Amazing win for super Shrimps
MORECAMBE completed a sensational second-half turnaround as they fought back from 3-0 down to beat League Two leaders Chesterfield at the Globe Arena WRITES ADAM WOODHOUSE
A double from Eoin Doyle and a powerful Gary McSheffrey effort put the Spireites in complete control at the break, before the remarkable comeback began.
Goals from Kevin Ellison and Mark Hughes put the Shrimps back in contention but a first Globe Arena goal for Jack Sampson brought the scores level, before Padraig Amond headed home the winner five minutes from time.
The win moves Morecambe up to fifth in League Two and a seventh game without defeat is the club’s best run since September 2011.
Jim Bentley named an unchanged side from last weekend’s goalless draw at Northampton, with Andy Parrish and Hughes continuing at the heart of the Morecambe defence.
Andy Fleming was included on the Shrimps’ bench once again after coming through a reserve game on Wednesday, while Robbie Threlfall and Marcus Marshall returned to the squad after suspension and injury respectively.
With the Shrimps looking to build on their good run of form of late and Chesterfield aiming to record their eighth win of the season it was a very lively start to proceedings at the Globe Arena.
Bentley’s side were the first to threaten but Ellison failed to make contact with a trademark Ryan Williams’ corner as the home side targeted the lead in a game for the first time since late August.
Despite that early pressure the Shrimps found themselves a goal down after just four minutes and it came in calamitous circumstances.
Winger Jay O’Shea pushed forward into the Morecambe half and despite his pass appearing to be heading for the feet of Parrish, the Shrimps’ defender missed the ball which allowed Doyle to steal in and confidently side-foot past Barry Roche into the bottom right corner.
With the hosts barely having time to regroup former Premier League winger McSheffrey hit a snapshot agonisingly wide of the top corner, before the visitors did double their lead on the 11 minute mark.
Tricky wideman Tendayi Darikwa drifted past the Morecambe defence into the penalty area and after composing himself he picked out McSheffrey who smashed the ball into an empty net to send the visiting fans into raptures.
Shell shocked by those two early goals, Bentley’s men tried to find their feet in the game and did manage to put some sustained spells of possession together but without really testing Spireites ‘keeper Tommy Lee.
The closest the Shrimps came was when Ellison found himself free on the edge of the Chesterfield penalty area but his half volley was deflected just wide of goal, with Tony Diagne heading the resulting corner wide at the near post.
If that 10-minute spell had given the home fans hope that they could find their way back into the game - that optimism was dashed after 23 minutes and in devastating fashion.
Ex-Hibernian striker Doyle picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and after weaving his way past four Morecambe defenders the Irishman audaciously chipped the ball over the advancing Roche to make it 3-0 to the visitors.
That clinical finishing would have been welcomed by the home faithful just three minutes later as captain Hughes’ diving header was held by Lee.
The chances did not stop coming at the other end however, as Roche did well to tip Darikwa’s powerful shot into the side netting, while handball shouts against Hughes were waved away by the referee.
Another half chance for Ellison - which he blazed over the crossbar – was only brief rest bite for the home side, as Doyle – in search of his hat-trick – shot just two yards over Roche’s goal from the narrowest of angles.
As half-time loomed the Shrimps were in desperate need of a break, but it was Bentley’s side who created the final chance of the half but after Hughes played a defence splitting through-ball ‘keeper Lee was out quickly off his line to thwart the advancing Amond at his feet.
The ease at which Morecambe got through the Chesterfield defence gave Bentley the ammo to motivate his side at half-time and his side gave an immediate response.
A chipped ball into the Spireites penalty box created confusion between captain Ian Evatt and ‘keeper Lee, which allowed the onrushing Ellison to ghost in and fumble the ball into the back of the net.
A resurgent Shrimps’ side then flooded men forward and Amond saw his header deflected onto the roof of the Chesterfield goal, before Sampson volleyed the resulting set-piece over the crossbar.
Although the home side looked a completely different outfit after the break the visitors continued to look dangerous in the final third and former Birmingham winger O’Shea side-footed a shot harmlessly wide when he should have at least hit the target.
That did not deter the Shrimps from breaking forward however and with the game becoming end-to-end - Bentley’s side reduced the Chesterfield lead to just one.
After a series of high balls were only half cleared by the Spireites’ defence, Alex Kenyon headed back into the six-yard box and with the visitors appealing for offside Hughes controlled expertly before smashing the ball low past Lee.
Sensing a remarkable comeback the Morecambe fans drove their side forward and despite Diagne seeing his downward header blocked, the Globe Arena did not have to wait long to witness pandemonium in the stands.
Following a foul on the right-hand side Williams floated a free-kick to the back post which the outstretched Sampson met and poked beyond Lee into the far right corner to the delight of the home fans.
Like every good side, Chesterfield continued to create chances and Roche did well to push Doyle’s low shot around the post, before the Irishman crashed a shot off the outside of the post.
With a frantic game coming to an end, it would be another Irishman who had the last laugh however, as the Shrimps completed a sensational turnaround.
Kenyon found Sampson wide on the left-hand side and after looking up the Shrimps’ no.9 delivered an inch perfect cross into the penalty area which Amond headed firmly across Lee and into the bottom corner.
As the Spireites went desperately in search of an equaliser the Shrimps caught them on the break and two ferocious efforts from Sampson flew narrowly wide.
The visitors threw everything they had at the Shrimps in the five minutes of stoppage time, but the Shrimps held on to record a famous victory.
Morecambe [4-3-3]: Roche; Wright, Parrish, Hughes, Diagne [Threlfall 84]; Drummond, Kenyon, Williams [Fleming 78]; Amond [McGee 90], Sampson, Ellison.
Subs not used: Arestidou, Doyle, Mwasile, Marshall.
Chesterfield [4-2-3-1]: Lee; Hird, Evatt, Cooper, Humphreys; Morsy, Ryan; Darikwa [Devitt 75], O’Shea [Edwards 68], McSheffrey [Porter 81]; Doyle.
Subs not used: Chapman, Banks, Togwell, Brown.
Referee: S Rushton
Attendance: 2204