Shrimps’ striker says sorry after missing penalty

A-Jay Leitch-Smith failed penalty.
A-Jay Leitch-Smith failed penalty.
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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley revealed striker A-Jay Leitch-Smith said sorry to his team-mates for his second spot-kick miss of the season.

Having scored his sixth league goal of the season against Port Vale on Saturday, Leitch-Smith wasted a chance to give the Shrimps the lead after Vale had fought back from two goals down.

His late penalty was saved by Vale keeper Scott Brown, following on from a similar miss against Yeovil Town at the Globe Arena last month.

That first miss proved academic as Bentley’s players ran out winners but Saturday’s miss was double disappointing after the Shrimps had conceded twice in four minutes late on.

It also came after a prolonged discussion between Leitch-Smith and a number of team-mates as to who would take the penalty.

“A-Jay has come in and apologised to the lads,” Bentley said following the weekend point.

“He’s missed two for us this season but I’ve seen it at other clubs where they fight over the ball but we write it on the board.

“He does practice them in training and puts them in the corner but it meant they (Port Vale) won a point and, in my opinion, a point they didn’t deserve.”

That the visitors achieved a draw was almost entirely thanks to Brown, who made fingertip saves from Liam Mandeville and Jordan Cranston in the first half.

There was another acrobatic stop from Mandeville in the second period, while Jason Oswell was thwarted on more than one occasion by some frantic defending from the visitors.

However, their defence could do little about Leitch-Smith’s opener, coming via a classic counter-attack from a Vale corner.

Oswell doubled the lead with half-time approaching, converting Alex Kenyon’s cross to score his first league goal for the Shrimps.

Even though Morecambe were facing a strong wind during the second half, they were well on course for three points until a frenetic finish.

Antony Kay’s controversial goal halved the deficit, the hitherto unthreatening Tom Pope headed the equaliser and Leitch-Smith missed a penalty – all within the space of five minutes.

“Their keeper has been excellent and they have defended well at times,” Bentley acknowledged.

“There was one where Ossie (Oswell) looks like he’s going to head it in and how the full-back heads it away, I don’t know.

“Ossie has headed another one against the back of the defender’s head and I couldn’t remember Mark Halstead (Morecambe keeper) having a touch of the ball.

“At any level, being 2-0 up and cruising should be sufficient and, on another day, you see it out.”

n The Shrimps are reminding supporters about Thursday’s fans forum.

It takes place at the Globe Arena and is scheduled to begin at 7.30pm, following on from an AGM of the club’s shareholders taking place at 7.30pm.

Members of the board are expected to be in attendance for the first forum of the season, following on from one during pre-season in July.