Morecambe 0-2 Sheffield United

Ryan Williams goes on the attack for Morecambe.
Ryan Williams goes on the attack for Morecambe.
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MORECAMBE fell to their third 2-0 defeat in a week at the Globe Arena against Sheffield United on Saturday.

On the day when the face of the London 2012 Jessica Ennis captured the hearts of a nation, this contest between her beloved Blades and the Shrimps never came close to reaching the excitement of her dazzling display in the capital.

But goals from Tony McMahon, the only gold medal worthy moment of the match, and a late strike from Joe Ironside, condemned the Shrimps to another pre-season loss.

It was a good workout for Jim Bentley’s side none the less, the Shrimps boss giving starts to 17-year-old central defender Chris Doyle, who looked assured alongside Will Haining and trialist midfielder Ryan Williams, in a game that the home side will perhaps feel they were worthy of a draw.

In a game that stumbled out of the starting blocks, the visitors were the first to test the opposing goalkeeper, Barry Roche beating away a powerful effort from Manchester United loanee John Cofie from just outside the box on 20 minutes.

And as the Blades began to control proceedings they took the lead with the game’s first real moment of quality just before the half hour mark.

Former Middlesbrough full back McMahon beat a couple of Shrimps tackles cutting in from the right and curled an excellent left foot shot over Roche and into the far corner from 25 yards.

The sumptuous strike put the visitors firmly in the ascendancy, with Kevin McDonald shooting wide from distance and Stephen Quinn forcing Roche into a decent save low to his left.

The Shrimps however then had their best effort, Danny Carlton heading a Lewis Alessandra cross over the bar when he should have done better.

The first 45 minutes closed with another opportunity for the Blades, Chris Porter firing a Callum McFazdean cross wide of the near post.

The former Motherwell forward had the first chance of the second period as well, but after the ball broke to him in the box his effort was beaten away by substitute Shrimps ‘keeper Andreas Arestidou, who played the second half in place of Roche.

It took the Shrimps until ten minutes of the second half to have their first real effort, Kevin Ellison shooting wide of Blades stopper Mark Howard’s right-hand post from distance.

Jordan Burrow then had a sight of goal for the home side on the hour mark but could only chest Ellison’s cross into the arms of Howard as the game opened up.

But the Shrimps weren’t having it all their own way, a Michael Doyle drive from distance had Arestidou at full stretch, the shot going just wide of his right-hand post.

In a fairly physical friendly, in which the Shrimps once again lacked a cutting edge in the final third, substitute Jack Redshaw had the best chance to snatch a draw, but saw his shot blocked by a Blades defender after Howard had spilled a high ball.

It was therefore a harsh end on the Shrimps when the visitors broke clear and Quinn fed Ironside who deftly lifted the ball over Arestidou to seal the victory.

Morecambe: Roche (Arestidou 45), Parrish (Short 82), Haining (capt), Alessandra (Wright 67), Ellison (Parkinson 76), Burrow (Redshaw 67), Drummond, Reid (Mwasile 76), Williams (McGee 61), Carlton, Doyle. Subs not used: McDonald

Sheffield United: Howard, McMahon (Philliskirk 76), McGuire, Hill (Westlake 55), Flynn (McAllister 64), Doyle (capt), Porter (Ironside 76), McDonald K (Hariott 79), Quinn, Collins, Cofie (McFazdean 25). Subs not used: Long, Cresswell