Adam Lord takes a closer look at Morecambe’s 2-2 draw at Accrington Stanley on Saturday.
Improved performance least that was required
This isn’t a result that will set the world alight but after the 5-2 drubbing at home to Hartlepool last time out an improved performance was the least Morecambe fans could expect. Given the opposition and the pride at stake it would have been a worry if The Shrimps had folded for a second straight week. That certainly wasn’t the case however as although this wasn’t the prettiest game it was a resolute, battling display from Jim Bentley’s side that befitted the occasion. It would have been easy for The Shrimps to roll over when they saw their lead evaporate early in the second half but that wasn’t the case as they got a point their performance merited. Is it enough make fans forget some recent aberrations in a miserable 2016? Not at all. But it is a step back in the right direction with four games to go.
Point that seals 10th season in Football League
Not only was it an improved display but it was one that secures a 10th season in the Football League with The Shrimps officially, mathematically clear of any outside chance of relegation. In the struggles of 2015-2016 this isn’t an achievement that will be met with much celebration but it is the minimum requirement every season and even in the most wretched of campaigns it has been achieved with time to spare. The season has followed a similar pattern to all of those under Jim Bentley, a strong start ultimately petering out, with the slide this season since the turn of the year being particularly alarming. Bentley will now hope securing safety will allow his side to finish strongly and take some much-needed momentum into next season because if The Shrimps hadn’t raced out of the blocks this season it could have been a far more nerve-wracking conclusion.
Barkhuizen finishing with a flourish
One man who could be key for The Shrimps next season is Tom Barkhuizen. His equaliser on Saturday was his third in his last three games, the first two admittedly late on in defeats, but it takes the wide man to 11 for the season, an excellent return for a winger. With Shaun Miller and Jamie Devitt taking most of the plaudits the former Blackpool man’s impact this season has gone under the radar somewhat. After flying out of the blocks during some of the Shrimps’ scintillating counter attacking play early on in the season Barkhuizen’s form did dip, but he is now finishing with a flourish. For someone who didn’t string long periods of competitive football together during his time with the Seasiders that can only bode well for both player and club going forwards.