Morecambe manager Jim Bentley pleased with his central defensive duo’s opening day display

Sam Lavelle and Steve Old impressed manager Jim Bentley
Sam Lavelle and Steve Old impressed manager Jim Bentley
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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley found something to be happy about despite losing the opening game of the season on Saturday.

Two second-half goals at the Globe Arena saw the Shrimps beaten 2-0 by Grimsby Town on day one of the 2019/20 League Two campaign.

One goal had always seemed likely to win a game in which both attacks struggled to create any genuine opportunities.

With his defender’s hat on, Bentley was pleased with the way his central defenders acquitted themselves against a strong, physical Grimsby attack.

He said: “I thought we defended quite well, arguably three of our best players were in that backline.

“Sam Lavelle and Steve Old were excellent coming up against a handful in James Hanson and Matt Green; I thought it had nil-nil written all over it.

“It wasn’t a great game, there weren’t many chances; we had a couple of little bits where we’ve got in, Cole Stockton had one blocked, we had a shout for a penalty but we huffed and puffed.

“I think we defended quite well; there were plenty of balls up to James Hanson and, at times, Alex Kenyon got in front as well.

“I thought Sam Lavelle deserved his man-of-the-match award.

“As a young lad making his way and coming up against James Hanson, I thought he coped very well with him.”

If Morecambe’s players looked strong at the back, they had their issues going forward.

Adam Buxton’s impudent free-kick forced the only save from Grimsby keeper James McKeown on a day when neither McKeown, nor Morecambe’s Barry Roche, were overworked.

The crucial moment came when Grimsby beat the offside trap and Elliott Whitehouse opened the scoring midway through the second half; something Bentley believed was decisive in more ways than one.

He said: “Once we conceded we went a bit ragged and that can play a part; it’s the first game and your confidence can take a hit.

“That’s something we said to players after the game about keeping calm.

“It’s not an ideal start because you want to get off to a good start but I don’t think we just did well enough.”