Date: 21st March 2017 at 9:49pm
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Morecambe`s arch Nemesis Accrington Stanley (who they have beaten just twice in 19 League Two games so far) visited the Globe Arena on Tuesday night looking for revenge for the Shrimps` first ever EFL victory at the Crown Ground at the beginning of the season. Stanley – Play-Off losers last term – struggled initially this time around and a measure of Shrimps` all-time leading scorer and current Stanley Manager John Coleman`s problems is the fact that whilst about half of his promotion-chasing team of last year have departed for Pastures New, players such as Morecambe reject Mark Hughes (sent off in the reverse fixture last August) have become mainstream choices. No wonder they were struggling near the bottom than the top of League Two until about the turn of the year. Since then, they have started to pick up and before today`s contest, the Accies were one position lower than their opponents – in sixteenth position in League Two – having lost only one of ten league games during 2017 and having been unbeaten so far this month. With Danijel Nizic called-up by the Australian Under 23 side, substitute goalkeeper Nial Maher warmed the bench for the first time for Morecambe – John Coleman, on the other hand, was without the services of the influential Scott Brown, who was suspended after an appeal against the red card he received at Cheltenham on Saturday was rejected.

On a very heavy pitch and with squally, freezing sleet occasionally sweeping across the ground, Stanley had the best of the early exchanges and the first good chance after four minutes. Jordan Clark slipped but recovered well to feed Crystal Palace loanee Noor Husin whose instant shot beat Barry Roche all ends up but hit the inside of the post and bounced harmlessly away. In what is normally a feisty encounter, Alex Whitmore was lucky to escape with merely a booking following a high tackle on Shay McCartan which left the visiting player needing treatment on the pitch. With quarter of an hour played, the visitors looked very much like a team on an eight-match unbeaten run and the Shrimps like a team which have lost their last four on the spin. It continued in the same vein with Sean McConville shooting just over the bar from the edge of the area with sixteen minutes played before Aaron Wildig took the first shot of the game for the hosts two minutes later: it went harmlessly wide. Down the other end, it remained one-way traffic and McConville came close again with a chip which just missed after twenty-four minutes and then McCartan blasted a shot narrowly over the bar just four minutes later. It was pretty scrappy most of the time and Morecambe looked as if they were going to survive with a goalless draw right into injury time but McCartan scored direct from a free kick with a tremendous shot in what turned out to be the last action of the half to send the visitors into the dressing rooms with a deserved lead at the break. The free kick was awarded for a foul on the scorer by Peter Murphy but the referee booked Kevin Ellison for it. Should have gone to you-know-where…

Morecambe played with a lot more commitment right from the off in the second period and had the ball in the net early on only to have it ruled-out for offside. As the Shrimps started to ramp-up the pressure, though, Stanley caught them on the hop in the sixty-sixth minute when Alex Whitmore allowed the ball to bounce in the centre of the pitch only for McCartan to pinch the ball, run past him and confidently place it past Roche into the net to put the visitors two-nil up. At the other end, Fulham`s Marek Rodak made the first save of his evening for Stanley as late as the seventy-fifth minute, doing well to turn a shot hit by Kevin Ellison with his less favoured right foot away for a corner. With eight minutes still scheduled to play, however, Aaron Wildig gave the Shrimps some hope with a tremendous shot and goal following a good pass from Andy Fleming. Rodak then came to the Accies` rescue with a world-class save from Michael Rose, tipping the ball over the bar as it headed for the top corner of the net after 84 minutes. From the resulting set piece, Ellison appeared to inadvertently stop a goal-bound header going in when it hit him on the line. As Morecambe threw the kitchen sink at them, Stanley found themselves very much on the back foot during the closing stages. It was too little, too late for the Shrimps though and Accrington headed back to the east of Lancashire with all three points again. The win makes them unbeaten in nine games and allows the Accies to leap-frog over tonight`s opponents into fourteenth place. Morecambe`s fifth loss in a row saw them slip to sixteenth position in League Two.

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 5 Ryan Edwards (Y); 16 Alex Whitmore (Y); 6 Dean Winnard (14 Luke Conlan (Y) 70 mins); 19 Michael Duckworth; 8 Peter Murphy (C) (17 Andy Fleming 56 mins); 18 Rhys Turner; 24 Michael Rose; 10 Lee Molyneux (7 Paul Mullin 55 mins); 15 Aaron Wildig; 11 Kevin Ellison (Y).

Subs not used: 20 Nial Maher; 2 Liam Wakefield; 3 Aaron McGowan; 17 Luke Jordan.

Accrington Stanley: 12 Marek Rodak; 2 Matty Pearson; 3 Mark Hughes; 5 Omar Beckles; 7 Jordan Clark; 10 Shay McCartan; 11 Sean McConville; 16 Noor Husin; 28 Seamus Conneely (C) (30 Janoi Donacien 72 mins); 29 Billy Kee; 32 Harvey Rodgers (Y).

Subs not used: 20 Aaron Chapman; 9 Terry Gornell; 14 Romauld Boco; 18 Steven Hewitt; 19 Brayden Shaw; 24 Sean Edwards.
Ref: Oliver Langford