Shrimps have to share spoils
ANOTHER spectacular strike from Ryan Williams was not enough to earn Morecambe all three points in an entertaining 1-1 draw with Torquay at the Globe Arena.
The goalscoring hero from Tuesday night hit another fierce shot which found the top corner of the Torquay goal, but a clinical strike from Karl Hawley gave Alan Knill’s side a share of the spoils.
Both sides had chances to win the game with the Shrimps hitting the woodwork twice but a disappointing second-half performance from the home side meant they failed to pick up their first league win of the campaign.
Jim Bentley named an unchanged XI following Tuesday night’s historic victory over Wolves, which meant Padraig Amond and Joe Mwasile were again on the wings for the Shrimps.
Chris Doyle returned to the bench after missing the first two games of the season through injury, but there was no place for either Kevin Ellison or Marcus Marshall who both remain sidelined with hamstring injuries.
Just like against Wolves it was an exciting opening to proceedings at the Globe Arena, with both sides creating chances within the first five minutes.
The first opportunity fell to the visitors but Lee Mansell’s free-kick was headed narrowly wide after confusion in the Morecambe defence.
It was the Shrimps who fashioned the most noteworthy chance however, as Mwasile ran onto an Amond lay-off before unleashing a powerful left-footed shot which Torquay goalkeeper Martin Rice had to turn behind at full stretch.
Mwasile was causing all kinds of problems for the opposition defence in the opening exchanges but he could only scuff his shot wide after carrying the ball forward from his own half.
The chances kept coming for Bentley’s side and Andy Fleming curled narrowly over from 25 yards following good hold-up play from Jack Sampson, before Amond hit the outside of the Torquay post after cutting in from the right onto his left foot.
Despite that early pressure it was the visitors who came closest to taking the lead after 14 minutes when Wales U21 international Billy Bodin hit a ferocious left-footed shoot which crashed off the underside of the crossbar and onto the Shrimps’ goal-line.
The game then hit a bit of a lull as both sides tried to settle into the game but with confidence still brimming from Tuesday night’s victory the Shrimps continued to look dangerous in the final third.
That danger was rewarded on 25 minutes when the hero of four days ago sent the Morecambe faithful into raptures once again.
Fleming found an unmarked Williams after picking up on a loose ball and without a moment’s hesitation the dynamic midfielder hit an unstoppable 25-yard shot which swerved and dipped past Rice into the top corner of the Gulls’ net.
Assured in possession, the Shrimps prevented an immediate fight-back from Knill’s side with the visitors struggling to unlock a well organised Morecambe defence.
Tony Diagne headed straight at Rice as the half wore on, while the best the Gulls could muster before the break was a Ben Harding free-kick which Barry Roche punched away from goal.
It was a nervy start to the second-half for Bentley’s men with misplaced passes handing Torquay the initiative to press higher up the field.
Both Hawley and winger Jordan Chapell came agonisingly close to connecting with Bodin’s left-wing cross as the home fans grew restless.
The Shrimps did compose themselves however and Sampson narrowly failed to connect with Williams’ left-footed cross following an intricate passing move.
Despite that chance a rejuvenated Torquay side continued to attack with vigour and got their reward 10 minutes after the restart.
Pouncing on another misplaced Shrimps’ pass, midfielder Harding found former Preston striker Hawley on the edge of the Morecambe area and with too much time and space the forward hit a right-footed shot high into Roche’s goal.
Angry with themselves after conceding a sloppy equaliser Bentley’s side pushed forward and both Amond and Diagne flicked headers wide from dangerous Williams’ deliveries.
Amond then narrowly failed to connect with a Stewart Drummond volley at the back post as the Shrimps began to regain some of their composure from the first-half.
The visitors showed no signs of easing off in their attacking intent though and created several openings as they tried to go in front for the first time in the game.
First, on-loan striker Callum Ball headed over from four yards out after good wing play from substitute Courtney Cameron, before Andy Parrish deflected another Torquay shot inches wide of Roche’s right post.
Defender Aaron Downes headed the resulting corner a yard over the Morecambe crossbar as the visitors began to sense a winning goal.
That goal should have come moments later, as Mansell dragged a shot wide after Andy Wright could only tamely clear to the Torquay captain.
Despite the Gulls being on top Bentley’s men continued to produce chances of their own as they searched for a first league victory of the season.
In pursuit of his first Morecambe goal Sampson flicked on a pacey Fleming cross but Torquay goalkeeper Rice was equal to it as he flung himself to his left and superbly held onto the ball.
After testing the Gulls no.13 for the first time in the second-half confidence was renewed around the Globe Arena and that was added to four minutes from time as defender Dale Tonge was sent off after receiving his second yellow card after a late tackle on Joe McGee.
Immediately following that dismissal Amond picked the ball up on the left and after cutting in onto his favoured right foot he curled an effort just yards wide of the right post.
The Shrimps – now in full control – pressed forward in search of a winner and after latching onto a through ball from Fleming substitute McGee burst into the box before hitting a powerful shot which hit the outside of the Torquay post.
There was little time for Bentley’s side to create any more chances and they had to settle for their first point of the season.
Morecambe: Roche; Wright, Parrish, Hughes, Diagne; Drummond (Kenyon 73), Fleming, Williams; Amond, Sampson, Mwasile (McGee 84).
Unused subs: Arestidou, Bell, Doyle, McGowan, Woods.
Torquay: Rice; Tonge, Pearce, Downes, Nicholson; Chapell (Cameron 57), Mansell, Harding, Bodin (Sullivan 89); Ball, Hawley (Lathrope 88).
Unused subs: C. Thompson, Yeoman, N. Thompson, Cruise.
Referee: R Clark