Match report: Morecambe 0 Rochdale 1

Aaron Wildig twice came close to scoring for Morecambe
Aaron Wildig twice came close to scoring for Morecambe

Steven Davies’ second-half goal proved the difference as both sides completed their preparations ahead of the new season.

Dale’s striker settled matters eight minutes after the break in a fiercely contested game where no quarter was given.

Indeed, both sets of coaching staff could have been forgiven for wincing at their players’ propensity for strong challenges seven days before the start of the season.

While Shrimps’ boss Jim Bentley saw his side suffer a fourth straight pre-season defeat, there were some positives to be gleaned.

Their pressing game forced mistakes from the visitors while, in the second half, they created a number of opportunities even if the clinical finish wasn’t there.

It was Dale who had the better of the first half with Morecambe keeper Dan Nizic keeping out early efforts from Ollie Rathbone and Niall Canavan.

Callum Camps and Mark Kitching also chanced their arm, though good pressure from the Shrimps got new skipper Michael Rose behind the backline.

However, rather than shoot at visiting keeper Josh Lillis, he tried to square the ball and the opportunity was lost.

Lillis made a comfortable stop from Vadaine Oliver while, at the other end, Rathbone, Jamie Allen and Andy Cannon were all off target.

The second half opened with Davies hitting a free-kick straight at Nizic but he was not to be denied moments later.

Rathbone’s strong run took him into the Morecambe area where he pulled the ball back for Davies to finish with aplomb.

Rather than let their heads drop, Bentley’s players rallied and could have scored on five occasions in the final 20 minutes.

Aaron Wildig latched onto Jim McNulty’s errant backpass and advanced on goal, only to be denied by Lillis.

Seconds later and the impressive Rhys Turner beat two men and saw his shot kept out by the keeper.

However, having regained possession, Turner sent the ball across goal for Wildig whose effort was stopped on the line by defender Kgosi Ntlme.

Garry Thompson was the next man to be denied, collecting Adam Campbell’s cross but seeing his shot strike the inside of the far post.

In added time, Turner collected Alex Kenyon’s pass and beat his defender, only to screw his shot well off target when confronted by Lillis.

Morecambe: Nizic, McGowan (Lund 72), Winnard (Trialist 61), Kenyon, Brough, Fleming (Conlan 78), Rose, Thompson, Wildig (Campbell 78), Ellison (Turner 61), Oliver. Sub not used: Jumeau.

Rochdale: Lillis, Keane (Rafferty 72), Canavan, McNulty, Cannon (Brown 72), Camps (Morley 63), Allen (Adshead 63), Ntlme, Kitching (Andrew 46), Rathbone, Davies (Gillam 77). Subs not used: Wade, Inman, Henderson.

Referee: Graham Salisbury.