Late goal sinks Shrimps
MORECAMBE suffered a late defeat against local rivals Preston North End at the Globe Arena on Friday night.
Despite a positive start to the game from the Shrimps Joe Garner headed the League One visitors into a first-half lead, before a trademark Ryan Williams’ free-kick levelled the scores.
With the clash appearing to be heading towards a draw substitute Keith Keane had other ideas and the midfielder’s clever lob eight minutes from time sent Simon Grayson’s side back down the M6 as victors.
On a warm Globe Arena evening the Shrimps made a blistering start to proceedings with Jack Redshaw and Andy Fleming only narrowly off target in the opening three minutes.
The former should have been celebrating his first goal of pre-season moments later, but after being released down the right-hand side by Padraig Amond, following a slip up in the North End defence, Redshaw drifted past ‘keeper Jamie Jones but could only run the ball out of play with an open goal gaping.
The Shrimps continued to press high up the pitch, with Amond and Shaun Beeley linking up well down the right and Fleming continually finding space in the centre of midfield.
Jim Bentley’s side failed to make that possession count however and with 19 minutes on the clock the visitors nicked ahead against the run of play.
Will Hayhurst was given too much time down the wing and after steadying himself, the Preston-born youngster delivered an exquisite cross to the front post which Garner headed firmly past Andreas Arestidou into the top right corner.
Buoyed by that goal, the Lilywhites came close to immediately doubling their lead but Andy Little’s left-wing delivery was cleared off his own line by Ryan Edwards and into the grateful hands of Arestidou.
As Grayson’s outfit began to control the game, Garner hit a ferocious drive just wide, before on-loan winger Paul Gallagher saw his dipping free-kick well held by Arestidou.
The former Blackburn Rovers man then tried his luck from range but his ferocious effort drifted inches wide of the left-hand post as the Shrimps failed to regain their momentum from the early stages.
Goalscorer Garner was unlucky not to add to his tally 10 minutes before half-time but after being found by a clever reverse pass from Little, the ex-Carlisle forward curled his shot agonizingly wide.
With the home side in desperate need of a breather, Mark Hughes’ long ball was latched onto by Kevin Ellison but after driving into the box a collision with Tom Clarke went unpunished and the Shrimps’ penalty appeals were waved away and North End went in ahead at the break.
Boss Bentley opted against making any changes at half-time and his side began the second 45 on the front foot with Williams delivering a low ball into the box which narrowly evaded the onrushing Redshaw.
The Shrimps should have been level six minutes after the restart but after Williams’ left-footed delivery was dummied by captain Hughes, centre-back partner Edwards steered wide from just six yards.
Redshaw was the next Morecambe player to set his sights on goal but despite being forced wide by substitute ‘keeper Thorsten Stuckmann, the Shrimps’ no.7 chipped just over from the narrowest of angles.
Gallagher fired high over the Morecambe crossbar as the visitors gave a gentle reminder of their attacking capabilities but just after the hour mark the Shrimps grabbed a deserved equaliser.
Following a foul on Fleming 30 yards from goal, Williams stepped up to unleash a dipping free-kick which swerved out of the reach of the despairing Stuckmann and into the back of the North End net.
A flurry of substitutions followed for the League One side and one of those arrivals Chris Humphrey saw his drilled effort deflected onto the roof of the net by Hughes as Grayson’s side searched for an immediate response.
Fellow arrival Kevin Davies headed well wide from a Gallagher free-kick as the visitors upped the pressure, while at the other end Amond could only divert his effort wide from a pacey Ellison cross.
With the volume of substitutions slowing the tempo of the game both sides tried to regain a foothold on the game and with eight minutes left to play the visitors retook the lead for a second time.
A loose ball into the Morecambe penalty area fell kindly at the feet of Keane and with Arestidou approaching, the former Luton Town man delicately lobbed the ball over the Shrimps’ keeper into the back of the net to the delight of the travelling North End fans.
Jack Sampson failed to get enough contact on a long ball forward as the Shrimps desperately pushed for a late equaliser and with no way past Stuckmann the Shrimps suffered their second pre-season defeat in seven days.
Morecambe: Arestidou; Beeley [Wright 73], Edwards [Parrish 82], Hughes (c), Wilson [Goodall 82]; Drummond [Kenyon 65], Fleming, Williams; Amond, Redshaw [Sampson 68], Ellison.
Unused subs: Stewart, Doyle, McGowan, McCready.
Preston North End: Jones [Stuckmann 46]; Wiseman [Woods 68], King, Clarke [Buchanan 77], B Davies; Gallagher [Laird 77], Welsh [Kilkenny 46], Browne [Keane 68], Hayhurst [Brownhill 46]; Garner [K Davies 68], Little [Humphrey 68].
Unused subs: Byrom, Hugill.
Referee: R Joyce
Attendance: 1364 [490 from Preston]