Morecambe finally picked up their first win of 2014 with a hard-fought victory over Southend United at the Globe Arena on Saturday.
Jack Redshaw’s goal less than three minutes after coming on as a substitute handed the Shrimps a much-needed win that ended a run of 10 matches without tasting success.
It was a nervy contest between two sides in dire need of three points with Ryan Leonard’s header giving the visitors, nine games without a win themselves, an early lead. But Kevin Elllison showed great persistence to equalise just before the half hour before Redshaw’s second-half winner that kept up the Shrimps’ unbeaten Football League record against the Shrimpers and eased their relegation worries.
The home side made a decent enough start with Ellison dragging a shot wide from 20 yards on his return to the side just six minutes in.
But the Shrimps were behind three minutes later. Kevan Hurst was given time to cross on the left and whipped in an excellent in-swinging centre with Leonard rising highest to head past Barry Roche and into the top left hand corner from 12 yards.
Former Shrimps loanee Hurst, the visitors’ top goalscorer, always looked a threat as Southend played on the break, curling a shot over from a tight angle on 24 minutes.
But despite the nerves around the Globe Arena Morecambe were level just before the half hour.
Southend didn’t deal with a long ball forward and Ellison nipped in front of goalkeeper Dan Bentley before finishing well from a narrow angle into the empty net to equalise on 28 minutes.
The visitors somehow didn’t go back in front 10 minutes before the break, the Shrimps scrambling clear after Hurst’s chipped cross from the left was headed into the path of Anthony Straker in the six-yard box.
And Roche was then called upon in stoppage time to keep the scores level at half-time, saving well low to his left from Leonard’s 25-yard shot.
It was an end-to-end start to the second half with the game anyone’s for the taking, Bentley doing well to rush out and deny Padraig Amond on 49 minutes after the Shrimps striker had been played in by Ellison.
The much-improved Shrimps display saw them twice come close to going ahead just after the hour mark.
First Ellison saw a volley from a deep Jack Sampson cross well saved by Bentley before captain Mark Hughes fired over a shot from the resultant corner.
At the other end, substitute Lee Barnard fired a volley just over on the turn on 66 minutes before Chris McCready had to hack away Leonard’s effort in the six-yard area less than 60 seconds later.
But it was the hosts who went in front on 69 minutes with a clinical counter attack.
Roche’s throw released a marauding Beeley down the right who ran half the length of the field before sliding the ball across to Redshaw who calmly slid the ball low to Bentley’s left and into the far corner.
And it could have been 3-1 two minutes later but Ellison could only fire a right-foot shot over after riding a couple of challenges in the area.
Skipper Hughes then should have done better on 81 minutes when the ball dropped to him from a corner but the defender could only shoot into the side netting.
Southend were always going to press late in search of an equaliser and did just that, Barry Corr going close with a header and Conor Clifford firing in a vicious shot from distance that dipped just over the bar.
But the Shrimps held on for their first win since Boxing Day and one that moved them up to 13th in League 2.
Morecambe: Roche, Beeley, Hughes (capt), McCready, Threlfall, Kenyon, Drummond, Fleming, Ellison (Wright 85), Amond (Redshaw 66), Sampson (Marshall 85). Subs not used: Arestidou, Diagne, Williams, Parrish.
Booked: Fleming, Ellison
Southend: Bentley, White (capt), Phillips, Egan, Coker, Leonard (Laird 71), Timlin (Clifford 51), Atkinson (Barnard 61), Corr, Straker, Hurst. Subs not used: Smith, Payne, Eastwood, Gomis.
Referee: Oliver Langford
Attendance: 1,608 (209 away)