Shrimps surge to victory
MORECAMBE staged a remarkable second-half performance to thrash 10-man Newport County at the Globe Arena writes ADAM WOODHOUSE.
Tom Naylor – who scored two own goals and conceded a penalty against the Shrimps earlier in the season – had given the Exiles a first-half lead but the defender was dismissed 10 minutes after the restart for bringing down Kevin Ellison in the box.
Jamie Devitt scored his first goal for the club from the spot, before Ellison slotted home minutes later to turn the game on its head.
A brace from substitute Jack Redshaw completed the rout for Jim Bentley’s side, with the Shrimps picking up back-to-back league victories for the first time since October which sees them move up to 11th place in League Two and just five points outside the play-off positions.
Still on a high following Saturday’s vital win against Southend the Shrimps started brightly at the Globe Arena.
Debutant Newport ‘keeper Ian McLoughlin had to be alert to tip a wild clearance from his own midfielder Robbie Willmott over the crossbar, before Andy Fleming volleyed narrowly wide after a clever lay-off from Jack Sampson.
Despite that, the visitors – in urgent need of a win themselves – began to gain some momentum of their own and with 12 minutes on the clock they made the most of it.
Defender Harry Worley headed an outswinging Willmott corner towards goal and after the ball bounced around in the box it fell kindly to Naylor who tapped in from close range to give the Exiles an early lead.
With the lively Devitt back in action following a three-match ban the Shrimps went in search of an immediate equaliser and with 20 minutes on the clock they should have got it.
A swift counter-attack saw marauding full-back Shaun Beeley head Sampson through on goal but after dallying on the ball the Shrimps’ no.9 failed to get a shot away from 10 yards and the visiting defence were able to clear their lines.
Fleming dragged a shot harmlessly wide as the home side continued to try and find a way back into the game and those frustrations grew even further minutes later after referee Richard Clark pulled play back for a Morecambe free-kick despite Ellison rounding McLoughlin and slotting into an empty net.
Injuries to Newport’s Lee Minshull and Morecambe’s Beeley then created an unwelcome delay in proceedings, with the latter unable to continue.
Chris McCready entered the action in the ex-Fleetwood man’s place, which saw Andy Parrish revert to right-back as the Shrimps went in behind at the break.
Just as the first had ended the second-half began in a similarly scrappy manner with both sets of players struggling to play their flowing passing games.
With the home fans becoming unsettled at the lack of clear openings the Shrimps needed a creative spark and in the space of four second-half minutes they got it as the game changed on its head.
The instrumental Devitt sent an exquisite ball over the Newport defence, which the onrushing Ellison collected superbly but after bursting into the box the winger was tripped by last man Naylor, with a penalty and a straight red card the only outcome.
With usual penalty-takers Redshaw and Padraig Amond on the bench, it was loanee Devitt who stepped forward to send McLoughlin the wrong way and draw the Shrimps level.
The home faithful hardly had time to find their breath before they were on their feet again, with both Devitt and Ellison combining to great effect once more.
On-loan Chesterfield man Devitt was the provider as he delivered another inch-perfect through ball to split the travelling defence apart and with ‘keeper McLoughlin racing out of his goal Ellison used all his experience to sidefoot past the Republic of Ireland U21 international and into the back of the net.
Just minutes later and it could have been three but McLoughlin denied Devitt with his feet before the Exiles’ ‘keeper pulled off a world class one-handed save to turn Ellison’s header around the post.
Adam Chapman saw a well-driven shot pushed aside by Barry Roche as the Welsh club desperately tried to rally themselves but it was to no avail as they slipped further behind.
Last season’s top goalscorer Redshaw was introduced by manager Bentley with 19 minutes left on the clock, and just like on Saturday, the Shrimps’ no.7 wasted no time and headed Fleming’s corner firmly past McLoughlin with his first touch to put the home side in dreamland.
Irishman Amond – brought on alongside Redshaw – then tried his luck twice, striking a low shot inches wide of the post, before unleashing a thunderous volley which was tipped around the opposite post by Newport’s unlucky debutant.
In a complete contrast to the first 45 minutes Morecambe continued with their relentless pressing and with the visitors shell-shocked the Shrimps added gloss to the scoreline.
A ball into the box fell at the feet of Redshaw and after manoeuvring space for himself the diminutive forward hit a low shot across McLoughlin into the bottom left corner to score his third goal in four days.
In desperate need of the final whistle Michael Flynn and Chris Zebroski came close to finding a consolation for Justin Edinburgh’s side, but at the other end Redshaw came within inches of scoring his hat-trick with a curling effort which flew a yard wide.
Morecambe [4-3-3]: Roche; Beeley [McCready 44], Parrish, Hughes [c], Threlfall; Drummond, Kenyon, Fleming; Devitt [Amond 71], Sampson [Redshaw 71], Ellison
Subs not used: Arestidou, Wright, Williams, Marshall
Newport County [3-5-2]: McLoughlin; Naylor, Worley, Hughes; Jackson, Minshull, Porter [c], Chapman [Flynn 82], Willmott [Holloway 65]; Zebroski, Howe [Pipe 58]
Subs not used: Crow, Jeffers, Anthony, Jolley
Referee: R Clark
Attendance: 1,300 [43 away]