Date: 31st December 2016 at 11:01am
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Struggling Morecambe visited fellow dullards Hartlepool United on Friday night to face a team which had not won a league match since November 22. The Shrimps` off the field problems are well documented but Jim Bentley`s embattled side pulled off a commendable win at Mansfield Town last Saturday to allay at least some of their mounting worries about survival in the EFL – actual survival in any shape or form being an increasing concern as the weeks go by and their new Brazilian owner continues his Invisible Man act into the new year.

On the field, there were several points to be made by home players, none less than Padraig Amond (allowed to leave Morecambe to the anger of many Shrimps fans just over a year ago) and Lewis Allesandra, who refused a new contract on reduced terms when the Lancashire club`s finances first started to decline two years or so ago. Pools Manager Craig Hignett put Amond back in the starting lineup for this evening`s match and brought Allesandra off the bench after an hour to remind Shrimps` fans and their Manager alike of what they are missing.

Irishman Amond duly delivered with a goal after just ten minutes: a splendid volley following a clever spin and turn which looped over fellow countryman Barry Roche in the Morecambe goal. Just four minutes later, Ryan Edwards made an uphill task for the visitors even steeper when he was adjudged by referee Seb Stockbridge to have handled Jake Carroll`s cross in his own penalty area. After the game, his Manager complained that Edwards himself was being pushed at the time but the referee pointed to the spot in any case. United missed their last penalty but tonight, Billy Paynter made no mistake as Roche dived the wrong way. Things got even worse for the Shrimps when Hartlepool found themselves three-nil up after just 24 minutes. Returning midfielder Michael Woods played a deft pass to Nicky Featherstone, who got behind Morecambe`s defence and scored with aplomb in a beautifully finished move.

Could it get any worse for the visitors? Given all the problems on and off the pitch, it would perhaps not be too surprising if their hammering at this point turned into a total rout. But Morecambe showed commendable composure when they belatedly started to play their way back into the match. Rhys Turner could – and probably should – have reduced the arrears just before half time but hit the bar instead of the back of the net from a few yards out and after seven minutes of the re-start, Andy Fleming scored for the second game in a row with a deflected shot after a mix-up in the Pools defence. They continued to press, with Kevin Ellison and substitute Paul Mullin causing increasing problems for the home defence but when Edwards atoned for his earlier error with another goal deep in injury time, it was too little too late. So the game ended in disappointment for Morecambe who are now level on points with their opponents but one position lower – in nineteenth place – because of their poorer goal difference.

Hartlepool United: 1 Trevor Carson; 26 Scott Harrison; 22 Aristote Nsiala (Y); 33 Liam Donnelly; 18 Lewis Hawkins; 14 Michael Woods (Y) (28 Josh Laurent 82 mins); 4 Nicky Featherstone; 17 Nicky Deverdics (11 Rhys Oates 72 mins); 3 Jake Carroll; 9 Padraig Amond; 10 Billy Paynter (15 Lewis Alessandra 59 mins).

Subs not used: 13 Adam Bartlett; 19 Jordan Richards; 8 Brad Walker; 20 Jake Orrell.

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 3 Aaron McGowan; 5 Ryan Edwards; 6 Dean Winnard (Y); 8 Peter Murphy (C); 11 Kevin Ellison; 14 Luke Conlan (7 Paul Mullin 31 mins); 17 Andy Fleming; 18 Rhys Turner (15 Aaron Wildig 73 mins); 21 James Jennings (10 Lee Molyneux 66 mins); 24 Michael Rose.

Subs not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 2 Liam Wakefield; Whitmore, 19 Ntumba Massanka.

Subs not used: 27 Luke Jordan; 10 Lee Molyneux.
Ref: Seb Stockbridge