DANNY Carlton, the striker who shot Morecambe into the Football League with his Wembley wonder goal, may have helped them stay there with a brace in this crucial six-pointer.
Carlton’s first goals since returning to the Shrimps sealed victory against a Barnet side hoping to gain ground on Morecambe in their own bid to move away from the League Two relegation zone.
His last starring role in north London was a screamer from the edge of the penalty area in the 2007 Conference play-off final.
On Saturday both Carlton goals came from inside the six-yard box but their impact was massive as Sammy McIlroy’s men took a huge step closer to safety.
Cheered on by vociferous 378 fans who had taken advantage of the club’s generous offer of free transport from Morecambe, the Shrimps made just one change to the side that had gone down by the only goal of their previous game at home to Bradford.
And it proved a significant one with Tony Capaldi, who came in for Gary Hunter, providing the telling assists for both Carlton strikes.
The visitors started in lively fashion with Jimmy Spencer causing problems for the home defence and Carlton going close with a volley just wide early on.
But it was Barnet who took the lead after 21 minutes, Kieron Charnock failing to halt Sam Deering’s run and shot from the right flank and Mark Byrne pouncing to stroke the ball home after Chris McCready had half-cleared.
Capaldi’s long throws had created panic in the home goal area on a couple of occasions before Carlton’s opener in which he nodded home from Stewart Drummond’s flick-on for a 35th minute equaliser.
And when another missile darted into the goalmouth just before the break, Spencer had a shot blocked before the striker put the Shrimps ahead with a toe-poke from six inches.
The second half saw Morecambe dominate possession and come close to adding to their advantage, Spencer fluffing his shot from a few yards following another Capaldi throw and Lawrence Wilson hesitating long enough for defender Matt Parsons to make a covering tackle when he looked likely to at least test the keeper after a run towards goal.
At the other end Joe Anyon put his blunder at Bury behind him with another solid display, his best save a one-handed stunner from Charlie Taylor as the Barnet substitute was wheeling away to celebrate what he thought was a late equaliser.
Shrimps boss, McIlroy, paid tribute to the travelling fans, saying they’d played a massive part in lifting his men after the disappointment of defeat at home to Bradford. He said: “They were fantastic, cheering the boys on even when we went one down. That gave us a big lift and we were delighted that we were able to respond and get the win.
“The team has a brilliant attitude and has worked really hard over the past few games. It’s that kind of effort we’ll need to stay in this league.
“We said a little while ago that we were starting again with a ten game season and I’m sure with that sort of team spirit and the support of these fans we can make sure we are still in the Football League next season.”
Morecambe: Anyon, Parrish, Charnock, McCready, Capaldi, Hurst (Brown 90), Drummond, Fleming, Wilson, Spencer (Shuker 89), Carlton (Jevons 84).