THE Shrimps produced an excellent away display to beat Crawley convincingly at the Checkatrade Stadium.
The Shrimps were 2-0 up after seven minutes and led 3-0 at the break thanks to two goals from Paul Mullin after Rhys Turner had headed them into a third minute lead.
The home side improved in the second half and got a lifeline in the 77th minute when James Collins scored his 18th of the season from the penalty spot – the seventh successive home game in which he had scored, but the Shrimps held on comfortably for a fine three points.
The Shrimps made five changes to the side that lost 1-0 against Barnet in midweek with Turner, Dean Winnard, Antony Evans, Andy Fleming and Liam Wakefield all returning to the side.
Michael Duckworth and Alex Kenyon were ruled out through injury with Kevin Ellison and Aaron Wildig on the bench and Peter Murphy suspended.
The Shrimps went ahead after just two minutes when Michael Rose crossed from the left and Turner was unmarked to plant a powerful close-range header past Glenn Morris.
It got better four minutes later. Antony Evans fed Mullin down the right and raced unchallenged into the box before sliding the ball through Morris’s legs.
Shrimps keeper Barry Roche saved Mark Connolly’s long-range effort at the second attempt before making a smart save from Collins’ powerful drive 15 yards out in the 26th minute.
But the visitors, well organised and potent on the break, went 3-0 up in the 40th minute. Morris pulled off a brilliant save to push away Mullin’s lob after Michael Rose had smashed the ball downfield and split the home defence. The reprieve didn’t last long. Crawley failed to clear the corner and Mullin’s shot took a deflection that took it beyond Morris’s despairing dive.
Dermot Drummy brought on Rhys Murphy for Kaby Djalo at the break but they nearly conceded a fourth in the 53rd minute when Morris had to come haring out of his goal to dispossess two Morecambe players.
Lee Molyneux side-footed wide from Antony Evans’ inviting cross and it wasn’t until the last 20 minutes before the home side finally began to threaten.
Rhys Murphy won the penalty in the 77th minute after drawing an off the ball foul from Andy Fleming and Collins buried the penalty into the bottom right-hand corner.
A minute later Josh Lelan squandered a great chance when a corner dropped to him but his volley went well wide and just about summed up a flat, lacklustre performance.
Man of the match Morris made a great reflex save to deny substitute Aaron Wildig and even though there were seven minutes of stoppage time the Shrimps held on comfortably.
Crawley: Morris; Young, Connolly, Lelan (sub: Bawling 90), Roberts; Henderson, Djalo (Murphy 45); Boldewijn, Smith, Cox (Clifford 70); Collins. Unused subs: Mersin, Payne, Blackman, Yorwerth.
Morecambe: Roche, Wakefield, Edwards, Whitmore, Winnard, Rose, Fleming, Evans (Wildig 68), Molyneux 7, Turner 7 (Ellison 60), Mullin (McGowan 90).
Subs not used: Nizic, Jordan, Hedley, Conlan.
Attendance: 2091 (49 Morecambe)
Ref: C Breakspear.