Shrimps extend unbeaten home run
Morecambe extended their unbeaten home run to eight games, with a goalless draw against promotion chasing Bradford City writes ADAM WOODHOUSE.
In a game lacking in goal-scoring opportunities, the Shrimps produced a solid defensive display, with Barry Roche, Nick Fenton and Chris McCready putting in fine performances.
It is a fifth clean sheet in eight home games for Jim Bentley’s side, with the Shrimps remaining 18th in League Two.
Bentley made three changes to the side which drew 1-1 against Chesterfield, with Fenton, Jordan Burrow and Jack Redshaw all returning to the starting line-up.
Will Haining, Richard Brodie and young midfielder Joe McGee dropped to the bench, as Bentley started the game in an unfamiliar 4-4-2 formation at the Globe Arena.
Burrow – making his first start since returning from a medial ligament injury - and Redshaw, who missed Saturday’s draw through illness, failed to make the ball stick up front in the first half, with Bradford enjoying longer spells of possession.
The first chance of the game came after 12 minutes, when the Bantams hit Morecambe on the counter-attack and only a timely block from Andy Parrish denied Bradford captain Gary Jones’ shot from reaching the goal.
Just two minutes later, the home defence had to be on their guard again, with James Hanson’s goal bound effort superbly blocked by McCready.
McCready had to be at his best again just after the half-hour mark to block a powerful shot from the dangerous Zavon Hines, with the Shrimps struggling to create any meaningful chances in attack.
The best the home side could muster was a Stewart Drummond volley which went high over the bar, before Hanson had the best chance of the half but he saw his header well saved by the legs of Roche.
The visitors continued to see more of the ball after the break and came very close to taking the lead three minutes after the restart.
Rory McArdle’s header was destined for the top corner before Roche flung himself to his left and palmed it around the post for a corner.
Half-time substitute and Bradford’s top goal-scorer Nahki Wells was causing problems for the Shrimps back four and his cross evaded everyone, before nearly creeping into the corner of Roche’s left post.
The Shrimps then put on some pressure of their own, with Redshaw shooting just wide after twisting and turning past the Bradford defence, before Burrow just failed to connect with a Lewis Alessandra cross.
The exciting Wells then tested Roche with a long range effort, which the Morecambe goalkeeper pushed away from goal.
With the visitors failing to turn their possession into goals, the Shrimps gained confidence and Redshaw saw his header deflected narrowly wide, before Brodie saw his shot blocked by the Bantams defence.
The away side, hoping to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat to Rochdale, bombarded the Morecambe goal in the last ten minutes, with a Kyel Reid free-kick narrowly missing the bottom corner.
Hanson then had the chance of the game, but his free header was tame and central, which left Morecambe keeper Roche with a comfortable save.
The Shrimps weathered the Bradford storm and nearly grabbed a late winner but Brodie’s powerful header went just over the bar.
Morecambe: Roche; Parrish, McCready, Fenton, Wright; Alessandra, Drummond (Threlfall 57), McDonald, Ellison; Redshaw (Reid 84), Burrow (Brodie 68).
Unused subs: Arestidou, Haining, McGee, Parkinson.
Bradford: Duke; Darby, McArdle, Doyle, Meredith (Good 45); Ravenhill, R.Jones, G.Jones (Reid 73), Atkinson; Hanson, Hines (Wells 45).
Unused subs: McLaughlin, Naylor, Turgott, Connell.
Referee: Rob Lewis