Match Report: Northampton Town 3-1 Morecambe
THE Shrimps slipped to their first defeat in five games when they went down 3-1 to league leaders Northampton.
Two goals in nine first half minutes from from James Collins and John-Joe O'Toole gave the Cobblers a 2-0 advantage at the break and a further goal from Rod McDonald five minutes into the second half wrapped the game up.
The Shrimps hit back with Paul Mullin reducing the deficit with a 71st minute strike but despite several promising breaks Jim Bentley's side could not add to their scoreline.
The Shrimps, who included Kieran O'Hara in the side due to Barry Roche's illness, started brightly with Tom Barkhuizen's touch letting him down after being found in behind by a Laurence Wilson clearance inside the first 90 seconds.
O'Hara was soon in action though and made two decent saves in the opening exchanges , the first from Lee Martin and the second from the busy Ricky Holmes.
The hosts made their pressure tell on the half hour as Morecambe were caught cold from a quick free-kick.
Joel Byrom released Collins in on goal with the Shrewsbury loanee firing low and beyond O’Hara to mark his home debut with a goal.
The Shrimps then had their best opening at the other end but Andy Fleming was denied by Adam Smith after finding room in the area.
But Chris Wilder's side doubled their advantage seven minutes before the interval.
Holmes shot was going well wide but O’Toole was in the right place at the right time to deflect the ball home.
Morecambe made a promising start to the second period but were three down on 50 minutes.
Again it was all too easy for the hosts as McDonald rose almost unchallenged to head Martins corner down and beyond O’Hara.
Ellison then did see a header saved by Smith before Alex Kenyon drilled a shot over when in space on the edge of the area but it looked a long way back for Jim Bentleys side.
O'Hara was called upon to deny Marc Richards after Wilson had missed a header on 67 minutes as the hosts looked to make the scoreline even more emphatic.
It was The Shrimps who got the next goal though on 71 minutes, Mullin putting the ball into the empty net after Smith had saved Ellison's initial effort.
The visitors sensed their may still be something in the game for them, Barkhuizen seeing a shot saved by Smith with a quarter of an hour to play.
But despite a couple of promising counter attacks Bentleys side couldnt find the goal that would have set up a grandstand finale at Sixfields.
Northampton: Smith, Moloney, Buchanan, O’Toole, Diamond, McDonald, Byrom, Holmes, Martin (Adams 83), Richards (Taylor 80), Collins (Hoskins 88). Subs not used: Clarke, Horwood, Cresswell, Lelan.
Booked: Richards, Buchanan
Morecambe: O’Hara, Beeley (capt), Dugdale, Parrish, Wilson, Fleming, Kenyon, Barkhuizen (Conlan 85), Devitt (Molyneux 64), Ellison, Miller (Mullin 64). Subs not used: Edwards, Goodall, Doyle, Kelleher.
Booked: Fleming, Wilson, Ellison, Dugdale
Referee: Gavin Ward.
Attendance: 4,652 (96 away)