Match report: Morecambe 2 Plymouth Argyle 1
Goals in each half from Michael Rose and Peter Murphy gave Morecambe a first home league win in three months - and a thoroughly deserved one at that.
The midfield duo snapped the Shrimps’ seven-game League Two losing streak at the Globe Arena against an Argyle side which had won seven in a row on the road.
Oscar Threlkeld had capitalised on Barry Roche’s error to equalise with half-time approaching but the visitors could have had no complaints with the eventual outcome.
However, they may point to Jordan Slew’s red card two minutes into the second half as the game’s turning point.
The striker, already cautioned for a first-half foul, went tumbling as Roche came out to claim a through ball.
Instead of pointing to the spot as some may have feared, referee Darren England awarded the Shrimps a free kick and Slew an early bath.
Anyone, though, using the sending off as an excuse for Morecambe’s win would be detracting from arguably their best performance of the season.
A high tempo performance from start to finish brought two goals, four attempts against the woodwork and at least three other excellent opportunities.
Aaron Wildig deservedly walked off with the man-of-the-match award but the judges had a number of candidates from whom to pick.
A solid defence was backed up by further fine displays from Rose and Murphy, Rhys Turner produced an eye-catching display and Cole Stockton was a constant problem for the Pilgrims’ defence.
Stockton tested Luke McCormick inside the opening 40 seconds, while Jake Jervis chanced his arm on two occasions at the other end before the Shrimps took a 20th minute lead.
A good spell of pressure saw them win numerous corners with Kevin Ellison seeing a shot deflected behind and Wildig’s half-volley palmed away by McCormick.
The last of those corners saw Gary Miller wrestle Dean Winnard to the floor and Rose coolly converted from 12 yards.
Turner should have made it 2-0 but hit the bar from four yards, seconds before Wildig thought his goalbound effort was blocked by a Plymouth hand.
Those missed chances looked to be costly moments before the break when Roche misjudged a cross and Threlkeld headed into the unguarded net.
Following Slew’s red card, the Shrimps got back on the front foot with Ellison striking the outside of the post.
Their efforts were rewarded on 63 minutes when Murphy sprinted onto Rose’s inswinging corner and planted a header past McCormick.
Wildig headed against the bar two minutes afterwards and, within moments, McCormick was out quickly to deny Stockton.
Ellison wasted an excellent chance when through on goal 13 minutes from time; something for which he almost paid the price moments later.
Liam Wakefield conceded a cheap free kick just outside the area; Jervis’ effort went under the wall but Roche reacted well to kick the ball clear.
Stockton blazed over and Ntumba Massanka became the final Morecambe player to strike the woodwork as Jim Bentley’s players survived five minutes’ added time for a worthy win.
Morecambe: Roche, Wakefield, Winnard, Edwards, Jennings, Murphy, Rose, Turner (Massanka 84), Wildig (Mullin 82), Ellison (McGowan 90), Stockton. Substitutes: Nizic, Molyneux, Conlan, Jordan.
Plymouth Argyle: McCormick, Miller, Bulvitis (Osborne 75), Bradley, Threlkeld, Songo’o, Jervis (Tanner 88), Carey (Garita 72), Smith, Donaldson, Slew. Substitutes: Dorel, Goodwillie, Rooney, Fox.
Referee: Darren England.