Morecambe boss Jim Bentley believes Saturday’s win against Wycombe Wanderers will have done the club’s younger players a world of good.
Aside from the three points which made it three home wins in a week for the Shrimps, victory also saw a number of starring roles from the home team.
Barry Roche might have got the man-of-the-match award for a number of late saves but some of the players in front of him also impressed.
Aaron McGowan performed excellently at right-back while the central defensive duo of Sam Lavelle and Steve Old coped manfully with the threat posed by Adebayo Akinfenwa.
Though Akinfenwa scored late on for Wanderers, Lavelle in particular, stood up to the test well against a striker who poses difficulty for all League Two backlines.
Bentley said: “We had a 21-year-old at right-back, a left-back in his early 20s (Patrick Brough) and Sam has only just turned 21,” Bentley said.
“It’s a great learning curve for all of them and, don’t forget, it was also Steve Old’s first game against ‘The Beast’.
“We had spoken about it during the week and Sam has gone from strength to strength; he can only benefit from a game like that.”
If Bentley was happy at claiming three points and moving out of League Two’s relegation places, he was just as pleased with the manner of their opening goal.
As a central defender who liked to score from set pieces, the Shrimps’ boss took great delight in the way Old opened the scoring in the first half.
Aaron Wildig’s corner was returned to the midfielder, whose driven cross was met by the onrushing Old for an emphatic header past Wanderers’ keeper Scott Brown.
It was the Kiwi’s second goal of the season and the manager has challenged the 31-year-old to improve upon that tally.
“I’ve been waiting for a goal like that to come along,” Bentley said.
“What Steve does is he gets into the box and gets into good positions. He’s hit the woodwork this season and he’s missed a couple of sitters along the way as well.
“You get players who go up for set pieces and believe they are going to score, either by losing their man or showing a bit of knowhow.
“Steve Old is like that; he’s a John Terry-type of player who will get into good positions and pose a threat.”
Adam McGurk doubled Morecambe’s lead with half-time approaching, after which the visitors had much the better of proceedings.
“We needed a result and we got a result; we’ve now got a free week before going to Colchester on Saturday which is great because we’ve had a lot of football and travelling in the last few weeks.”