Shrimps shine against full strength Latics
MORECAMBE suffered another pre-season defeat as Marc-Antoine Fortune earned Wigan Athletic a 1-0 win at the Globe Arena writes ADAM WOODHOUSE.
The former West Brom striker beat Barry Roche with a powerful strike 14 minutes from time to inflict a third defeat in seven days on the Shrimps.
Despite being outplayed at times by their Championship opponents Jim Bentley’s side created chances of their own and England international Scott Carson was in fine form to deny the home side from getting on the scoresheet.
Boss Bentley shuffled his pack for the visit of the FA Cup holders with six changes in total from the side which lost 2-1 against Motherwell on Saturday.
Robbie Threlfall, midfielders Alex Kenyon, Joe McGee and Ryan Williams, as well as forwards Joe Mwasile and Jack Sampson all returned to the starting XI.
There were places on the bench for trialists Padraig Amond and Luke Denson, while Chris Doyle, Andreas Arestidou and Will Bell missed out through injury.
With the visitors fielding a full strength side they began the game on the front foot and came close to breaking the deadlock after just six minutes.
Midfielder Roger Espinoza picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and after manoeuvring some space for himself he unleashed a powerful shot which drifted narrowly wide of the left post.
Former Norwich City striker Grant Holt was next to threaten the Morecambe goal but after nicking the ball off Chris McCready his attempted lob went tamely wide of Barry Roche’s post.
With the Shrimps struggling to make the ball stick up front chances were few and far between in the opening half-an-hour, with the best Bentley’s side could muster a snapshot from Mwasile which dragged just wide of the left post.
Owen Coyle’s men continued to push forward and Roche had to be at his best to parry Emerson Boyce’s driven effort away from goal after a rampaging run out of defence.
As the half wore on the Shrimps began to create some openings of their own and Carson had to be alert to tip a Williams’ free-kick over the crossbar after McGee had been brought down on the edge of the area.
The Latics did not let the home side grow into the game however and pacey winger Callum McManaman saw his shot deflected inches wide after he was given too much space in the area.
Kevin Ellison – frustrated for long periods of the first-half – then twice came close to opening the scoring.
First, his right-footed volley was well held by Carson, before he unleashed a 20-yard piledriver across the ex-Liverpool goalkeeper which flashed agonizingly wide of the top corner.
Despite those chances it was Wigan who ended the half on top and the dangerous McManaman blazed over after good build-up play by James McCarthy, before captain Boyce headed a yard wide from Shaun Maloney’s corner.
Both sides continued to show their attacking intent after the break with chances at both ends.
After everyone inside the six-yard box had missed Threlfall’s low cross, captain Mark Hughes had to be at his best to block Espinoza’s goal bound shot.
It was the Shrimps who built on that positive start to the second-half and only the in-form Carson denied Bentley’s men from going in front.
Ellison ran onto an inch perfect through ball from Sampson but once in the Wigan penalty area the onrushing goalkeeper bravely denied the Morecambe winger at his feet.
Midfielder Williams then created a trio of chances for the home side as the Latics struggled to rediscover their dominance from the first-half.
First, his long range free-kick was pushed aside by Carson, who then turned Hughes’ follow-up shot around the post, before another swerving free-kick flew narrowly wide of the top right corner.
The industrious midfielder then came close with a powerful drive which went over the Wigan crossbar as the Shrimps sensed a first Globe Arena goal since the 1-0 win over Burnley.
As has been the case in Morecambe’s previous two pre-season games however, the visitors took the lead on the counter-attack.
After Williams was denied again, the Latics broke with pace and after Fortune latched onto a defence splitting through ball the Frenchman hit a ferocious strike across Roche into the top right corner to send the travelling Wigan fans into raptures.
Stewart Drummond glanced a header wide as the Shrimps tried to find an equaliser but Coyle’s men held onto their lead as the Shrimps now prepare to face St Johnstone on Saturday.
Morecambe: Roche; Parrish (Denson 78), McCready, Hughes (Diagne 73), Threlfall; Kenyon (Drummond 87), McGee (Fleming 66), Williams (Wright 78); Mwasile (Amond 66), Sampson, Ellison (Carlton 78). Unused subs: Jones.
Wigan: Carson; Boyce, Perch, McCann, Crainey; McCarthy, McArthur (Fyvie 63), Espinoza (Watson 59); McManaman (Redmond 73), Holt (Fortune 59), Maloney (Beausejour 59). Unused subs: Nicholls, Mustoe, Bingham, Buxton.
Referee: P Tierney