THE Shrimps went down to their seventh successive Globe Arena league defeat when a goal in either half gave Luton the three points.
Shrimps boss Jim Bentley had made two changes from the side beaten in their FA Cup replay at Coventry City in midweek with Aaron McGowan and Peter Murphy back in the side in place of the injured Andy Fleming and Aaron Wildig.
Luton enjoyed the better of the opening period with Danny Hylton forcing Roche to make an early save with his feet before Morecambe’s defence had to block subsequent efforts from Hylton and Alex Gilliead.
After a sluggish opening the Shrimps were denied an excellent penalty claim when Murphy seemed to be hauled down by Alan Sheehan on the quarter-hour but the referee waved play on.
It was a decision that proved all the more irritating when the Shrimps found themselves behind on 26 minutes as Roche curled home from 20 yards.
A low save prevented an identical outcome four minutes later before the Shrimps finally began to assert themselves.
Ryan Edwards shot a yard over from distance and Cole Stockton’s effort was well saved by Christian Walton before yet more refereeing controversy with half-time approaching.
This time, a cross from the left was heading towards Aaron McGowan, who seemed to be impeded; again, however, nothing was given.
Kevin Ellison and Stockton were off target after the break before Luton doubled their lead on the hour.
Roche failed to deal with James Justin’s cross-cum-shot, palming it onto the bar, and Isaac Vassell was quickest to the loose ball.
Vassell found the side netting moments later as Luton looked for a third while, in contrast, the Shrimps could no nothing more than huff and puff.
Paul Mullin, Rhys Turner and Ntumba Massanka all came off the bench to little or no effect before the Shrimps’ day took a turn for the worse late on.
Having flown into one challenge, Whitmore then launched himself into a 50-50 tackle with Olly Lee and, despite appearing to play the ball, was shown a straight red card
Morecambe: Roche, Winnard, Edwards, Whitmore, McGowan, Murphy (Turner 71), Rose, Molyneux, Jennings, Ellison (Mullin 71), Stockton (Massanka 82). Substitutes: Nizic, Wakefield, Conlan, Dunn.
Luton Town: Walton, Justin, Mullins, Rea, Sheehan, Lea, Gilliead (Gray 86), McGeehan, Mpanzu (Smith 82), Vassell (Marriott 80), Hylton. Substitutes: King, O’Donnell, Mackail-Smith, McQuoid.
Referee: Ben Toner.