MORECAMBE midfielder Stewart Drummond took the unusual step of praising rival midfielder Frankie Artus after his superb free kick denied the Shrimps their first win in four games.
The Shrimps had edged themselves ahead in a tight game thanks to Drummond’s 58th minute header but for the second time in the week they failed to hang on to the lead and had to settle for a point.
It was the Shrimps’ sixth home draw of the season at the Globe Arena and although disappointed not to win the game goalscorer Drummond felt there were promising signs from his new look side this week.
He said: “We have made a few changes and things have worked pretty well so far. We have looked solid in the past two games and the new lads have settled in really well.
“We started this game slowly but I thought we played some really good stuff in the second half and when we took the lead I thought we were going to go on and win the game.
“But their lad has scored an absolutely superb goal from a free kick and sometimes you have to give credit where it is due.
I don’t know how he’s hit it but it has done all sorts in the air and given Barry no chance.
“We are disappointed that we haven’t won the game but I think we can take a lot of heart from the past two games and we need to make sure we can build on that over the next few games.’’
Drummond gave the Shrimps the lead just before the hour when he sneaked into the area to head Tony Capaldi’s cross past Scott Brown from 12 yards out.
Hopes of a fifth home win of the season were dashed however 11 minutes later when Drummond conceded a free kick yards from goal and Artus produced a stunning swerving strike to beat Roche to his right hand side.
Artus looked set for a second moments later when played in by Theo Lewis but he was denied by a superb covering tackle from Kieran Charnock.
Cheltenham’s Brian Smikle then should have won the game three minutes from time with a free header six yards out but he missed the ball altogether much to the relief of the Shrimps.
Morecambe then almost snatched it at the death themselves in injury time. Chris Shuker crossed for Andy Fleming but the ball was just behind him and he couldn’t twist his body enough to direct the effort on target.
Morecambe started brightly and improving striker Jimmy Spencer looked dangerous seeing a volley deflected wide of the left hand post and another effort after cutting in from the right hand side also deflected wide after a last gasp Cheltenham challenge.
Kieran Charnock also went close when he met a corner at the far post but couldn’t beat Scott Brown.
Cheltenham were always a threat however on the break and the Shrimps once again were grateful for some fine saves from Barry Roche.
The Robins’ top scorer Wes Thomas was denied an opener on 16 minutes by a smart save from Roche after Marlon Pack’s free kick rebounded into his path.
But again it was Smikle who wasted the best chances as he was twice put clear on goal behind the Morecambe defence but twice foiled by the Shrimps’ skipper.
Defender Martin Riley was also guilty of missing a good chance when he headed a Danny Andrew corner wide from close range when he was free on the box.
The second half started with Shrimps on top with Spencer forcing Brown into a good save from Brown with a neat shot on the turn and the Robins’ keeper also reacted well to tip away a Kevan Hurst cross.
Neither side could make a second breakthrough though and had to settle for the second league draw between the two teams this season.
Morecambe: Roche 7; Holdsworth 7, Parrish 7, Charnock 7, Capaldi 7; Hurst 7 (Hunter 71), Brown 7, Drummond 8, Wilson 7 (Fleming 75); Spencer 7 (Shuker 82), Jevons 7. Subs not used: Walker (GK), Wainwright, McCready, Mullin.
Cheltenham: Brown; Lowe, Andrew, Bird, Riley; Smikle, Artus, Elliot (rep Eastham 44), Pack (Lewis 66); Thomas (Green 82), Goulding. Sub not used: Pook, Lloyd-Weston, Melligan, Lee.
Ref: S Martin
Star man: Stewart Drummond: The veteran scored a timely goal and kept possession well in difficult conditions.