Date: 2nd September 2018 at 10:34am
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Morecambe Bury-ed at Gigg Lane.

Morecambe travelled to Bury today to find themselves facing a team whose Manager was literally nowhere to be seen in the opposition’s stadium. Ryan Lowe has been banned from Gigg Lane for this – and one further – game after being fined and banned for something he upset the FA about some time ago.

His team – relegated from League One last May – started this season’s campaign well enough by beating Yeovil by the only game of the match at home in August. Since then, though, they have only picked-up one more League Two point, having lost all three of their other fixtures in the competition. In this regard, the Shakers’ start had been only slightly better than today’s opponent’s has been.

Morecambe have just three points to show for their five league games so far and started today’s match in twenty-second position in the table, three places lower than today’s host’s. Their poor start to the season is largely down to defensive lapses at key times in games but, most of all, the inability of the team to put the ball in the back of the net. Jim Bentley thus signed 20 year-old Wigan Athletic striker Joe Piggot on-loan this week in another bid to break the log-jam up front, which so far has produced just one goal in the League. He must have been encouraged by recent performances, though. At times, his team has played some penetrative, intelligent football – all it seems to need is someone confident and skilful enough to finish some good approach work off. Famous Last Words indeed – it’s not rocket science: the reason most football teams struggle at any level is if they can’t score enough goals…

History sees the Shrimps just shading the results in previous fixtures. In sixteen previous contests, they have won seven and lost six.

The Shakers also started with a new striker in their ranks: Caolan Lavery has been signed on-loan this week from Sheffield United and – just like Piggott did for the visitors -came off the bench during the second half to make his debut for them today.

Bury had the best of the first half and asked all the questions in the opening period with Danny Mayor looking constantly dangerous down the host’s left flank and drawing the first save of the game from returnee Barry Roche in the Shrimps’ net after just three minutes. Nicky Adams then attacked down the Bury right and slung over a cross which Morecambe’s big goalkeeper had to palm away for a corner after six minutes. From the set-piece, the ball was cleared to Carlos Mendes-Gomes. The youngster – making his first start from the off in League Two today – streaked down the pitch but finally over-hit the ball, allowing Joe Murphy in the home goal to leave his line and smother it. With the home team continuing to shade the play, Roche had to save from Neil Danns with a quarter of an hour or so played. He was then was forced to get down sharply to his right to parry a smart shot from Dominic Telford shortly afterwards. A goal had been coming with Morecambe continually on the back foot and it duly arrived after 29 minutes. From a corner, Roche again did well to push a shot from Chris Stokes onto the bar but the rebound fell kindly for Adam Thompson to sweep home to put the home team into a deserved lead. The Shrimps’ keeper did well to deflect a header from one of his own defenders away to safety with 34 minutes played. Four minutes later though, Bury were caught sleeping after a free-kick. They failed to clear the ball; Andy Fleming forced a save from Murphy and Rhys Oates managed to score an unlikely equaliser when he bundled the ball over the line at the far post. The visitors might have actually taken the lead three minutes later when the visiting supporters loudly shouted for a penalty when Jason Oswell appeared to have been impeded by the joint efforts of Thompson and Will Aimson but Referee Ben Toner gave nothing. Telford was in the right place at the right time after 44 minutes, however, and swept a low cross into the Morecambe box low past a despairing Big Baz to his left hand side. So Bury went in with a lead at half time even though they may have been pegged-back again during injury time when Murphy did well to keep out Oates again with a fine save.

Oates was the first player to try his luck after three minutes of the restart – his shot went harmlessly wide on this occasion though. Two minutes later, Fleming fed the same player again and Murphy was forced to make a save with his feet. With Bury proving wasteful with a succession of half-chances, Morecambe were limited to the occasional efforts from set-pieces. With three minutes scheduled to play, Telford made the game safe for the Shakers when he finished a fine move involving Miller and Danns via the crossbar. But Morecambe weren’t finished yet. They gave themselves at least a sniff of an unlikely draw when Liam Mandeville scored in injury time with a sumptuous shot past Murphy and into the top corner of the net. But it was too little, too late for the visitors and Bury held out to win 3-2.

Morecambe’s fifth defeat in six league games saw them stay where they were at the beginning of the match: in 22nd place in League Two. Already, Shrimps’ fans must be hoping that there are at least two worse teams in the division than themselves. With Macclesfield and Notts County also losing today, this may not be a totally forlorn hope. Having said that, although Jim Bentley’s team managed to score twice today, they still look both fragile up front and shaky at the back. Appropriately, I suppose, give the nickname of today’s opponents, who ended-up in fifteenth place in the table …

Bury: 1 Joe Murphy; 5 Adam Thompson; 4 Will Aimson; 3 Chris Stokes; 7 Nicky Adams; 8 Stephen Dawson (12 Callum Styles 44 mins); 31 Neil Danns (C); 21 Callum McFadzean; 11 Chris Dagnall (32 Caolan Lavery 62 mins); 10 Danny Mayor (2 Tom Miller 72 mins); 18 Dominic Telford.

Subs not used: 13 Mathew Hudson; 9 Jermaine Beckford; 26 Jay O’Shea; 15 Byron Moore;

Morecambe: Barry Roche (C); 2 Zak Mills; 3 Luke Conlan; 5 Steven Old; 14 Josef Yarney; 8 Andy Fleming; 19 Carlos Mendes-Gomes (11 Kevin Ellison 63 mins); 12 Jason Oswell (24 Joe Piggott 69); 15 Aaron Wildig; 17 Liam Mandeville; 18 Rhys Oates (9 Vadaine Oliver 69 mins).

Subs not used: 21 Mark Halstead; 25 Ben Hedley; 27 Jordan Cranston; 16 Sam Lavelle.

Ref: Ben Toner.

3242 (298 from Morecambe)