Match report: Morecambe 0 Barnet 1

Peter Murphy was sent off in the first half
Peter Murphy was sent off in the first half

It might have been Valentine’s Day but there was precious little love in the air at the Globe Arena as Morecambe’s six-match unbeaten run came to an end.

Tom Champion’s 65th minute header settled proceedings on a night when a match official again took centre stage.

Referee David Coote incurred the wrath of the home players, coaching staff and supporters with a couple of first-half decisions that could be considered contentious at best.

The first came on 26 minutes when he showed Shrimps’ skipper Peter Murphy a straight red card for a challenge on Ruben Bover.

While it was a wholehearted, strong challenge, it appeared one which took the ball before making contact with the Bees’ midfielder.

Seven minutes later and Mr Coote awarded the visitors a penalty when John Akinde went down under minimal contact from Ryan Edwards.

However, the home camp were left feeling justice was done as keeper Barry Roche dived to his right and held Akinde’s weak spot-kick.

Having played for more than an hour with 10 men though, the Shrimps shot themselves squarely in the foot with the manner of the winning goal.

A lapse in concentration at a corner allowed the unmarked Jamal Campbell-Ryce to cross for Champion to head home from close range.

One goal had always looked like settling a game which was scrappy before Murphy’s dismissal.

Campbell-Ryce was the visitors’ main attacking outlet, even if his end product didn’t always match the build-up.

Akinde proved his usual forceful self up front, even if Edwards and Alex Whitmore again acquitted themselves well.

Mauro Vilhete headed wide of Roche’s goal inside the opening quarter-hour before Morecambe’s task was made harder with Murphy’s dismissal.

It left, firstly, Kevin Ellison, then Paul Mullin and, latterly, Rhys Turner, playing the lone role up front and feeding off scraps.

Mullin came closest to fashioning an equaliser just before he was replaced by Turner, holding off one man and beating another before firing off target.

At the other end, Edwards and Whitmore’s committed defending saw plenty of blocks, notably to deny Campbell-Ryce, while Roche’s legs kept out another Akinde effort.

Try as they might however, and there was no doubting their efforts, the Shrimps were unable to fashion an equaliser as their six-match unbeaten run came to an end.

Morecambe: Roche, Whitmore, Edwards, Kenyon (Wakefield 70), Duckworth, Murphy, Rose, Molyneux (Jordan 80), Wildig, Mullin (Turner 61), Ellison. Subs not used: Nizic, McGowan, Conlan, Evans.

Barnet: Vickers, Clough, Nelson, Santos, Johnson, Vilhete, Champion, Bover (Taylor 83), Campbell-Ryce (Amaluzor 90), Weston (Sweeney 83), Akinde. Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Coulson, Mason-Clark, Tutonda.

Referee: David Coote.

Attendance: 1,100.