Ten man Shrimps brave in defeat
Morecambe’s last home game of the season ended in disappointment as they lost 2-0 against a struggling Torquay side at the Globe Arena.
Teenage defender Chris Doyle was sent off on his first senior start for the club, before Stewart Drummond’s back-pass rolled under the foot of Barry Roche in a horrific five minute spell for the Shrimps.
Substitute Ashley Yeoman completed the scoring for the visitors, who now sit two points above the relegation zone, while the Shrimps remain 16th in League Two.
Jim Bentley made three changes to the side which lost 2-0 at Accrington Stanley last Friday night, as Ryan Williams and Lewis Alessandra returned to the starting line-up while Jordan Burrow dropped to the bench.
The Morecambe boss handed Doyle his first start in a Morecambe shirt and he lined up alongside Drummond in defence, with Will Haining and Chris McCready both ruled out through injury.
It was a bright start to proceedings at the Globe Arena with Torquay in need of three points to move them away from the relegation zone and the Shrimps aiming to impress in their last home game of the campaign.
Despite both sides throwing bodies forward, chances were limited in the early exchanges and a booking handed to Doyle was the only incident of note.
The Shrimps began to gain a foothold on the game however, with neat passing play between Williams and Andy Fleming but a counter attack from the visitors turned the game on its head.
On-loan forward Elliot Benyon escaped beyond the Morecambe defence and after a tangle of legs with Doyle, the striker tumbled to the ground and referee Darren Bond immediately showed the young defender a straight red card.
Andy Wright switched to centre-back to fill the void left by Doyle, but a lack of organisation at the back saw the Shrimps fall behind in comical circumstances just five minutes later.
After a Rene Howe header fell harmlessly to Drummond, the veteran midfielder sent a routine pass-back to Roche, but the Morecambe keeper failed to control the ball and it trickled under his foot to give the visitors a vital lead.
With the Morecambe fans incensed by some controversial refereeing decisions the game became scrappy and Torquay looked capable of doubling their lead.
The home fans’ frustration grew even more just before the break after Aaron Downes pulled back Jack Redshaw and was only handed a yellow card.
That anger nearly turned to joy seconds later though, as Williams’ long range free-kick was parried over the bar by Torquay keeper Michael Poke and the Shrimps went in behind at the break.
The Shrimps came out better organised after the interval and straight away set about testing Poke in what was a frantic start to the second half.
Drummond headed yards over from a Williams free-kick, while at the other end Billy Bodin shot narrowly wide with a powerful effort.
The Shrimps continued to push forward despite playing with ten men and came within inches of finding an equaliser ten minutes after the restart when Wright unleashed a ferocious volley which hit the inside of the post and flew away from goal.
Bentley’s men did not have it all their own way though and on the break former Morecambe striker Howe turned well inside the box, but his shot went across Roche and Bodin failed to make anything of the loose ball.
Ryan Jarvis’ drilled shot then shaved the top of the Morecambe crossbar, before Kevin Ellison saw his 25 yard volley dip just inches wide of the post as both sides targeted a goal.
With no time for a breather Torquay then sent men forward and Bodin hit the side netting when put in on goal by Howe, before the visitors did find the back of the Morecambe net for a second time.
Yeoman – who had only been on the field for a minute – showed a burst of pace and tricked his way past Drummond, before calmly side footing across Roche into the bottom right corner.
The travelling Torquay fans, now in full voice, sensed that they were close to League Two survival but that did not stop the Shrimps trying to find a way back into the game.
First, Williams’ free-kick went up and over the wall before flashing a yard over the bar, and then penalty appeals from the home side were waved away after Burrow appeared to be thrown to the ground.
There was still time for Bentley to hand a senior debut to promising full-back Aaron McGowan and Williams came close with another free-kick, but this time Poke parried behind for a corner.
The Shrimps now face Southend in their final game of the campaign next weekend, as they try to earn one more point which will equal last season’s tally.
Morecambe: Roche; Wright, Doyle, Drummond, Threlfall; McDonald (McGowan 84), Fleming, Williams; Alessandra (Burrow 61), Redshaw (Mwasile 84), Ellison.
Unused subs: Arestidou, Short, McGee, Holroyd.
Torquay: Poke; Oastler, Saah, Downes, Nicholson; Jarvis, Mansell, Lathrope, Bodin (Stevens 89); Howe, Benyon (Yeoman 68).
Unused subs: Rice, Morris, MacDonald, Craig, Cruise.
Referee: D Bond