Late goal earns point
Jack Sampson’s 95th-minute equaliser handed Morecambe a vital point in their battle against relegation as they held League 2 leaders Scunthorpe United.
The Shrimps number nine rose highest to head home Jamie Devitt’s centre to give Jim Bentley’s side a well earned share of the spoils and set off wild scenes of celebration at the Globe Arena.
Sam Winnall’s first-half header had looked like being enough for the Iron to take a step closer to promotion but Sampson capped off a fine second-half Shrimps display as they picked up a huge point in the context of their season.
It was an evening opening on a glorious Good Friday afternoon at the Globe Arena with both Sam Winnall for the visitors and Jamie Devitt for the Shrimps firing half chances high and wide early on.
The on-loan Chesterfield man continued his fine form for the hosts and saw a dipping volley from 20 yards go just over Sam Slocombe’s crossbar on the quarter hour.
At the other end, Barry Roche had to be alert to tip David Mirfin’s header over from a Terry Hawkridge corner three minutes later.
The visitors went ahead 22 minutes in, Winnall heading Hawkridge’s right-wing cross into the ground as it looped over Roche and the despairing diving header of Mark Hughes and in.
The Iron nearly doubled their lead three minutes later but Dave Syers’ header from a Hawkridge corner was scrambled off the line and clear.
But it was a largely lacklustre half from both sides with a Shrimps 11 unchanged from the draw at Fleetwood posing little to no threat in the final third.
The game followed a similar pattern in the early stages of the second period before Roche did well to come out and deny Syers with his feet on 51 minutes.
Morecambe then sprung an attack as the ball broke but Padraig Amond could only shoot straight at Slocombe from 15 yards after good work from Devitt down the left.
Andy Wright, playing against his former club, then tested Slocombe with a low volley from 20 yards that the Iron stopper did well to hold.
The Iron were a threat on the break however, Roche saving well low to his left to deny substitute Paul Hayes’ volley from another Hawkridge corner on 67 minutes.
Referee Steve Rushton was then the centre of attention 13 minutes from time.
Alex Kenyon’s shot hit an Iron arm and broke to Kevin Ellison in the area who hammered the ball in off the underside of the crossbar only for the official to bring play back and award a free-kick on the edge of the area when it could easily have been a penalty.
Ryan Williams then stepped up and brought an excellent save from Slocombe from the resultant free-kick.
The Shrimps then felt they should have had a penalty for a foul on Hughes as he went to shoot in the area but referee Rushton waved away their protests.
Slocombe was in inspired form and produced a pair of excellent saves to deny first Jack Redshaw and then Shaun Beeley as the Shrimps threw everything at the Iron in search of a point.
And just as it looked like it was all going to be in vain, Sampson rose highest to head home Devitt’s chipped centre from close range four minutes and 50 seconds into stoppage time to seal a vital point.
Morecambe: Roche, Hughes (capt), Parrish (Redshaw 70), Edwards, Beeley, Kenyon, Wright (Sampson 82), Mustoe, Devitt, Ellison, Amond (Williams 70).Subs not used: Arestidou, Threlfall, Diagne, Marshall.
Booked: Devitt, Mustoe
Scunthorpe: Slocombe, Nolan, Mirfin, Canavan, Williams, Hawkridge, Syers, Sparrow (Waterfall 89), Adelakun (Hayes 65), Madden, Winnall (Burton 90). Subs not used: Severn, Ribeiro, Burton, Godden, Collins.
Referee: Steve Rushton
Attendance: 2,952 (1,194 away)