Morecambe slipped to a narrow defeat against Lancashire rivals Preston North End in their latest pre-season friendly at the Globe Arena on Friday night.
Keith Keane scored a fine winner on 82 minutes with a clever lob after Ryan Williams’ free-kick had cancelled out Joe Garner’s first-half header.
Like the summer sun the Shirmps were bright in the opening stages with Andy Fleming dragging a shot wide from 20 yards after an excellent turn three minutes in.
Their best early opening came two minutes later however, Jack Redshaw nicking the ball on halway before being released in on goal by Padraig Amond. The diminutive striker did well to take the ball past Tom Clarke and ‘keeper Jamie Jones but could only run the ball out of play.
But despite the positive opening from Jim Bentley’s side it was the visitors who went ahead on 19 minutes.
Will Hayhurst was given too much time to cross from the left and his in-swinging centre was firmly headed home at the near post by Preston’s top goal scorer from last season Garner.
It was a goal that seem to awaken the League 1 side as from the resulting kick-off Ryan Edwards had to be alert to scramble off the line an Andy Little cross from a narrow angle that looped over Andreas Arestidou.
Garner then curled a shot from the edge of the area just wide on 23 minutes before Paul Gallagher stung the palms of Arestidou from a free-kick as Preston took control.
Just before the half hour Gallagher saw another effort from range, this time from open play, beat Arestidou but go narrowly wide of the Shrimps stopper’s right-hand post.
After Garner had curled another effort agonisingly wide 10 minutes before the break Kevin Ellison had a decent shout for a penalty.
The Shrimps veteran appeared to be brought down by Tom Clarke 10 yards out as he capitalised on weak back header from the Preston defender but referee Ross Joyce wasn’t interested.
Morecambe came quickly out of the traps in the second half but Ryan Williams’ cross-come-shot was just too strong for the advancing Redshaw.
Five minutes after the break, Edwards then had a glorious opportunity to level things up for the Shrimps but dragged a left-footed effort from eight yards horribly wide after a corner had been kept alive.
The home side continued to replicate their bright start to the first half in the second with Redshaw again rounding Jones after a fine Amond pass on 54 minutes. This time Jones got a hand on the ball with Redshaw bending an effort from a tight angle wide of the far post as the Shrimps pressed for an equaliser.
It duly came on 64 minutes with Williams’ swerving free-kick from 30 yards getting the better of substitute ‘keeper Thorsten Stuckmann who seemed to get a hand on the ball and could have done better.
With the game all square it was the visitors who looked the more likely to go in front for a second time however as the constant flow of pre-season substitutions began to stifle what had been decent friendly fare.
One replacement Chris Humphrey saw his effort after cutting in from the right narrowly deflected over the bar by Shrimps ‘skipper Mark Hughes 20 minutes from time.
North End made their pressure pay eight minutes from time however as Keane produced a fine finish to loop the ball over Arestidou to settle what had been a good pre-season exercise for both sides.
Morecambe: Arestidou, Beeley (Wright 73), Hughes (capt), Edwards (Parrish 81), Wilson (Goodall 81), Drummond (Kenyon 64), Fleming, Williams, Ellison, Amond, Redshaw (Sampson 68). Subs not used: Stewart (GK), McGowan, Doyle, McCready.
Preston North End: Jones (Stuckmann 45), B Davies, King, Clarke (Laird 76), Wiseman (Keane 68), Gallagher (Buchanan 76), Welsh (capt) (Kilkenny 45), Browne (Woods 68), Hayhurst (Brownhill 45), Garner (Davies 68), Little (Humphrey 68). Subs not used: Byrom, Hugill.
Referee: Ross Joyce.