MORECAMBE suffered a second successive home defeat when they went down to Newport County.
A penalty from Ryan Bird on 66 minutes was enough to give Newport the points to spoil Jim Bentley's celebrations on his 300th game in charge of the Shrimps.
Bentley made four changes from the side beaten by Yeovil Town last time out with Liam Wakefield, Andrew Fleming, Michael Rose and Rhys Turner back in the starting XI. Peter Murphy, Lee Molyneux, Aaron Wildig and Michael Duckworth were the men to make way as the Shrimps also switched from a back three to four in defence.
The first half was end to end with Newport creating the greater chances but were denied on four occasions by home keeper Barry Roche.
Morecambe started well with Rhys Turner seeing a second minute shot cleared off the line by Sid Nelson and Antony Evans forcing a full stretch save from Chris Day.
Mike Flynn’s side came back into the game and went close on several occasions with Mark O’Brien volleying over twice before Roche was called into action to deny Seaan Rigg, Alex Samuel and Tom Owen-Evans.
Ryan Bird headed inches wide before the home side almost opened the scoring with the last kick of the game with Evans hitting the crossbar with a swerving long range shot that beat Day.
The second half started in the same frenetic fashion as the first with Dean Winnard clearing Bird’s shot off the line and Mullin’s curling effort tipped behind by Day at the other end. Roche pushed out Rigg’s shot and Evans fired off target before the decisive moment came midway through the half.
Referee Peter Bankes deemed Whitmore’s clumsy challenge a foul and Bird sent his penalty down the middle. Bentley rang the changes in an attempt to get something from the game with substitute Lee Molyneux twice having attempts blocked.
Rose was narrowly wide from 25 yards but it was County who came closest to scoring again with Jazzi Barnum-Bobb inches off target from 18 yards. Despite seven minutes of added time, the Shrimps’ efforts came to nothing and their miserable March continued.
Morecambe: Roche, Wakefield (Duckworth 54), Edwards, Whitmore, Winnard, Fleming, Rose, Turner, Evans (Murphy 78), Ellison (Molyneux 67), Mullin. Subs not used: Nizic, McGowan, Conlan, Wildig.
Newport County: Day, Pipe, O’Brien (Barnum-Bobb 80), Nelson, Butler, Owen-Evans, Bennett, Labadie, Rigg (Demetriou 70), Bird, Samuel. Subs not used: Bittner, Jackson, Gordon, Williams, Randall.
Referee: Peter Bankes