MORECAMBE were denied victory by a 94th minute penalty from Chris Porter.
Porter slotted home his fourth goal in four games to cancel out Morecambe’s second half goals from Andrew Tutte and Kevin Ellison after James Jones had fired Crewe into a first half lead.
Morecambe must have thought they had the points in the bag after Ellison’s quality finish to put the Shrimps 2-1 up but great work from substitute Shaun Miller allowed Perry Ng to send over a cross and a shove in the back on Porter from Zak Mills presented Porter with the spot kick.
Morecambe started on the front foot in the opening few minutes of the game. Following a long throw from Jordan Cranston into a crowded box, George Ray leapt highest to head over his own goal. From the resultant corner, there was a short melee before Nicky Hunt cleared in the second phase.
On eight minutes A-Jay Leitch-Smith’s pace saw him run in behind the Crewe defence and it took a last ditch challenge from George Ray to deny him a clean strike at goal.
Morecambe’s bright start continued when a mistake from Ng found Liam Mandeville and he shot just over after surging forward.
It took 12 minutes for Crewe to muster an attack with any real purpose. Green was instrumental down the left hand side and he waited for the overlap of Pickering. The left-back whipped over a cross but Kirk couldn’t make a proper connection with his header.
Good hold up play from the experienced Porter presented Ryan Wintle with a chance to strike from 25 yards but he lifted his effort clear of Halstead’s crossbar.
On 24 minutes Morecambe were forced into change with Leitch-Smith forced to go off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Rhys Oates.
Not for the first time this year the break in play affected the Shrimps and Crewe broke the deadlock on 27 minutes. Porter and Bowery were both involved in the initial build up down the right hand side and after Ng was denied a run, the ball eventually fell to Jones whose shot took a deflection past Halstead to shock the Shrimps.
On 33 minutes, Morecambe thought they had levelled things up when Kevin Ellison stole in behind Hunt to lift an effort over the advancing Garratt. It looked odds on to be an equaliser, but Captain Ray didn’t give it up and made a superb clearance from the line.
Morecambe started the second half well and Oates got in behind the Crewe back line but was denied well by Garratt.
Another promising move from the home side saw Jordan Cranston whip over an excellent delivery which just evaded Oates and Ellison.
The Shrimps were rewarded for their efforts with a leveller on 62 minutes. After a foul by Pickering on Ellison on the edge of the Crewe penalty area Andrew Tutte curled his free-kick perfectly round the wall and into the top right hand corner.
With 15 minutes left, Morecambe made a double change with Mendes-Gomes and newcomer Paul McKay replacing goalscorer Tutte and the booked Mandeville and eight minutes later the Shrimps took the lead.
Another cross from Cranston to the back post put Pickering under pressure and after Oates had applied a deft touch down to Ellison, he took a step back, composed himself and showed real quality to hit a dipping shot up and over Garratt.
The Shrimps almost added a third when Garratt was forced to produce a good save to push away Cranston’s free-kick.
With time running out the Shrimps failed to manage the game to a winning conclusion as Mills was punished for fouling Porter to give Crewe the chance to secure a point and rob Morecambe of a much needed win.
Morecambe: Halstead, Mills, Old, Lavelle, Conlan, Kenyon, Tutte (rep McKay 78), Cranston, Mandeville (rep Mendes-Gomes 78), Leitch-Smith (rep Oates 24), Ellison. Subs not used: Szczepaniak, Hedley, Campbell, Yarney.
Crewe: Garratt, Ng, Hunt, Ray, Pickering, Jones, Wintle (rep Miller 88), Green, Kirk (rep Ainley 66), Porter, Bowery (rep Dale 88). Subs not used: Richards, Whelan, Lowery, Nicholls.
Ref: C Boyeson