Date: 10th October 2015 at 5:10pm
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Morecambe Manager Jim Bentley used to clean opposition boss Keith Curle`s boots when he was a trainee at Manchester City. He said of the Carlisle Manager before the game: “He`s a fellah I’ve got a lot of respect for. He had a good career playing wise and now he`s having a good career coaching wise.”

United started Saturday`s game at Brunton Park on a fine run of form. They were eighth in League Two at the start of the match and had lost just one of their last eleven games in scheduled play – at home against bottom league club Newport, strangely enough. Impressively, the recent victories have included one over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road in the League Cup and their subsequent draw at Anfield after extra time probably didn`t do Brendan Rogers` prospects of remaining Liverpool Manager a lot of good even though the Reds won finally on penalties. Historically, they also have a fine record against today`s visitors: in seven previous meetings, they have never lost.

So the omens weren`t good for Morecambe, whose own league form has seen them drop out of the play-off positions to fourteenth in recent times, largely due to poor home form. Last Tuesday at Bury, however, the Shrimps beat a strong League One team in the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy to progress to the next round. As all supporter of the Lancashire club know as well, losing streaks have to come to an end sooner or later – as evinced by the Shrimps` win over long-standing nemesis Accrington Stanley earlier in the season.

It was a fairly even first half with the play sweeping from one end to the other. After three minutes, Danny Grainger just might have used his hand to control a cross from the Morecambe flank but at the other end, Carlisle hit the bar almost immediately afterwards with a shot which had beaten Barry Roche in the visitors` goal. After 23 minutes, the hosts took the lead when Grainger`s possibly slightly mishit effort from the edge of the penalty area swerved past the big Irishman and into the bottom left hand corner of his goal. The game continued to flow and the Morecambe bench were again appealing for a penalty when a shot from Shaun Miller also seemed to hit a Carlisle hand. Down at the other end, though, Jason Kennedy cleverly lobbed Roche only for Ryan Edwards to brilliantly clear the ball from the goal line. With 34 minutes played, Miller pounced on a mistake from Macauley Gillesphey in the centre of United`s defence, collected the defender`s poor clearance and beat Mark Gillespie with a shot from the edge of the penalty area into the corner of the net to even things up. This was the third goal in three games that the new boy has scored for Morecambe and his goal ended the meaningful action of the first half.

The pattern of play changed in the second half as Keith Curle had clearly decided that an aerial barrage was the way to break down Morecambe`s defence. The Shrimps, however, continued to play on the break and the first two chances both fell to Tom Barkhuizen. He fashioned his own chance firstly after fifty-eight minutes only to screw a left-footed shot wide of the Blues` goal and then failed to get the ball out of his feet when played in by Miller a couple of minutes later. But if at first you don`t succeed? Jamie Devitt played him in again with a sublime pass after good work from Kevin Ellison with just over an hour played and Tom took on Gillespie one on one and beat him confidently to put the visitors 1-2 up. It got even better for the Shrimps after 73 minutes when – following two corners in quick succession – Devitt chipped the ball into the centre for Miller to sweep in his second goal of the contest from close range. At the other end, Derek Asamoah was booked for diving in the penalty area after and hour and Roche was rarely troubled as his counterpart at the other end stopped Morecambe going even further ahead with smart saves from both Miller and Devitt. Asamoah reduced the arrears with virtually the last kick of the game with a low shot from a long way out but it was too little, too late for Carlisle. So – for the first time ever – they lost to their nearest southern rivals. Today, for Jim Bentley at least, the boot was well and truly on the other foot. The result pushes Morecambe back up the table into eleventh position; United drop to ninth.