Date: 8th August 2015 at 5:15pm
Written by:

Morecambe`s record against Hartlepool United isn`t one to write home about. The only time they had ever beaten the North Eastern side was last season at Victoria Park, when Jack Redshaw – now departed to troubled local rivals Blackpool – scored two goals with no reply. At home last March, the Shrimps contrived to lose to a team which seemed doomed to relegation at the time. To be fair to Ronnie Moore`s team, however, this was the beginning of a miraculous run of results which saw Pools go from seven points adrift of the pack at the time of the game to safety and twenty-second place by the end of the campaign.

It didn`t start well on Saturday for the visitors. Captain Peter Murphy – in his first League game for the Shrimps – limped-off after just ten minutes with what looked like it might be a serious injury. The re-organised defence was soon tested and Barry Roche – returning after a serious injury of his own which kept him out of contention for most of last season – was beaten by a Billy Paynter header from a cross by Rakish Bingham after twenty-five minutes. Morecambe had chances to equalise before the break, most notably when Lee Molyneux hit the bar from a free kick and then when Jamie Devitt squandered another really good opportunity just before the break.

Paul Mullin missed with a header from about six yards out shortly after the restart when he might have done better and the visitors continued to press throughout the half. With 65 minutes played, however, the game was effectively settled when Paynter returned Bingham`s earlier favour by playing him in to find the back of the net with a shot which went under Roche`s body after a bad mistake from substitute Alex Kenyon. The visitors still produced plenty of chances – such as when Kevin Ellison hit the bar with a shot just before the end – but were unable to find the net. So it was a disappointing start to the season for the Shrimps. Jim Bentley`s team created lots of opportunities but he must be concerned with the recent loss of Redshaw and his failure to replace him with a proven top-quality striker.

Hartlepool United: 13 Adam Bartlett; 21 Michael Duckworth (Y); 5 Scott Harrison (Y); 4 Harry Worley; 3 Jake Carroll; 16 Nicky Featherstone; 2 Carl Magnay (Y); 14 Michael Woods; 10 Billy Paynter; 17 Scott Fenwick (Y) (23 Connor Smith 81 mins); 9 Rakish Bingham (15 Rhys Oates 87 mins).

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 2 Sean Beeley; 6 Ryan Edwards (Y); 22 Andy Parrish; 19 Laurence Wilson; 8 Peter Murphy (C) (Alex Kenyon – 11 mins); 15 Aaron Wildig; 7 Jamie Devitt; 10 Lee Molyneux (16 Shaun Miller 70 mins); 11 Kevin Ellison; 12 Paul Mullin (Y) (21 Jack Ryan 84 mins). Substitutes: 20 Tony Thompson; 3 Aaron McGowan; 13 Alan Goodall; 17 Andy Fleming.

Ref: Darren England