REPORT: Morecambe v Wanderers

A first draw since Wanderers were last involved in a goalless stalemate against Plymouth in the first week of January saw the Whites add another point to their play-off push.

Ian Evatt’s men lacked the killer instinct to take the one chance that might have been enough to win the game and dent Morecambe’s impressive home record.

Wanderers spent long periods forcing the Shrimps onto the back foot without being able to find a way through a sea of red shirts in the penalty area.

But having let things slip at Portsmouth in mid-week to finish empty handed, the Whites made sure they wouldn’t leave the Mazuma Stadium with no reward as they regained some momentum to take into next Saturday’s top-six showdown with Ipswich Town.

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Wanderers brought back Luke Mbete and Josh Sheehan into their starting line-up as they looked to become only the second side to win at Morecambe since early October.

And the Whites almost made the perfect start with a goal after six minutes.

The cool head of Aaron Morley was quickly involved with a pass into Conor Bradley, who helped the ball onto Shola Shoretire.

The on-loan Manchester United youngster didn’t have much room to work with but managed to squeeze out a shot which was well blocked by Connor Ripley, who then had to be alert to keep out a Declan John strike from the corner that followed.

Time and space was at a premium and with Morecambe fighting for survival they were never going to make life easy.

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Defender Farren Rawson headed a decent chance over the top from an Ash Hunter cross from the Shrimps’ best opening of the early exchanges.

Rawson – beaten at the other end by Dion Charles who almost played in Shoretire in front of goal – was involved again with just over half an hour gone when he headed back another set-play for Cole Stockton to volley just wide.

And Morecambe missed the best chance yet when Hunter delivered another cross on the break, this time from the right-hand side, and midfielder Liam Shaw steered a header wide.

But Wanderers finished the first half back on the front foot and almost led themselves as Charles again caused problems after spinning onto a Sheehan pass and forced Ripley into a scrambling save before the impressive Bradley got forward to fire wide in injury-time.

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The momentum was maintained in an impressive start to the second half as Wanderers pummelled the Morecambe penalty area in search of the breakthrough.

They camped around the packed Shrimps’ goalmouth without being able to puncture the hosts’ back line, despite the best efforts of Charles who remained a constant threat.

And as a highly competitive contest remained on a knife edge, Evatt made a first change with the introduction of Elias Kachunga to try and break the deadlock.

Morecambe got a rare sight of goal as Jensen Weir tested James Trafford before the Whites had another opportunity of their own as Bradley forced the ball through for Sheehan, whose angled shot almost found a way past a diving Ripley.

Dan Nlundulu then joined the fray and he fired at Ripley as Wanderers poured men forward to knock on the door, cranking up the pressure again and winning a string of corners.

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None of them could make the difference, though, as despite pushing right to the end Wanderers couldn’t find one more cear-cut opening to turn possession into maximum points.

Morecambe, fighting to stay out of the bottom four, defended defiantly and in numbers but the Whites kept the door shut at other end with the Shrimps looked to counter and with an 18th clean sheet of season secured it could yet be a fruitful afternoon's work.

Wanderers: Trafford; Toal, Santos, Mbete; Bradley, Morley, Dempsey, John (R Williams 81); Sheehan (Nlundulu 73); Shoretire (Kachunga 64), Charles. Substitutes: Dixon, Jones, Lee, Thomason.

Booked: None

Morecambe: Ripley; Love, Rawson (Simeu 78), Bedeau; Melbourne; Shaw, Gibson; Crowley (Mayor 85), Weir (Watts 89), Hunter (Gnahoua 85); Stockton. Substitutes: Smith, Cooney, Austerfield, Mayor.

Booked: Shaw


Attendance: 5,211

Read Time: 4 mins