Match Report: Accrington Stanley 2-2 Morecambe
A LATE goal from Tom Barkhuizen earned the Shrimps a good point at promotion chasing rivals Accrington Stanley.
Barkhuizen scored his 11th goal of the season 11 minutes from time to earn Jim Bentley's side a share of the spoils.
The Shrimps made for changes to the side that last against Hartlepool last week with Kieran O'Hara, Andy Fleming, Aaron Wildig and Aaron McGowan coming into the side and young goalkeeper Niall Maher handed his first first team appearance on the bench.
The Shrimps enjoyed the perfect start with Shaun Miller’s excellent run and finish had given The Shrimps an early lead before Josh Windass lashed in a leveller on 21 minutes.
Windass had his second early in the second half as he converted a debatable penalty before Barkhuizen broke clear to equalise 11 minutes from time.
The hosts came within a inches of a winner late on, Tariqe Fosu hitting a post and Shay McCartan seeing an effort cleared off the line, but it ended all square as Jim Bentley’s side mathematically made sure of a 10th season in the Football League.
The Shrimps were in front 12 minutes in.
Miller broke across the face of the area from left to right, beating challenges as he went, before shifting the ball back onto his left foot and firing a fine finish into the far corner beyond Ross Etheridge from 12 yards.
Stanley were level on 21 minutes with the game’s second sweet strike.
A ball over the top from Seamus Conneely found Windass who having beat the offside trap on the right side of the area lashed a shot across Kieran O’Hara and in.
In a game where both sides were struggling to play much flowing football, Windass was the next to go close with his low shot from 25 yards fizzing narrowly wide.
Stanley were beginning to show why they are candidates for automatic promotion, one flowing move just after the half hour ending with O’Hara beating away Piero Mingoia’s shot from 15 yards.
Chances were few and far between though, Tom Barkhuizen seeing a tame shot from 20 yards easily saved three minutes before the interval.
It was the hosts who got their noses in front, The Shrimps going behind just three minutes into the second half.
Morecambe weren’t happy with the penalty award after referee Scott Duncan pointed to the spot with Andy Parrish adjudged to have handled the ball as a crowd of players battled for Sean McConville’s corner.
Windass stepped up and had his second of the day, sending O’Hara the wrong way from 12 yards.
As in the first half there was little to choose between the sides though as Accrington enjoyed more territory but neither team created much in the way of chances.
With the game drifting The Shrimps were level 11 minutes from time.
Barkhuizen pounced on a Brad Halliday error and raced in on goal and confidently drilled a low finish beyond Etheridge for his 11th of the season.
The visitors were in the ascendancy immediately after their goal, substitute Lee Molyneux lashing over a shot from 20 yards on his weaker right foot six minutes from time.
But the points were there for the taking for either side, Andy Procter blazing over in the area when he should have done better.
It will be Stanley who will wonder how they didn’t take all three points late on.
First Billy Kee came within inches of converting Windass’ cross-cum-shot before a remarkable goalmouth scramble saw Fosu hit a post with McCartan’s follow up saved on the line by O’Hara’s trailing leg.
Accrington: Etheridge, Pearson, Davies, Hughes, Halliday, McConville (Fosu 73), Conneely (capt), Brown (Procter 40), Mingoia (McCartan 85), Windass, Kee: Subs not used: Mooney, Buxton, Little, Winnard
Booked: Pearson, Hughes
Morecambe: O’Hara, Beeley (capt), Edwards, Parrish, McGowan, Kenyon (Oliver 64), Fleming, Barkhuizen, Wildig (Molyneux 64), Ellison (Devitt 75), Miller. Subs not used: Maher, Mullin, Goodall, Doyle.
Referee: Scott Duncan.
Attendance: 2,609 (342 Morecambe)