Morecambe 1 Carlisle United 1: John O’Sullivan goal gives Morecambe a hard-earned point

John O'Sullivan scored Morecambe's goal
John O'Sullivan scored Morecambe's goal

John O’Sullivan’s close-range finish meant honours were even as two struggling sides met at the Globe Arena.

Two minutes after Hallam Hope gave Carlisle a 47th minute lead, O’Sullivan headed in to ensure Derek Adams took a point from his first home league game as Morecambe manager.

Adams had made one change from the side well beaten at Crewe Alexandra a fortnight earlier.

Sam Lavelle started the first of his four-game suspension for his red card in that game, meaning a recall for O’Sullivan and a move to a back four.

With both teams at the wrong end of the League Two table, it was a frenetic start but with little in the way of quality despite the undoubted effort on display.

The Shrimps were either let down by their final ball or opted against shooting despite George Tanner and Lewis Alessandra getting into good positions.

As for their visitors, they were similarly scrappy early on but came into the game more as the half progressed with Nathan Thomas their most dangerous outlet.

It was Carlisle who had the first sight of goal on 11 minutes but Jarrad Branthwaite, who scored when the two sides met in the EFL Trophy last month, saw his long-range effort held by Mark Halstead.

The keeper also dealt with Mike Jones’ attempt before the Shrimps almost led with the best move of the half.

Cole Stockton and Alessandra combined well, the latter’s first-time ball met by the onrushing Aaron Wildig but his shot was straight at Adam Collin.

Steve Old headed over from a Wildig corner but it was the visitors who ended the half stronger with Thomas seeing one shot deflected into the side netting and sending another wildly off target.

However, 80 seconds after the break, he was to play a key role as the visitors broke the deadlock.

Morecambe lost possession and Thomas’ defence-splitting pass enabled Hope to get behind Ritchie Sutton and finish clinically.

Parity was restored on 50 minutes, however, when Alessandra capitalised on some poor defending and laid off the ball to Wildig.

He sliced it across the face of goal and there was O’Sullivan to score from close range and lift the mood among the home fans.

Wildig dragged a shot wide from distance and Thomas saw an effort blocked as both sides refreshed their line-ups during the second half.

O’Sullivan came close to giving Morecambe the lead on 70 minutes when his attempt was cleared off the line by Jon Mellish after Old’s header was half-cleared.

The best chance arrived with six minutes of normal time remaining when Alessandra crossed from the right but Wildig could only head across goal and wide when well placed.

With the four minutes of added time almost up, the visitors thought they had a penalty when Gethin Jones was sent to the ground a split-second after crossing.

To the Shrimps’ relief, however, referee Darren Handley waved play on with a point apiece a fair enough outcome.

Morecambe: Halstead, Tanner, Sutton, Old, Conlan, Kenyon, Brewitt, O’Sullivan (Cranston 84), Wildig (Miller 90), Alessandra, Stockton (Leitch-Smith 67). Subs not used: Da Silva Mendes, Tutte, Ellison, Brownsword.

Carlisle United: Collin, G Jones, Hayden, Webster, Mellish, M Jones, Branthwaite, Scougall (Olomola 64), Hope, Loft (Sorensen 85), Thomas. Subs not used: Gray, Elliott, Carroll, Knight-Percival, Sagaf.

Referee: Darren Handley.

Attendance: 3,126.