heavy defeat at home against Hartlepool.

But in local derbies like this, form goes out of the window more often than not. And so it proved to start off with again today. Morecambe had the better of things at least initially and took the lead after twelve minutes when current leading scorer Shaun Miller worked his way into the Stanley area and placed an excellent shot into the top right corner of Ross Etheridge`s goal with his left foot. The lead didn`t last that long though and Josh Windass equalised after 21 minutes with another fine shot diagonally across the Morecambe penalty area. He came close again when his shot hit the post and bounced to safety just seven minutes later as Accrington gradually took control of the contest.

It didn`t take long for Stanley to take the lead once the second half started. The impressive Windass was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by Andy Parrish after two and a half minutes and he stepped-up to score from the spot himself as stand-in goalkeeper Keiran O`Hara went the wrong way. Whilst the hailstones fell on the away supporters as they stood on the uncovered visitors` end, the game ebbed and flowed on the pitch. Kevin Ellison wasted an opportunity for an unchallenged header from a Lee Molyneux corner after seventy-two minutes but Tom Barkhuizen (pronounced `Barzoozoo` for whatever reason by the stadium announcer) who had never given up all afternoon – equalised after seventy-eight minutes when he converted a half chance against the run of play, drawing Etheridge out of his goal before confidently placing a low shot past him to score in the bottom corner. Both teams had chances after this; Lee Molyneux shooting over the bar after 84 minutes and Andrew Proctor doing the same thing at the other end before Windass left Aaron McGowan for dead with three scheduled minutes remaining and put a low cross over which any one of a number of onrushing Stanley players seemed bound to convert. The ball ended up hitting the post, however, possibly off O`Hara`s knee. Morecambe were perhaps also lucky not to concede another penalty during injury time but at the end of the game it was 2-2. Jim Bentley will obviously be happier with the result – and his team`s battling performance – than fellow Scouser John Coleman would be. Accrington slipped out of the automatic promotion positions to fourth having dropped two points; Morecambe remained nineteenth.
Ref: Scott Duncan