Bentley accepts criticism and hails Morecambe’s response at Oxford

Jim Bentley and his assistant Ken McKenna
Jim Bentley and his assistant Ken McKenna
  • Shrimps bounce back from Cambridge shocker with point at Oxford
  • Bentley relieved as side survive late scare at Kassam Stadium
  • Morecambe boss hails Ellison after striker’s 50th goal for the club

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley was delighted with his side’s response in their 1-1 draw at Oxford on Tuesday night.

The Shrimps manager and his team came in for heavy criticism after the 2-0 defeat at home to Cambridge on Saturday. 
They turned in a much improved display at the Kassam Stadium however with Kevin Ellison’s 50th goal for the club nearly giving the Shrimps all three points only for George Baldock to equalise late on.

If we turn in performances like that between now and the end of the season then we’ll be in for a good run in

Bentley said: “There’s going to be ups and downs.

“I’ve been informed I took a little bit of stick over the performance on Saturday and rightly so.

“I do care what the fans think. 
“We’ll listen to criticism if it’s deserved and if it’s constructive.

“Maybe I got the team wrong (on Saturday), the team didn’t do themselves any favours.

“I was thinking about changing it on Saturday but we did do well at Newport and we went with it again.

“It backfired because we weren’t good enough.

“I’ve left three of the midfielders concerned out tonight because I thought we were poor in there.

“We’ve freshened it up and got the response.

“If we turn in performances like that between now and the end of the season then we’ll be in for a good run in.

“Whether we’ve left ourselves too much to do is yet to be seen.”

The Shrimps looked relatively comfortable after Ellison’s 10th-minute opener at Oxford but nearly came away with nothing but for Ryan Edwards’ late goal-line clearance and Andreas Arestidou’s sharp stop.

Bentley said: “It could have been better but it also could have been so much worse.

“Once they got the goal with three minutes to go the crowd got right behind them, they had a right good go at us and there was little scary moment at the end.

“We were looking strong, it was the ideal away performance.

“They didn’t really threaten us in the second half, there were one or two routine saves for Stav (Andreas Arestidou).

“But we didn’t get that bit of luck you need for their goal. 
“We should have stopped him as he drove in but he’s taken a gamble, hit the shot and it’s taken a wicked deflection.

“That was bad luck we didn’t need but we got a little bit of good luck at the end and thankfully I’m not talking about a 2-1 defeat.”

Bentley reserved special praise for Ellison after his landmark strike.

The Shrimps boss said: “His 50th goal for Morecambe is a great achievement.

“The oldest player on the pitch, he probably covered more grass than anyone else and deserved his goal.

“He’s obviously the player away fans love to hate and our fans love him.

“He’s in to double figures again this season and to get to 50 goals is fantastic.

“On that evidence I’m sure everyone watching will say he’s got years left in him.”

Morecambe head to Luton in League 2 on Saturday.