Williams winner sinks Wolves
RYAN WILLIAMS’ stunning free-kick gave Morecambe a memorable victory over Wolves in the Capital One Cup first round at the Globe Arena.
With the game seeming to be heading for extra-time, the young midfielder unleashed a dipping free-kick which flew past Carl Ikeme into the top corner of the Wolves goal.
The victory means the Shrimps have now beaten higher opposition three times in as many years in the first round of the League Cup.
Jim Bentley made two enforced changes from the side which lost narrowly 1-0 at Wycombe on Saturday, with Andy Parrish and Joe Mwasile returning in place of the injured duo Chris McCready and Kevin Ellison.
The Morecambe boss also included youngsters Alex Naylor and Tom Woods on what was a youthful looking Shrimps’ bench.
In front of the television cameras it was the Shrimps who came close to making an immediate impact after just 25 seconds.
After Tony Diagne’s left-wing cross had been tamely headed away by the Wolves defence, veteran midfielder Stewart Drummond hit a first time low drive which was spilled but then collected by goalkeeper Ikeme.
The Shrimps continued to find space down the left in the early stages and new signing Padraig Amond came within inches of connecting with another dangerous Diagne cross.
Despite a fast start by Bentley’s men, the League One side grew into the game and winger Zele Ismail tested Barry Roche with a long-range strike which the Morecambe stopper comfortably held.
A flurry of corners followed for Kenny Jackett’s side and with the visitors on top Shrimps’ captain Mark Hughes had to be alert to clear a dangerous cross-shot from striker Leigh Griffiths.
Republic of Ireland U21 international Anthony Forde then beat Andy Wright for pace but his left-wing cross was flicked narrowly wide by forward Jake Cassidy.
With the Morecambe defence in need of some respite Williams drove forward and after he found Amond, Drummond glanced the strikers near post cross narrowly wide of Ikeme’s left post.
Goalscoring opportunities then dried up at both ends as Wolves began to gain a foothold on possession but without testing a stubborn Morecambe defence.
The Shrimps did create a half chance for themselves on the half-hour mark however, as Williams latched onto a Jack Sampson flick on but the midfielder could only scuff his shot wide from the edge of the area.
Williams – playing just off the front three – did manage to test Ikeme moments later but his free-kick was easily held by the Wolves goalkeeper after Andy Fleming had been cynically brought down on the edge of the area.
The visitors came forward as the half wore on and created the best chance of the first 45 as right-back Matt Doherty hit the outside of the Morecambe post with a low cross.
The Shrimps won a corner as they targeted a half-time lead of their own but midfielder Fleming hooked his shot wide as the sides went in goalless at the break.
Both teams came out unchanged for the second half and as was the case in the first half it was Morecambe who started the brighter.
Williams twisted and turned past two Wolves midfielders and after exchanging passes with left-back Diagne, the diminutive midfielder hit a speculative cross-shot which was missed by both strikers Amond and Sampson.
Jackett’s side then pushed men forward and came close to breaking the deadlock twice in a matter of moments.
First, winger Ismail glided past Drummond and after settling himself he floated a cross to the back post which was headed onto the base of the post by striker Griffiths.
Just seconds later and the dangerous wideman Ismail nearly did it all on his own, but after jinking past the Morecambe defence his powerful left-footed shot cannoned off the top of the crossbar.
With the game beginning to open up, the Shrimps were next to create a goalscoring opportunity.
Another dipping Williams’ free-kick was spilled by Wolves goalkeeper Ikeme and only a last-ditch challenge from captain Danny Batth denied Amond a simple tap in.
The Morecambe fans – now witnessing a frantic end-to-end cup tie – were nearly on their feet just after the hour-mark as Fleming hit a ferocious shot just inches wide of the left-post after more good work from Williams.
Full of confidence, wingers Amond and Mwasile were causing constant problems for the Wolves’ full-backs and both sent in dangerous crosses which the Shrimps’ forwards and midfield runners failed to connect with.
Sampson then hit an ambitious shot yards over the Wolves crossbar, before Anthony Forde struck a 25-yard half-volley which Roche did well to push aside and collect at the second attempt.
Half chances then came and went at both ends, before Forde tested Roche with another drilled shot which the Morecambe keeper saved with both legs.
Home debutant Sampson then saw his powerful header caught by Ikeme, before the Shrimps were rewarded for all their hardwork in spectacular fashion.
After Fleming was dragged down on the edge of the Wolves’ area, Williams stepped up to hit the resulting free-kick ferociously over the wall and past Ikeme to send the home fans into raptures.
The visitors tried to find an equaliser but after a nervy four minutes of stoppage time, the Shrimps held on to earn a memorable victory.
Morecambe: Roche; Wright, Parrish, Hughes, Diagne; Drummond, Fleming, Williams (McGee 88); Amond, Sampson, Mwasile (Kenyon 77).
Unused subs: Arestidou, Bell, McGowan, Naylor, Woods.
Wolves: Ikeme; Doherty, Batth, Ebanks-Landell, Reckord; Ismail (Evans 66), Davis, Foley, Forde (McAlinden 88); Cassidy (Doyle 57), Griffiths.
Unused subs: Hennessey, Price, Ihiekwe, Margreitter.
Referee: G Eltringham