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A look back on the Shrimps' opening day record in the English Football League

22 June 2022

Club News

A look back on the Shrimps' opening day record in the English Football League

22 June 2022

How have the Shrimps faired on the opening day of the League season?

The EFL will release our 2022/23 Sky Bet League One fixtures on Thursday 23 June at 9am, with that in mind, we have gone back through the archives to have a look at how we have done in our opening day fixtures in the Football League. 

The Shrimps have had a mixed bag of results to say the least, but the side has also treated supporters to some unforgettable days both on home soil and on the road, most notably picking up their first point the Football League at the first time of asking back in 2007. 

Derek Adams’ men will kick-off their League One season on Saturday 30 July 2022, with the campaign finishing on Saturday 6 May 2023. 

Here, we look back at all of our opening day games in the Football League, as we gear up for another fascinating season. 


The Shrimps kicked off life in the Football League with a 0-0 draw with Barnet, forward Michael Twiss missed a chance to open the scoring early on, but fired straight at Bees goalkeeper Lee Harrison.

Sammy McIlroy's side had debutant ‘keeper Joe Lewis to thank for a superb save from Anthony Thomas' curling effort, with six minutes left on the clock. Despite the result, a day that will live long in the memory for the Shrimps fans across the world. 

On the opening day of the 2008/09 season, the Shrimps had to settle for a point again, at least this time there were goals. Lewwis Spence opened the scoring for Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park before defender David Artell struck just after the hour mark. 

Goalkeeper Barry Roche ensured the Shrimps headed back north with a well-earned point, following a string of saves throughout the game. 

Morecambe were denied all three points in 2009 against Hereford United as midfielder Marc Pugh struck in the final minute of the game, making it a first day double for himself. 

The Shrimps came from a goal down to lead after 57 minutes, with goals from Craig Stanley and Stewart Drummond turning the game on its head at Christie Park. 


The start of a new decade did not go to plan for Morecambe, losing to Wycombe Wanderers in 2010 and Barnet in 2011, however things did pick up for the Shrimps as they ran riot at St James Park. 

A brace from Andy Fleming and one from Izak Reid, all in the first-half, set Jim Bentley’s side on their way in League Two, with Polish goalkeeper Artur Krysiak having a day to forget for the Grecians. 

2013 started very similar to 2010, a trip to Adams Park again, with the Chairboys winning, again. The Shirmps would right their wrong of the season before however and get back to winning ways on the opening day of the 2014/15 season, seeing off Dagenham & Redbridge with another comfortable 3-0 scoreline. 

Compared to the 3-0 win at Exeter two years earlier, in this one, all the goals were scored in the second-half instead of the first. Kevin Ellison rattled home a free-kick four minutes after the break before Padraig Amond thumped home from the penalty spot, after Jake Sampson was bundled over in the area by Scott Doe.

There was still time for one more however, on the 95th minute, Jack Redshaw tapped in Jamie Devitt's cross to complete the scoring at Victoria Road. 

The Shrimps would have to wait another three seasons for an opening day victory, fixtures against Hartlepool United (2015) and Grimsby Town (2016) both ended in defeat for the travelling Morecambe men. 

2006/07 Conference Play-Off Final hero Gary Thompson marked his return to the Club with a stunning double which included a 90th minute winner over Cheltenham Town in 2017, after the visitors initially took the lead through Mo Eisa. 

Bentley’s side battled back and Thompson got his first of the game, five minutes shy of the hour mark, slotting home from Aaron Wildig’s pass across goal after an excellent counter-attack.

Thompson was in the right place at the right time once again, this time arriving at the back post to latch on to Oliver's header across goal to slam home the loose ball. 

Defeats to Crewe Alexandra (2018) and Grimsby Town (2019) rounded off the decade. 


The start of the 2020/21 League Two season set the tone for how the season would end up, a dramatic one coupled in with promotion to League One for the first time in the Club’s history. 

Gloucestershire and Cheltenham Town was Morecambe’s destination on the opening day, and things stared badly when Alfie May struck after 28 minutes. 

However the dynamic changed on the 78th minute as Adam Phillips was bundled over by Chris Clements in the box, the on-loan Burnley man picked himself up and dusted himself down before slotting home calmly from the spot.

With the game looking like it would end in a draw, Liam McAlinden beat his man before squaring the ball to Carlos Mendes Gomes who sold the defender and goalkeeper a dummy before his left-footed effort found the top left-corner of the goal. 

Morecambe’s first season in League One could not have started any harder with a trip to Ipswich Town on the opening day, but the travelling 356 Shrimps were treated to a Cole Stockton masterclass. 

The forward netting twice, either side of strikes from Scott Fraser and Macauley Bonne. His first up there as one of the best goals of the season, in what would become the norm as Stockton went onto notch 23 League goals. 

The second of his goals saw him take the ball off the feet of Luke Woolfenden before rounding Vaclav Hladky and slotting into an empty net. Stephen Robinson’s side would have to settle for a point at Portman Road however, as Bonne netted deep into stoppage time to rescue a point for the Tractor Boys. 


Biggest win: 3-0 v Exeter City (A) 2012 / Dagenham & Redbridge (A) 2014 

Heaviest defeat: 6-0 v Crewe Alexandra (A) 2018

Leading scorers: Andy Fleming 2, Adam Phillips 2, Cole Stockton 2, Gary Thompson 2, Padraig Amond 1, David Artell 1, Stewart Drummond 1, Kevin Ellison 1, Carlos Mendes Gomes 1, Jack Redshaw 1, Izak Reid 1, Craig Stanley 1.

Most frequent opponents: Wycombe Wanderers 3

Played: 15. Won: 4. Drawn: 4. Lost: 7

Home: 4. Away: 11


2007: Barnet (H) 0-0 

2008: Wycombe Wanderers (A) 1-1

2009: Hereford United (H) 2-2

2010: Wycombe Wanderers (A) 0-2

2011: Barnet (H) 0-1

2012: Exeter City (A) 3-0

2013: Wycombe Wanderers (A) 0-1

2014: Dagenham & Redbridge (A) 3-0 

2015: Hartlepool United (A) 0-2

2016: Grimsby Town (A) 0-2

2017: Cheltenham Town (H) 2-1

2018: Crewe Alexandra (A) 0-6

2019: Grimsby Town (A) 0-2

2020: Cheltenham Town (A) 2-1

2021: Ipswich Town (A) 2-2

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