Date: 6th November 2016 at 4:43pm
Written by:

The first game ever played at the Globe Arena five years ago was between Morecambe and Coventry City in the League Cup at a time when City were still a notable scalp for Sammy McIlroy`s team to take – and they duly did so by two goals to nil. Since then, the two teams have met in the FA Cup as well – the Sky Blues took the spoils on this occasion with a 2-1 win three years ago.

During the intervening period, both teams have suffered lots of problems of one sort or another. The move from Christie Park to the Globe Arena could not be described as a success with a succession of home defeats season after season and attendances which have shrunk exponentially at the same time: the average this season is virtually a third of what it had been during the last season at late lamented Crusty. Off the field, a change of ownership during the last few weeks has resulted in a position where none of Morecambe`s staff have been paid during the last eight days – a worrying situation which the Professional Footballers Association and the EFL among others are currently trying to resolve.

Coventry, on the other hand, have found themselves in even more dire straits. Having been basically frozen-out of the successor to long term home Highfield Road, the Ricoh Arena, the Sky Blues found themselves playing their home games in Northampton three years ago whilst fans made concerted efforts including current Blackpool/Oyston-type boycotts of the Sixfields` games in protest about the way their club was being mismanaged. Although the team has been playing at the Ricoh again in recent times, Rugby Union team Wasps have moved in as well and are agitating to turn the ground into a rugby-only venue. On the pitch, City`s fortunes have matched those off the field with a succession of managers in recent times and a slide through the divisions to League One. Since the latest one – experienced campaigner Tony Mowbray – fell on his sword at the end of September at a time when Coventry were right at the bottom of League One, caretaker manager Mark Venus has steadied the ship with five wins and no losses in the seven games he had been in charge of before today.

Once Sunday`s match started, the visitors found themselves on the back foot for the whole of the first half. Lee Burge pulled-off the first of a series of excellent saves after just five minutes when he turned a shot from Cole Stockton round the post and did even better just four minutes later when he performed a miracle to deny Morecambe captain Peter Murphy. From the resulting corner, Stockton headed against the bar and Burge found himself helpless again when Murphy came even closer, striking a shot against the angle of bar and post after 37 minutes with another shot. The visiting goalkeeper was a mere spectator once more when defender Jordan Willis did really well to block a goalbound strike from Aaron Wildig on the City line just three minutes later. But despite all the home team`s pressure, the first half ended all square and goalless.

It was a different story in the second half and the visitors started to belatedly assert the superiority which their higher League status should theoretically give them. After four minutes of the restart, Marvin Sordell approached the home goal down the Coventry left and unleashed a shot which was blocked for a corner. From this, the City forward`s deflected shot crashed against the bar but Morecambe survived. The Shrimps went on to take the lead against the run of play after an hour when, following a corner from their right, Coventry failed to clear the ball and Dean Winnard was able to sidefoot the ball home from the right hand side of the goal from his point of view. City continued to play the better stuff despite this setback and Barry Roche did well to save low down from Ruben Lameiras after 64 minutes. With 72 minutes on the clock, Newcastle United loanee Jamie Sterry scored his first goal for the Sky Blues when he unleashed a shot from the Coventry left which swerved round Roche and nestled in the net in front of the massed ranks of City fans at the eastern end of the ground. Both teams had further half chances before the end of the game but a draw was probably a fair reflection of Morecambe`s domination of the first half and Coventry`s control of the second in a contest which was always good to watch.

Both teams` names will thus go into the Second Round draw on Monday night. The replay will take place at the Ricoh Arena on a date still to be announced.

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 3 Aaron McGowan; 6 Dean Winnard; 16 Alex Whitmore (Y); 21 James Jennings; 24 Michael Rose; 8 Peter Murphy (C) (Y); 9 Tom Barkhuizen; 15 Aaron Wildig (7 Paul Mullin 67 mins); 10 Lee Molyneux (20 Jack Dunn 75 mins); 23 Cole Stockton.

Subs not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 2 Liam Wakefield; 14 Luke Conlan; 17 Andy Flaming; 18 Ben Turner;.

Coventry City: 1 Lee Burge; 30 Dion Kelly-Evans; 2 Jordan Willis (C); 4 Jordan Turnbull; 22 Jamie Sterry (Y); 31 Ben Stevenson; 6 Andy Rose; 8 Ruben Lameiras (Y); 11 Kyel Reid (19 Jack McBean 45 mins); 21 Andre Wright (35 Callum Maycock 77mins); 17 Marvin Sordell.

Subs not used: 23 Reice Charles-Cook; 18 Sam Ricketts; 29 Cian Harries; 10 Jodi Jones; 20 Marcus Tudgay
Ref: Andy Haines