Date: 22nd November 2016 at 10:10pm
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Morecambe made four changes from their defeat at home against Luton last Saturday at Gresty Road on Tuesday night prior to their league clash with Crewe Alexandra. Following his red card on Saturday, Alex Whitmore was unavailable but Jim Bentley found starting places for Luke Conlan, Rhys Turner and Liam Wakefield as well as returnee from injury Aaron Wildig. Dean Winnard was not even on the bench and – among the various rumours which are currently sweeping the fans` chatrooms – murmurs of discontent concerning Liverpool loanee Jack Dunn`s situation at the club were hardly quashed by his name not appearing on the team sheet either.

The statistics as far as previous contests between the two teams were absolutely even, with three wins to each club and no draws in their previous meetings. The Railwaymen were ninth in League Two before the game, Morecambe in seventeenth position.

Before the game, Jim Bentley was typically positive and determined and brushed-off all talks of a crisis at the club saying that in difficult times, it was imperative that everyone associated with the Shrimps should pull together on and off the field. That the players were doing their bit was soon in evidence on the pitch and the visitors had the first attempt at goal from a free kick which saw Peter Murphy`s shot go just over the bar after a couple of minutes. As Crewe struggled to settle, it was no surprise when Turner marked his first ever start for the visitors` First Team with a fabulous run and shot after just eight minutes which beat Ben Garrett all ends up to bulge the top left hand corner of the home net. Just over ten minutes later, Barry Roche did well to save from Chris Dagnall after an excellent cross from Ryan Lowe but the Shrimps` goalkeeper was unable to keep Alex Kiwomya`s follow-up shot out of the net. So, after just nineteen minutes, Morecambe showed themselves unable to hold on to an away lead – just as was the case seven days ago at Coventry. The game ebbed and flowed after that but the next good chance arrived with just over half an hour on the clock when Cole Stockton forced a good save from Garratt low down in his bottom corner with a shot from outside the penalty area. It seemed that the game would end honours even at half time but just before the break, Oliver Turton slung over a cross from the wing and James Jones was the quickest to reach the ball and turn it past Roche from the centre of the area and quite close in with a deft flick. The hosts had a further attempt from Lowe which was too high after good work by Turton and George Cooper but Morecambe had the last word when Garratt did well to save a free kick from Michael Rose right at the end of the half.

The second half was a fairly even contest with both teams having chances but the evening was to end in what has become a regular disappointment for Shrimps` fans this calendar year: yet another defeat. Steve Davis` team`s win took them into the lowest of the play-off positions in seventh. Morecambe – many `experts“ tip for relegation this time out – slip to twentieth with just two points between themselves and a spot in the bottom two berths. If they don`t improve their appalling home form (seven defeats in a row) next Saturday against high-flying Plymouth Argyle – who surprisingly lost at home to Barnet tonight – the season`s early promise will be nothing more than a very distant memory and a bleak winter will almost inevitably ensue. Jim Bentley must be admired for his continuous enthusiasm and optimism but there is growing unease among many supporters that his squad is simply not good enough to compete at this level.

Crewe Alexandra: 1 Ben Garratt; 2 Oliver Turton; 3 Jon Guthrie; 4 Harry Davis; 7 Ryan Lowe (C); 8 James Jones; 9 Chris Dagnall (10 Callum Saunders 78 mins); 11 George Cooper (21 Ryan Wintle 88 mins); 15 Danny Hollands; 22 Alex Kiwomya (36 Tom Lowery 74 mins); 23 Perry Ng.

Subs not used: 13 Dave Richards; 6 Ben Nugent; 17 Daniel Udoh; 25 Callum Ainley;.

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 2 Liam Wakefield (Y); 3 Aaron McGowan; 5 Ryan Edwards (Y); 8 Peter Murphy (C); 14 Luke Conlan (10 Lee Molyneux 66 mins); 15 Aaron Wildig (11 Kevin Ellison 68 mins); 18 Rhys Turner (7 Paul Mullin 75 mins); 21 James Jennings; 23 Cole Stockton; 24 Michael Rose.

Subs not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 19 Ntumba Massanka; 25 Ben Hedley; 27 Luke Jordan.
Ref: Trevor Kettle.