Morecambe 1 Hartlepool United 1: Five things we learned

Paul Mullin (left) netted his 10th goal of the season yesterday
Paul Mullin (left) netted his 10th goal of the season yesterday

Morecambe snapped their seven-game losing run on Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Hartlepool United but what did we learn from the game?

Safe pair of hands

Given Barry Roche’s performances for Morecambe this season, there might have been a sense of unease when he was ruled out with a wrist injury.

That would have been unfair on Danijel Nizic, however, as the young Australian proved an able deputy in goal.

Quick off his line to thwart Padraig Amond and Nathan Thomas, he also showed a willingness to come out and clear corners.

His distribution was also good with one quick goal kick almost setting Paul Mullin through on goal in the first half.

Right place, right time

Much of Morecambe’s first-half attacking play was so uninspiring, Mullin must have wondered why he was even on the pitch.

To say he was living off scraps borders on the generous as the Shrimps’ sole threat in the opening 45 minutes was something the striker created for himself.

However, he didn’t let that get him down and showed the striker’s art of being in the right place at the right time to get the Shrimps on level terms.

That made it 10 goals for the season, equalling last season’s haul and taking him level with Cole Stockton at the top of the Shrimps’ scoring charts.

A performance of two halves

On Grand National day, the Shrimps were - to put it mildly - nowhere near the races in the opening half.

Hartlepool were full value for their one-goal, half-time lead which could have been more such was their superiority in the opening 45 minutes.

In contrast, the second 45 minutes was much better and begged the question why they couldn’t have performed anywhere near to that standard earlier.

Eithe way, 45-minute performances are not good enough with the Shrimps caught in a tailspin.

Too close for comfort

Thank heaven for Morecambe’s start to 2017 when they gained 20 points during the opening two months.

Saturday’s draw made it two points from the last 27 available, a run which has seen them drop down the League Two table.

Coupled with a revival at Newport County AFC, it leaves the Shrimps looking more nervously over their shoulders than they might have thought.

Eight points ahead of the second-bottom Exiles with five games remaining, the Morecambe players are making hard work of preserving League Two status.

Quiet and subdued

No, not the home fans - irritation at Morecambe’s first-half display and the performance of referee Andy Haines saw to that.

In this case, it was Jim Bentley during his post-match media duties.

Normally, the Shrimps’ boss is someone who, win, lose or draw, is up front with the press, issuing answers of two to three minutes in response to even the simplest of questions.

Yesterday, however, he cut a quieter, more subdued figure; almost as if what he’s had to deal with during this season has drained the life out of him.