Hartlepool 2-0 Morecambe

Jim Bentley. Picture: Matt Rushton
Jim Bentley. Picture: Matt Rushton
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Morecambe were made to pay for missed opportunities as they went down to an opening day defeat at Hartlepool.

The Shrimps squandered plenty of chances at Victoria Park as goals from Billy Paynter and Rakish Bingham handed Ronnie Moore’s side the first three points of the new League 2 season.

The hosts were the brighter in the early stages but it was Morecambe who had the ball in the net on five minutes only for Kevin Ellison’s effort to be ruled out for offside.

Pools continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock but failed to test Barry Roche.

It was The Shrimps who were inches from going in front shortly before the quarter hour as Ryan Edwards crashed a header from a Lee Molyneux free-kick off the crossbar.

Molyneux then went directly for goal from a set piece on 20 minutes but his effort went narrowly wide.

It was the hosts however who went in front five minutes later.

Roche produced a fine save to deny Michael Woods with the ball breaking to Bingham, the former Mansfield man floating a ball in for Paynter to head in off the far post.

Hartlepool sensed a second after their opener but after getting in behind the Shrimps defence, Roche saved smartly at his near post to deny Scott Fenwick.

The visitors will feel they should have gone into the break level however.

First Molyneux saw a fierce free-kick from 30 yards beaten away by Adam Bartlett and then Jamie Devitt had the best chance for the visitors to equalise.

As the hosts screamed for offside the Irishman failed to find his feet in on goal and could only fire wide.

There was still time for Molyneux to again go close but his shot from 15 yards was blocked as Bartlett scrambled back having only half-punched clear.

It was then the former Accrington man who was the first to go close in the second half but he could only scuff an effort wide after Devitt and Paul Mullin had linked up well down the right.

Pools went up the other end and nearly made it 2-0 however, Bingham pouncing on a Parrish mistake but Roche sent him wide with the front man’s pull back scrambled clear.

Morecambe were the next to close and it was another fine opportunity but Mullin could only put a free header over the bar from Laurence Wilson’s cross 10 minutes into the second half.

The Shrimps had really found their passing game but it was the hosts who doubled their lead on 65 minutes, Bingham finishing low past Roche one-on-one after Paynter had lifted the ball over the top.

Bentley’s side kept pressing, Ellison cannoning a shot off the underside of the bar 15 minutes from time after being found by a stunning crossfield pass from Devitt.

Shaun Miller, on from the bench for his Shrimps debut, then flicked a header from a Shaun Beeley chip onto the roof of the net.

With time almost up Devitt produced a fine overhead kick but found Bartlett equal to it with the Pools stopping saving well low to his left.

Despite dominating the closing stages Morecambe couldn’t find a way through, the opening day of the new season ending in defeat.

Morecambe: Roche, Beeley, Parrish, Edwards, Wilson, Murphy (capt) (Kenyon 11), Wildig, Devitt, Molyneux (Miller 71), Ellison, Mullin (Ryan 85). Subs not used: Thompson, McGowan, Goodall, Fleming.

Booked: Mullin, Edwards

Hartlepool: Bartlett, Duckworth, Harrison, Worley, Carroll, Magnay, Featherstone, Woods, Fenwick (Smith 81), Paynter (capt), Bingham (Oates 86). Subs not used: Denton, Bates, Hawkins, Nelson-Addy, Oyenuga.

Booked: Harrison, Fenwick, Magnay, Duckworth

Referee: Darren England

Attendance: 4,289 (247 Morecambe)

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