MORECAMBE assistant boss Mark Lillis admitted that his side were in a relegation dogfight after his side suffered their sixth home defeat of the League 2 season on Saturday.
After another hugely frustrating afternoon at the Globe Arena Lillis had a brutally honest view of his side’s plight with 10 games of the season to go, including two successive vital games against Barnet and Macclesfield coming up.
He said: “We are in a fight now and there is no hiding from that fact.
“The good thing is that we have 30 points to play for and games against some of the teams around us in the league so it is in our own hands.
“At the end of the day you are judged on 46 games but we know it is down to us and we will be working as hard as we can to get the points we need.
“This is the other side of football and a lot of our fans are not used to it but we will be doing everything we can to get the points we need to stay in this league and we need everyone to stick together.’’
Looking at the game itself Lillis said: “We had plenty of possession and played well until the final third but we lacked the guile we needed to break them down which was disappointing because we had worked hard in training on that aspect of our game.
“We had a great chance in the first minute and if that had gone in it could have been a totally different story and we felt we were denied at least one clear penalty when Garry Hunter was brought down by Gareth Evans but it wasn’t to be and we have to prepare for the game at Barnet now which is a big one for everyone.’’
This was a game that largely epitomised the Shrimps’ rollercoaster system.
The football up to the final third was good at times but the quality of final ball was at times shocking and a Bradford defence that never looked entirely comfortable had an all too easy afternoon.
The fact Jon McLaughlin did not have a save of note to make in the 90 minutes summed up the frustrations of the home fan, frustrations that boiled over at the end when boss Sammy McIlroy made an immediate path for referee Nigel Miller who had a shocker.
Ironically the whole afternoon could have been so different if Kevan Hurst had taken advantage of a golden opportunity to open the scoring with less than 20 seconds on the clock.
Danny Carlton played in the winger and although he rounded McLaughlin his touch was too heavy and he could only find the side netting with is final effort.
Unfortunately that proved to be the highlight of the first half for Morecambe fans as Bradford looked the more threatening.
Joe Anyon put his mistake on Tuesday night behind him as he twice saved well from long range Michael Flynn efforts.
But he could do nothing to prevent the Bantams opening the scoring on 32 minutes when a Kieran Charnock clearance rebounded off Evans and perfectly into the path of James Hanson who headed past Anyon from six yards out.
Garry Hunter had a good chance to level the scores a minute later but he missed the target from close range with what proved to be a vital miss.
As the half came to a close Hunter produced a neat lay off for Carlton but the striker over ran the ball and the chance went begging again.
The second half saw the Shrimps struggle to provide a response and Anyon was the busier of the keepers with a superb flying save from Evans’s sweetly struck volley.
After 20 sterile minutes Morecambe finally produced some moments of threat.
Hurst curled an effort over from the edge of the box and Carlton fizzed a cross must wide of the right hand post.
The first clear chance came eight minutes from time when Chris Shuker delivered a good cross into the box for Stewart Drummond but he could only direct his header straight at McLaughlin.
Bradford then had the chance to double their lead five minutes into injury time when Kevin Ellison won a penalty after being brought down by Andy Parrish but Evans’s spot kick ws superbly saved by Anyon.
Morecambe: Anyon 7, Parrish 6, McCready 7, Charnock 6, Wilson 5; Hunter 6 (rep Shuker 66), Drummond 5, Fleming 5, Hurst 5; Spencer 5 (rep Jevons 68), Carlton 5 (rep Brown 86). Subs not used: Walker, Wainwright, Capaldi, Holdsworth.
Bradford: McLaughlin 6; O’Brien 6, Oliver 6, Williams 6, Hunt 6; Flynn 7, Worthington 6, Evans 6, Speight 6; Dobie 6 (rep Ellison 64), Hanson 6. Subs not used: Saxton (GK), Threlfall, Osborne, Adeyemi, Bullock, Syers.
Ref: N Miller.
Star man: Chris McCready - showed a lot of character and leadership qualities