Late goal robs Shrimps of victory
Jack Redshaw’s 14th goal of the season was not enough to give Morecambe all three points in an entertaining 1-1 draw with Northampton at the Globe Arena.
The Morecambe forward opened his body before bending his shot into the bottom corner after 57 minutes, but Kelvin Langmead equalised with just a minute left on the clock to earn a point for the Cobblers.
The Shrimps remain in 13th place after the draw and sit ten points behind Exeter in the final play-off position.
Jim Bentley made two changes from the weekend’s 4-1 defeat at Barnet, with Andy Parrish returning from a thigh injury to replace Ryan Williams, while Andreas Arestidou came in for the suspended Barry Roche.
The Shrimps reverted to a 5-2-3 formation to counteract the physical style of Northampton and with the Cobblers also fielding five at the back the game looked set-up to be a tight affair.
The opening exchanges at the Globe Arena did not prove to be cagey however and Bentley’s side came close to taking the lead after just six minutes.
Parrish found an unmarked Kevin Ellison outside the Northampton box and after a fine solo run, he released Redshaw who shot low and hard towards the bottom corner, but unfortunately for the home crowd Lee Nicholls was alert and palmed the shot aside.
Nicholls – on loan from Wigan – then had to be at his best to push Gary McDonald’s flicked header around the post as the Shrimps sensed an opening goal.
It was the visitors who should have been ahead three minutes later though, as Chris Hackett’s floated free-kick missed everyone and came crashing back off the Morecambe post.
The woodwork was rattling again just minutes later, as centre-back Langmead curled a shot from the left-hand side of the Shrimps box, which fired back off the same Morecambe post.
Bentley’s men did not show any signs of giving in despite those chances and Redshaw dragged a shot narrowly wide after ghosting past the Northampton defence.
As the game became more stretched chances fell to both sides, with Ishmel Demontagnac seeing his powerful long range strike pushed aside by Arestidou, before Andy Wright volleyed over from 25 yards.
Both teams ended the first-half with clear-cut chances to take the lead, as Ben Harding’s curled shot hit the foot of the post with Demontagnac firing the rebound high over the Morecambe bar.
At the opposite end Stewart Drummond and Chris McCready both saw their attempts cleared off the line in a chaotic goalmouth scramble, as the game ended goalless at the break.
The second-half began in a similar fashion and it was the Shrimps who created the more noteworthy chances as Lewis Alessandra shot straight at Nicholls, before Wright’s half volley was deflected over the bar by Ben Tozer.
Bentley’s side continued to look the more dangerous in attack and their pressure was rewarded 12 minutes after the restart.
Redshaw found Alessandra on the edge of the Northampton box following a mazy run and after a quick one-two the striker made no mistake from 12 yards and calmly curled past Nicholls into the bottom right corner of the Northampton goal.
The Cobblers immediately set about finding an equaliser and came close through Roy O’Donovan, but his ferocious shot from distance was parried aside firmly by Arestidou.
While the visitors targeted their first goal of the night, the Shrimps went forward in search of their second and after a good run by Redshaw, he found Alessandra but after dallying on the ball Joe Widdowson sneaked in to clear the danger.
Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd sent on strikers Adebayo Akinfenwa and Clive Platt in an attempt to rescue a point but it was former Coventry striker O’Donovan that volleyed over from just inside the Morecambe box.
Boothroyd’s side should have been level after a goalmouth scramble with both Akinfenwa and Platt going close, before the Cobblers’ pressure finally told.
Demontagnac’s free-kick hit the inside of the post and captain Langmead was well placed to head in from close range with just a minute left.
The closing stages of the game turned into a scrappy affair with altercations both on the field and on the touchline as both sides had to settle for a point.
Morecambe: Arestidou; Parrish (Threlfall 43), McCready, Fenton, Haining, Wright; McDonald, Drummond; Alessandra (Holroyd 78), Redshaw, Ellison.
Unused subs: Jones, Mwasile, Williams, Fleming, Burrow.
Northampton Town: Nicholls; Johnson (Platt 78), Langmead, Carlisle, Collins (Akinfenwa 69), Widdowson; Hackett, Tozer, Harding, Demontagnac; O’Donovan.
Unused subs: Snedker, Guttridge, Robinson, Hornby, Dias.
Referee: C Sarginson