Date: 16th January 2016 at 9:33pm
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Morecambe`s game at Huish Park last September marked the first time they had played Yeovil in the Football League. Morecambe won 2-4 and both striker Shaun Jeffers and their Manager of the time, Paul Sturrock, were sent off. Since then, there have been many changes at the Somerset club, most notably the replacement of Mr Sturrock by Darren Way. The Glovers` lemming-like fall through the football league started three years ago in the Championship and has showed little sign of stopping despite the recent change in management: before kick-off on Saturday, the Glovers were next to bottom of the League Two table: in other words, in even more dire peril of relegation than they had been in September. Their form before today`s match wasn`t too bad however. Last Saturday at Blackpool, they managed to draw against poor old Carlisle in the FA Cup and they have only lost once in their last five league games, drawing three of the others.

Before the game, Manager Way was up-beat – as well he might be when the carrot of a match at home against Everton lies before him if his team can overcome Carlisle next Tuesday at Huish Park in the FA Cup replay. He was in the crowd which saw the Shrimps draw at home against Exeter earlier in the week and expressed confidence that his players were good enough to both win against Morecambe and stay in the Football League. On behalf of the team, Matty Dolan was even more positive; talking about `revenge` for September`s loss, he said before the game: “Hopefully we can nick a two-nil win and pinch three points”.

It`s easy to talk the talk but when the game started in flurries of snow blown in from the adjacent Irish Sea, Morecambe – fourteenth in the league before the game – showed that they had other ideas. Only six minutes were on the clock when the visitors` huge centre back and Captain, Darren Ward, was booked for a crude tackle on Andy Fleming. This set the tone of an often tetchy game in which five players were booked and there was argy-bargy between Francois Zoko and Shrimps Manager Jim Bentley on the pitch at the end of the match. This presumably revolved around an incident when the Yeovil forward lay prone on the pitch for several minutes during the second half but seemed to miraculously recover as soon as the match restarted: he didn`t make any friends in Lancashire and nor did he do himself any favours by effectively cheating in this way.

The Glovers should have taken the lead after just eight minutes when fussy referee Scott Duncan awarded what seemed to me at least to be a non-existent penalty to Yeovil for an alleged foul on Jeffers by Alan Goodall. Dolan`s boast from before the fixture must have come back to haunt him when Official Man Of The Match Barry Roche threw all of his substantial frame to his right and brilliantly stopped Yeovil`s number four`s spot-kick going low into the net, however, and justice was probably done.

As the surface became increasingly like a skating rink, both sides continued to seek openings and Shaun Miller hit the left hand base of Artur Krysak`s post from his point of view with a shot which beat the visiting keeper all ends up but bounced harmlessly away for a goal kick after half an hour. In the meantime, Jeffers had forced Roche into another outstanding save after 24 minutes. Just three minutes before the break, Kevin Ellison deflected a shot past Krysak into the net but the referee ruled the goal out for off-side.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first with both sides attempting to play progressive football in increasingly difficult conditions. Ellison put the ball in the net again after about an hour only to have it chalked-off once more by Mr Duncan, possibly unfairly this time. At the other end, though, Yeovil went ahead after a corner when it seemed to me that the ball had been knocked out of Roche`s hands before Ward bundled it into the net. But the home team`s protestations fell on deaf ears. With just twenty minutes left to play, Morecambe thus found themselves a goal down. They battled on with commendable spirit after this setback and Ellison scored with a tremendous volley on the swivel to level the score and prove the old adage about `third time lucky` after 74 minutes. The goal that won the game for the home team in the eightieth minute was absolutely sublime, however. Shaun Miller kept up his tremendous scoring form of late when he raced after a bouncing ball and feinted to shoot one way only – in almost the same movement – to take the covering defender and advancing goalkeeper out of the game with a shot which smashed into the back of the net before they had time even to think, let alone re-adjust. It was a fantastic effort and a fitting way for Morecambe to win a game they had been losing just a few minutes later. Yeovil upped the pace and threw on all their substitutes to try and retrieve the game at the end but it was too little too late even though they hit the post late on. So The Darren Way went off course. Again. Yeovil remain next to bottom and in serious trouble. Morecambe move one place up the table to thirteenth – and deservedly so.

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 22 Andy Parrish; 19 Lawrence Wilson; 4 Alex Kenyon; 6 Ryan Edwards (C); 5 Adam Dugdale; 7 Jamie Devitt (Y) (13 Alan Goodall 89 mins); 15 Aaron Wildig (12 Paul Mullin 48 mins); 16 Shaun Miller (Y); 17 Andy Fleming (Y); 11 Kevin Ellison.
Substitutes: 30 Keiran O`Hara; 23 Chris Doyle; 24 Luke Conlan; 25 Ben Hedley; 10 Lee Molyneux.

Yeovil Town: 1 Artur Krysak; 2 Ben Tozer; 4 Matty Dolan; 6 Jakub Sokolik; 10 Shaun Jeffers (9 Ryan Bird 91 minutes); 11 Ryan Dickson; 14 Jack Compton (19 Iffy Allen 80 minutes): 24 Connor Roberts; 25 Liam Walsh (Y) (16 Tahvon Campbell 86 minutes); 26 Darren Ward (C) (Y); 39 Francois Zoko.
Substitutes: 3 Nathan Smith; 8 Marc Laird; 12 Chris Weale; 21 Alex Lacey.