Late goal sinks Shrimps
MORECAMBE’S winless run against Accrington Stanley continued as Peter Murphy’s 90th minute goal handed the visitors all three points at the Globe Arena.
James Beattie’s side took a deserved lead into the break – albeit in controversial circumstances – as Danny Webber dispatched confidently from the spot, but Jack Sampson equalised just minutes after the break as the Shrimps improved drastically.
With both sides pushing for the all-important winner chances came and went but Stanley captain Murphy had the last laugh as he fired home from close range in what was virtually the last attack of the game.
It means Morecambe have now failed to win a league game against their Lancashire rivals in 13 attempts – with their last victory coming in September 2005.
The defeat also ends the Shrimps’ unbeaten run at home this season and a second loss in a week sees Jim Bentley’s side drop to 10th place in League Two.
Bentley made two changes from Tuesday night’s disappointing defeat at Cheltenham, with suspended skipper Mark Hughes replaced by Tony Diagne in the centre of defence, while Sampson returned from a head injury in place of Ryan Williams.
The Shrimps’ chief was also able to name a full roster of substitutes – after only including five at Whaddon Road – with Marcus Marshall making a timely return from a long-term hamstring problem.
While the Shrimps saw their nine-match unbeaten run come to an end on Tuesday evening, Stanley won their first game of the campaign against Bristol Rovers and they started in a confident manner at the Globe Arena.
Beattie’s side passed the ball with pace and vigour in the opening 10 minutes and the Shrimps were grateful to see a curling effort from Webber drift harmlessly over the crossbar as they tried to find their feet in the game.
Once Bentley’s side did settle into the derby clash they created some chances of their own, with Alex Kenyon driving a shot into the side netting after Andy Fleming’s header from a powerful Sampson long-throw was cleared into the former Stockport man’s path.
Former Watford midfielder Piero Mingoia then scuffed a shot wide after linking up well with Webber - with the game witnessing just a few half chances in the first quarter.
Sampson curled a placed effort narrowly past the post from a Kenyon lay-off as the Shrimps began to gain some confidence in possession, before that was all undone by a controversial refereeing decision on 17 minutes.
Andy Parrish guided a header backwards towards ‘keeper Barry Roche but just as the Morecambe stopper was about to collect, Stanley striker James Gray nicked in and although Roche appeared to get to the ball first, referee Mark Haywood deemed that contact had been made with the Northern Ireland U21 international first and he immediately pointed to the spot.
With the Globe Arena infuriated by that decision they tried to make it difficult for Webber, but the ex-Premier League striker used all his experience and sent Roche the wrong way to give Stanley the lead.
A series of feisty challenges were then put in by both sides as neither looked to give an inch, but it was the Shrimps who were nearly level on the half-hour mark.
After Kevin Ellison’s bullet header was cleared in the six-yard box by Nicky Hunt, the ball sat up invitingly to Stewart Drummond but the veteran midfielder could only blaze his volley high over the crossbar from 12 yards.
The anger being felt around the Globe Arena then grew just five minutes later as Hunt appeared to push Padraig Amond in the back but the referee waved play on – to the fury of the home faithful.
Fleming then saw two chances come and go, as he first saw Stanley ‘keeper Marcus Bettinelli hold onto his deflected half-volley from the edge of the area, before the on-loan Fulham shot-stopper was out quick off his line to divert a low cross away from the onrushing midfielder.
Former Stanley man Amond hit a powerful shot just yards over the top left corner as the Shrimps pushed for an equaliser before half-time but that was the last action of a controversial first 45 minutes.
If it was the visitors who had started the first-half brighter, it was a complete contrast after the break as the Shrimps equalised just four minutes after the restart.
Playmaker Fleming collected a low Robbie Threlfall cross and hit a drilled shot to the near post but despite Bettinelli getting a strong hand to the ball and also denying Drummond from close range, he was powerless to stop Sampson from tapping in on the goalline.
Elated with that goal, the home fans urged their side to push forward and the confident Fleming hit a 25-yard shot which swerved wickedly in front of Bettinelli but his defence were first to the ball after the 21-year-old spilled inside his six-yard box.
The visitors – struggling to cope with Morecambe’s second-half revival – finally managed to test the home goal for the first time in the second period, but Roche acrobatically palmed Lee Nayor’s long-distance shot around the post just before the hour mark.
That effort was only temporary respite for the Stanley defence however, as Diagne volleyed over at the back post when he escaped from his marker, before another Sampson long-throw was met with a thumping header by Amond but Bettinelli tipped it over his crossbar at full stretch.
With Bentley’s side asserting themselves in attack it left space open at the back and Murphy flicked a Kal Naismith cross agonisingly wide.
It was then Morecambe’s turn to fashion an attempt on goal but Threlfall’s lofted cross hit the top of the Stanley crossbar, before a Naylor free-kick at the other end missed everyone and Roche flung himself to his right and palmed the effort away from danger.
That chance seemed to breathe new life into Beattie’s side and after Naismith cut onto his favoured left foot he unleashed a ferocious strike which was destined for the top right corner, until Roche tipped it over the crossbar with another stunning save.
Stanley - sensing a second win in five days - continued to pile men forward as the clock reached 90 minutes and they got their reward just moments later.
Mingoia delivered a low cross into the box and after Kenyon failed to clear Murphy was in the right place at the right time to steer the ball past Roche from just eight yards.
The match winner was booked for his celebrations as the away players jumped into a jubilant travelling crowd and once play did resume the home side had little time to rescue a point and Stanley held on to pick up yet another win against the Shrimps.
Morecambe [4-3-3]: Roche; Wright, Parrish, Diagne, Threlfall; Drummond, Kenyon, Fleming; Amond [Marshall 74], Sampson, Ellison.
Subs not used: Arestidou, Bell, McGowan, McGee, Williams, Mwasile.
Accrington Stanley [4-4-1-1]: Bettinelli; Hunt, Winnard, Aldred, Naylor; Naismith, Joyce, Murphy, Mingoia [Richardson 90]; Webber [Hatfield 70]; Gray [Bowerman 80].
Subs not used: Dunbavin, McCartan, Carver, Windass.
Referee: M Haywood
Attendance: 2,175 [273 from Accrington]