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Match Reports

REPORT: Morecambe 1 Wanderers 1

Super-sub Bakayoko strikes late on to extend unbeaten run on day of high drama

5 February 2022

A dramatic afternoon ended in thrilling style as Amadou Bakayoko struck five minutes into added time to stretch Wanderers’ unbeaten run and keep them moving in the right direction.

After play had been suspended when referee Ross Joyce took both sides off the pitch following allegations of racial abuse directed at the Wanderers’ bench, the 10-man Whites grabbed a precious point.

Joyce – who had earlier dismissed Wanderers’ captain Ricardo Almeida Santos for a hotly-disputed handball decision – allowed an extra 10 minutes following a brief period for the players to warm up.

And it was Ian Evatt’s men who caught fire with Bakayoko pouncing to make it two goals in two games to cancel out a 73rd-minute Cole Stockton goal as never-say-die Wanderers made it five games without defeat amid chaotic scenes in a record crowd at the Mazuma Stadium.

Bakayoko goal.jpg

Despite the extension of the Whites’ winning run in mid-week, there were a couple of changes to the starting line-up as Kieran Lee returned and there was also an opportunity for Will Aimson in place of Gethin Jones – not risked two stops into an eight-game month.

Wanderers also had to alter their approach in a near wind tunnel which made passing football difficult.

There was more of an emphasis on moving the ball early towards the front men, although when the chance arose to play, Evatt’s men took it.

One such move instigated from the back by Declan John found Lee to tee up MJ Williams for a fierce drive which flew just over the bar.

Dion Charles and Dapo Afolayan worked Morecambe’s back line in typical fashion and John forced debutant keeper Adam Smith into a scrambling save.

But the Shrimps also had their moments as they looked to keep climbing away from relegation trouble.

Evatt bench.jpg

Their push has been spearheaded by Stockton and the 20-goal leading scorer twice threatened before the break, steering a shot just wide on the turn before seeing another effort blocked in front of goal.

With Wanderers looking to benefit from the wind behind them in the second half, Evatt sent on Jon Dadi Bodvarsson at the break to add a more physical presence up front.

The Whites were attacking another sold-out away end but it remained tough going.

And Morecambe – on the back of decent run of just two defeats in six games – again had openings with Anthony O’Connor shooting at Trafford, who then showed excellent handling to keep out an Adam Phillips’ free-kick.

But that was nothing on the save the teenager then made to keep out a penalty given in controversial circumstances as Ricardo Almeida was sent off with 20 minutes to go.

A shot from Jonah Ayunga appeared to hit the Wanderers’ skipper on the shoulder but, after a short delay, Joyce pointed to the spot and showed Santos red.

Evatt calm.jpg

Trafford made a superb save to deny Stockton and extend his clean sheet record but three minutes later he was finally beaten.

Missing Santos at the back, Wanderers were caught out on the break and when Phillips crossed for Stockton, the striker made amends by side-footing home.

Things then got heated with an object apparently thrown towards the Morecambe goalkeeper and after comments directed towards the Wanderers’ bench led to the referee taking the teams off, Evatt’s men geared themselves up for one final push.

And it with 10 minutes added on and Williams driving the side forward alongside debutant Kyle Dempsey, the late pressure paid off.

Williams' pass for John saw the wing-back gallop forward and cross low into the box, where Bakayoko pounced on a defensive block before firing home from eight yards to spark joyous scenes among the Wanderers’ fans as the unbeaten run goes on.

Wanderers: Trafford; Aimson, Almeida Santos, Johnston; Fossey, Williams, Morley, John; Lee (Bodvarsson HT); Afolayan (Dempsey 66), Charles (Bakayoko 78). Substitutes: Dixon, Bakayoko, Sadlier, Thomason, Baptiste.

Booked: Johnston

Sent off: Santos

Morecambe: Smith; McLaughlin, O’Connor, Bedeau, Leigh; Diagouraga; McLoughlin, Phillips (Fane 85); Ayunga, Stockton, Gnahoua. Substitutes: Mendes, Connolly, Obika, Cooney, McCalmont, Bennett.

Booked:

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 5,617 (1,757 Wanderers)


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