Morecambe 0 Carlisle United 2: Second-half goals see the Shrimps suffer home defeat
Morecambe’s Papa John’s Trophy campaign ended with a third defeat from three group games.
Second-half goals in the space of five minutes from Jordan Gibson and former Shrimp Kelvin Mellor made it back-to-back wins for Carlisle after six games without victory.
For good measure, one supporter also decided to run on the pitch late on as Carlisle keeper Mark Howard waited to take a goal kick.
It capped a difficult night for Morecambe, whose preparations hadn’t been helped when keeper Kyle Letheren suffered an injury in the pre-match warm-up.
That meant a first senior appearance for Andre Da Silva Mendes with goalkeeping coach Barry Roche on the bench.
Da Silva Mendes didn’t disgrace himself, making a couple of fine saves in the second half and dealing well with the corners that came his way.
The Shrimps went into the game knowing they couldn’t qualify for the knockout stages after their previous defeats to Everton and Hartlepool United.
Manager Stephen Robinson, nevertheless, named a strong-looking team despite making five changes from the starting XI which defeated Newport County AFC in Saturday’s FA Cup first round tie.
As well as Da Silva Mendes, Ryan Cooney, Liam Gibson, Toumani Diagouraga and Aaron Wildig were all given starts with Jokull Andresson, Greg Leigh and Alfie McCalmont on international duty, Adam Phillips on the bench and Ryan McLaughlin given the night off altogether.
Their less than ideal preparation didn’t affect Morecambe as they began much the better of the two sides, pressing their visitors and looking sharp in possession.
The only quibble was that, for their possession, they failed to bring a serious save out of Howard.
He held an early effort from Jonah Ayunga who, along with Cole Stockton, also saw shots blocked on their way through to goal.
The closest they came was midway through the half as Diagouraga intercepted a hurried clearance and advanced to the edge of the area, where he flashed a shot narrowly wide.
Carlisle withstood the early Morecambe pressure and grew into the game as the half progressed, again, without troubling Da Silva Mendes.
The teenager had a largely untroubled opening 45 minutes, barring a couple of set pieces which he confidently punched clear.
Daniel Devine saw a shot deflected wide but that was that as half-time arrived with proceedings goalless.
That wasn’t the case four minutes into the second period when Cooney gave away an unnecessary free-kick 25 yards out.
Up stepped Gibson and his effort found the net despite Da Silva Mendes getting a hand to the ball.
Three minutes later, Da Silva Mendes turned over a fierce effort from Tristan Abrahams as the visitors scented a second goal.
That duly arrived on 54 minutes when Da Silva Mendes made a fine save from Brad Young, only for the resulting corner to be headed goalwards and finished off by the unmarked Mellor.
Stockton thought he had pulled one back on the hour, netting after Howard had spilled Ayunga’s shot, but assistant referee Mark Cunliffe had the offside flag raised.
Another Stockton effort was blocked for a corner, from which Anthony O’Connor headed at Howard, but for all the Shrimps’ efforts, there was a glaring lack of end product.
Stockton saw yet another shot blocked by the Carlisle defence and Phillips screwed another effort wide.
Going into the last 10 minutes, Ayunga shot wide which was the moment for the fan to have a run on the pitch before being swiftly apprehended by stewards.
Three minutes of added time prolonged proceedings for the Morecambe supporters, who were left to reflect on defeat ahead of their Saturday off this weekend.
Morecambe: Da Silva Mendes, Cooney, O’Connor, Wootton, L Gibson, Jones, Diagouraga (Phillips 78), Wildig (Harrison 78), Ayunga, Stockton, Gnahoua (McDonald 55). Subs not used: Roche, Delaney, Mensah, Duffus.
Carlisle United: Howard, Mellor, Feeney, Dinzeyi, Charters, Mampala (Riley 67), Devine, Whelan, Clough (J Gibson 46), Young (Fishburn 75), Abrahams. Subs not used: Simons, Armer, Guy, Mellish.
Referee: Ross Joyce.
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