Morecambe’s home woes continued as they came out on the wrong side of a seven-goal thriller with Bristol Rovers at the Globe Arena on Saturday.
The Shrimps were second best in the first half with Lee Mansell giving Rovers a deserved lead shortly before the half hour.
Shaun Miller levelled things up with his first goal for the club just before the interval but the hosts couldn’t build on it.
Their defensive frailties were exposed again as Billy Bodin and Matty Taylor put Darrell Clarke’s side 3-1 up.
Tom Barkhuizen then reduced the arrears but the visitors kept Morecambe at arm’s length thanks to Ellis Harrison’s penalty.
Morecambe’s own spot kick from Paul Mullin set up a dramatic finish but it proved too little, too little, The Shrimps now having conceded 11 goals in three straight home defeats.
It was a poor spectacle early on with free-flowing football at a premium.
The visitors did string a neat move together down the right midway through the half with Roche needing to save Billy Bodin’s shot, Andy Fleming then on hand with a perfectly-timed challenge to deny Mansell a free shot on goal.
Jake Gosling then volleyed just wide for Rovers from 25 yards before at the other end a strong right hand from Lee Nichols denied Miller.
But it was The Pirates who were beginning to move the ball around nicely.
Roche produced a fine save low to his right to help Mansell’s shot onto the post before the midfielder got his goal moments later in the 28th minute.
Morecambe only half cleared a corner with Jake Gosling hitting the byline and pulling the ball back for Mansell to score on the stretch from 12 yards.
Rovers kept coming after opening the scoring, Gosling pulling a shot just wide from 20 yards.
Out of nothing The Shrimps were level on 43 minutes however.
Miller broke down the left channel with Nicholls inexplicably racing from his line allowing the former Crewe man to lift the ball over Wigan loanee and in from 20 yards.
Morecambe didn’t deserve to be level and they weren’t for long with Rovers going back in front two minutes into the second half.
Bodin breezed through The Shrimps midfield and fed Jermaine Easter free in the box with the striker’s shot saved by Roche before Bodin hammered home the rebound.
It was all too easy as the visitors made it three on 58 minutes with Taylor beating Dugdale to flick home Lee Jones’ drilled cross from the left.
But then for the second time in the game Morecambe scored from nowhere a minute later.
Dugdale’s long punt over the top released Barkhuizen in on goal and the in-form front made no mistake as he beat Nicholls to reduce the arrears to one.
It was the visitors who got the game’s next goal however, Rovers’ fourth coming from the spot 10 minutes from time.
Shaun Beeley was the man penalised for handball despite being only a couple of yards from Bodin’s cross.
Harrison stepped up and made no mistake, hammering the ball beyond Roche and into the roof of the net.
Morecambe soon had a penalty of their own three minutes from time however.
Miller went down under challenge from Mansell with Mullin stepping up to second Nicholls the wrong way and set up a grandstand finale.
But it proved too little, too late as Morecambe’s winless run moved to four games.
Morecambe: Roche, Parrish, Dugdale, Edwards, Beeley (capt), Goodall (Kenyon 71), Fleming, Molyneux (Ellison 71), Devitt (Mullin 80), Barkhuizen, Miller. Subs not used: Thompson, McGowan, Bailey, Ryan.
Bristol Rovers: Nicholls, J Clarke, Lockyer, McChrystal (capt), Brown, Gosling, Sinclair, Mansell, Bodin (Leadbitter 88), Taylor (O Clarke 82), Easter (Harrison 74). Subs not used: Mildenhall, Parkes, Lines, Montano.
Referee: Andrew Madley
Attendance: 1,712 (386 away)
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