Ten-man Shrimps sink at home

Morecambe's Chris Doyle gets his marching orders against Torquay United
Morecambe's Chris Doyle gets his marching orders against Torquay United

Ten-man Morecambe ended their home League Two campaign on a low note as Torquay took a massive step towards Football League survival.

A Stewart Drummond own goal and a strike from substitute Ashley Yeoman seconds after coming on handed the visitors three vital points at the Globe Arena on Saturday.

An injury-hit Shrimps had faced an uphill struggle for nearly 70 minutes after Chris Doyle was shown a straight red card for pulling back Elliot Benyon when last man on his first Football League start, but the home side put in a brave display.

With an unfamiliar back line the home side started the better and showed some great interplay in the final third but lacked a true cutting edge.

The game then turned on a five horrible first-half minutes for Jim Bentley’s side.

First Doyle, who had already been booked, was dismissed following the coming together with Benyon on 23 minutes.

It was harsh on the youngster, but he can have few complaints with the decision despite the Gulls front man being some 40 yards from goal and the contact being minimal.

And the home side’s misery was compounded five minutes later as Barry Roche allowed a Drummond back pass from the edge of the area to slide under his foot and into the back of the net to give Alan Knill’s side the lead.

Ryan Williams came the closest to a Shrimps leveller on the stroke of half-time, nearly catching Michael Poke out with a stinging 30-yard free-kick with everyone expecting the midfielder to cross.

The home side then came within a whisker of a leveller 10 minutes after the break, stand-in skipper Andy Wright showing excellent technique to turn and volley on the edge of the area but his effort came back off the left-hand post.

But as the game opened up in the second half the visitors looked to take advantage of their extra man.

First former Shrimps loanee Rene Howe fired a shot agonisingly across goal just before the hour mark, then a minute later Ryan Jarvis skimmed the top of the bar with an effort from the edge of the area when he should have tested Roche.

In what had turned into an entertaining end-to-end contest, the home side were next to go close.

Some of the crowd thought Kevin Ellison’s dipping volley from 20 yards had dropped in, but it went just wide with Poke beaten.

The Shrimps however always looked stretched when the visitors broke and it was from a clinical counter that the Gulls doubled their lead.

Yeomans was the man who got the goal, scoring with a well-taken shot across Roche 20 minutes from time.

It all but sealed three precious points for Knill’s strugglers but the home side weren’t without their sights of goal in the closing stages, Williams bending a 25-yard free-kick narrowly over the bar on 76 minutes.

The result means Torquay have done the double over the Shrimps who, with just one win in nine, are still a solitary point behind last season’s points tally of 56 with the final day trip to Southend to come.

Morecambe: Roche, Wright (capt), Drummond, Doyle, Threlfall, McDonald (McGowan 83), Fleming, Williams, Alessandra (Burrow 61), Ellison, Redshaw (Mwasile 83). Subs not used: Arestidou, McGee, Short, Holroyd

Booked: Doyle, Williams

Sent off: Doyle

Torquay: Poke, Oastler, Downes, Saah, Nicholson, Jarvis, Mansell (capt), Lathrope, Bodin (Stevens 89), Howe, Benyon (Yeoman 68). Subs not used: Rice, Morris, MacDonald, Craig, Cruise.

Booked: Downes.

Referee: Darren Bond

Attendance: 2,033 (257)