Shrimps go nine unbeaten
MORECAMBE extended their unbeaten run to nine league games after a scrappy 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon at the Globe Arena writes ADAM WOODHOUSE.
Kevin Ellison gave the Shrimps a first-half lead with a ferocious left-footed shot, but former Accrington Stanley loanee Michael Smith equalised for the Dons six minutes into the second half.
Both sides went in search of the winner but with very little created in terms of clear goalscoring chances the game petered out for a draw.
It means the Shrimps drop to sixth place in League Two but with Jim Bentley’s side still unbeaten since late August there is still plenty of optimism around the Globe Arena.
Bentley named an unchanged XI following Saturday’s 2-0 win at Bury which meant Robbie Threlfall continued at left-back with Tony Diagne one of just six substitutes named by the Shrimps.
Also in reserve were Alex Kenyon and Joe Mwasile but there was no place for Marcus Marshall, who is still recovering from a hamstring problem.
The Shrimps began the game full of confidence after last weekend’s sixth win of the campaign at Bury and despite failing to test Wimbledon ‘keeper Ross Worner in the early stages it took them only eight minutes to take the lead.
After Stewart Drummond had found Ellison with an inch-perfect cross-field pass, the winger drifted past left-back Jim Fenlon before cutting in onto his left foot and smashing an unstoppable strike into the roof of the Wimbledon net.
Buoyed by that goal the Shrimps pushed forward in search of the all-important second goal but despite some intricate passing moves they struggled to create any more goalscoring opportunities as the half wore on.
It was the visitors who grew into the game however, and Barry Roche had to be at his best to punch clear a cross-shot from winger George Porter before the Dons should have been level.
On-loan Burnley winger Porter escaped down the right-hand side and after sending in a dangerous near post cross, Luke Moore diverted the ball onto the post, before it rebounded onto Roche and then back onto striker Moore before drifting agonisingly wide.
Despite that goalmouth action the chances began to dry up at the Globe Arena and play was stopped for a five-minute period just after the half-hour mark following a collision between Jack Sampson and Wimbledon full-back Barry Fuller.
With both players failing to return to their feet, there was concern on both benches but after treatment from both medical teams the Morecambe no.9 and Dons’ vice-captain managed to walk off the field but played no further part in the game.
Kenyon entered the fray for the Shrimps, which meant Ryan Williams pushed forward into the front three with Amond now spearheading the Morecambe attack.
Once play did finally continue opportunities were again few and far between, with a Williams’ cross to the back post just missing the head of Ellison.
With seven minutes of time added on at the end of the half both sides tried to build some momentum, but that was soured a minute before the break when Kenyon reacted to a late challenge from Harry Pell which saw both sets of players come to blows, with Pell and Drummond receiving yellow cards before the interval.
The second half began in a similarly fiery mood with Wimbledon striker Smith booked for barging Andy Parrish into the advertising hoardings after the ball had gone out of play.
It was Smith who had the last laugh however, as the on-loan Charlton man headed his side level just minutes later.
The tricky Porter was the creator, as he jinked his way past the Morecambe defence and despite his first cross being cleared, he had too much time and space to deliver another cross but this time to the back post and Smith was there to head low past Roche to make it 1-1.
With the away side now in the ascendancy Bentley’s side looked to regain some control on proceedings and after tightening up their midfield the Shrimps began to create some more openings of their own.
First, Williams saw his curling free-kick easily held by Worner, before the creative midfielder delivered a deep cross from the right which Padraig Amond headed high over the Wimbledon crossbar after he had arrived late at the back post.
The visitors were not going to cave in though and after soaking up that Morecambe pressure they fashioned some chances of their own.
Goalscorer Smith came within inches of doubling his tally just after the hour mark but his ambitious overhead volley floated narrowly wide of the scrambling Roche’s goal.
The Shrimps’ ‘keeper had to be on his guard again just minutes later but he was relieved to see Porter’s powerful effort fly wide of his left post.
With the Shrimps going in search of the goal that could take them to the top of League Two Kenyon flicked a Williams’ free-kick just a yard wide of the bottom right corner.
But as a downpour descended on the Globe Arena the game fizzled out and a low shot from Ellison - which was easily held by Worner - was the closest either side came to a winner and both had to settle for a point.
Morecambe [4-3-3]: Roche; Wright, Parrish, Hughes, Threlfall; Drummond, Fleming, Williams [Diagne 74]; Amond [Mwasile 85], Sampson [Kenyon 37], Ellison.
Subs not used: Arestidou, Bell, McGee.
AFC Wimbledon [4-3-3]: Worner; Fuller [Kennedy 37], Weston, Bennett, Fenlon; Pell, S.Moore, Sweeney; Smith, L.Moore [Sainte-Luce 74].
Subs not used: Brown, Francomb, Midson, Beere, Fayers.
Referee: S Duncan