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Match report: Morecambe 2 Chesterfield 2

Garry Thompson gave Morecambe the lead
Garry Thompson gave Morecambe the lead
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Morecambe spurned a glorious chance to effectively secure League Two status for another year after throwing away a two-goal lead at the Globe Arena.

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They had looked well on the way to three points after goals from Garry Thompson and Callum Lang saw them two up a dozen minutes before half-time.

However, they couldn’t hang onto that advantage with Kristian Dennis and Andy Kellett hauling the bottom side level after the break.

Shrimps’ boss Jim Bentley had made three changes from the side beaten at Cheltenham Town last time out.

Back came Thompson, Lang and Aaron McGowan with Sam Lavelle, Aaron Wildig and Gregg Wylde the men to make way.

Given the importance of the match to both sides, it was no surprise that proceedings were initially scrappy.

The Spireites spurned a potential chance on the counter from a Morecambe corner as Dennis’ attempted pass was scrambled clear by the home defence.

Former Morecambe loanee Alex Whitmore lashed a long-range effort off target before he played an unwitting role in Thompson’s 16th minute opener.

He was deemed to have brought down Adam McGurk despite seeming to win the ball, a decision which infuriated the visiting team, coaching staff and supporters.

That ire was increased when, from the resulting set-piece, a training ground routine ended with Michael Rose crossing for Thompson to convert from close range.

Kellett saw a cross-cum-shot cleared by the Morecambe defence as Lang doubled the lead 12 minutes before half-time, clinically beating keeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Louis Reed sent a 20-yard free-kick into the Morecambe wall for the visitors, whose insipid first-half display saw them booed off by the 206 travelling supporters.

Their jeers turned into cheers nine minutes into the second half when they halved Morecambe’s lead as Dennis collected a pass and rifled the ball past Dan Nizic.

It set up a suitably nervy half with both sets of fans on edge with every misplaced pass and missed tackle.

McGurk’s acrobatic effort went wide of the visitors’ goal but, with the Shrimps struggling to assert themselves, it was the visitors who seemed the likelier to score.

So it proved as, with 16 minutes left, the Morecambe defence failed to deal with a free-kick from deep and Kellett half-volleyed the Spireites level.

Both sides could have snatched a winner with time running out as Shrimps substitute Vadaine Oliver headed into the side netting and sent another effort wide.

Dodds did likewise at the other end but the best chance fell to another Morecambe replacement in Gregg Wylde who, having fashioned a sight of the Chesterfield goal, could only lash the ball over the bar.

That was as close as the two sides managed in five minutes of added time which left Morecambe perhaps grateful for a point in the end but also wondering what might have been.

Morecambe: Nizic, McGowan, Winnard, Old, Conlan, Kenyon (Fleming 46), Rose, Thompson, Lang, Ellison (Oliver 82), McGurk (Wylde 65). Subs not used: Maher, Campbell, Wildig, Lavelle.

Chesterfield: Ramsdale, Barry (Smith 46), Whitmore, Maguire, Talbot, McCourt (Dodds 51), Weir (O’Grady 46), Brown, Reed, Kellett, Dennis. Subs not used: Anyon, Rowley, Nelson, Hines.

Referee: Martin Coy.

Attendance: 1,042.