Rochdale 0–1 Morecambe

Morecambe's goalscorer Gary McDonald on the ball. Picture: CameraSport - Dave Howarth
Morecambe's goalscorer Gary McDonald on the ball. Picture: CameraSport - Dave Howarth
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Morecambe set up an FA Cup second round date with Coventry after narrowly seeing off Rochdale in a poor replay at Spotland on Tuesday night.

Gary McDonald’s goal a minute before half-time proved enough to secure the trip to the Ricoh Arena in the first weekend of December after what was a largely forgettable affair in Greater Manchester.

With both sides missing key men, the game coming too soon for the injured Jack Redshaw and the home side without the suspended Bobby Grant, the opening stages lacked any real quality.

It took a Shrimps mix-up on 19 minutes to bring the game’s first opening, Andy Parrish and Barry Roche failed to clear their lines after a poor back header from Parrish and Ashley Grimes nearly snook in, but the Morecambe full back was on hand to block.

From the resultant throw-in Roche had to be at his best to palm away a looping Dele Adebola cross come shot that looked destined for the corner of the net.

A long range free-kick was Morecambe’s first effort on goal, Kevin Ellison did well to draw the foul 22 yards out but could only fire high into the stand just after the half hour mark.

Then seemingly from nowhere, Jim Bentley’s side went in front just before the break.

With the home side down to ten men with Rhys Bennett off the field, Izak Reid, back in the side with Richard Brodie also ineligible, produced a delightful left foot cross which was met unopposed by Lewis Alessandra who produced an excellent save low to his right from Josh Lillis, but McDonald was on hand to score from close in.

If the first half had been almost entirely forgettable, both sides were far brighter in the opening stages of the second half.

First Grimes bent a low 25-yard free-kick around the wall and narrowly wide of Barry Roche’s left-hand post four minutes after the break and then up the other end Andy Fleming headed just over at the far post after excellent work from Lewis Alessandra down the left.

The Shrimps then had to withstand the first real sustained spell of pressure from the home side, with skipper Nick Fenton to the fore, ensuring his side stayed a goal to the good.

But the game soon returned to the mediocrity of the first period with both sides failing to create any clear cut openings.

And despite some nervy moments for Bentley’s side, the home failed to bring a single save from Roche in the second half as Morecambe moved into the second round.

Rochdale: Lillis, Pearson, P Edwards, Bennett (Byrne 45), McIntyre, Cavanagh, Kennedy (Craney 72), Tutte, Donnelly, Grimes (Putterill 61), Adebola. Subs not used: Rafferty, Barry-Murphy, Logan, Smith

Booked: Cavanagh, Pearson

Morecambe: Roche, Parrish, Fenton, McCready, Wright, Drummond, Fleming, McDonald, Reid, Alessandra (Parkinson 90), Ellison. Subs not used: Arestidou, Threlfall, Haining, McGee, Doyle, Short

Booked: Alessandra

Attendance: 1,675

Referee: Mark Heywood