Morecambe’s recent unbeaten run came to an end last night when Perry Ng’s late goal gave Crewe Alexandra a 1-0 win at the Globe Arena.
Defeat to a side with eight consecutive away losses was bad enough but a three-figure crowd also made for a sobering night with various topics to ponder.
Seeking style counsel
Much of the game saw Morecambe play in a more direct manner towards the recalled Vadaine Oliver up front.
Easy on the eye it wasn’t and led to more than the odd murmur of discontent among some of the fans sitting near the press box.
However, there were occasions when they got the ball down and passed it, most notably those times when Patrick Brough got forward to good effect on the left-hand side.
Perhaps conditions played a part, perhaps it was the memory of trying to play out from the back which led to Port Vale’s opener in their win at the Globe Arena last month.
Either way, maybe there’s a happy medium to be found; one where the ball goes long when Morecambe are under pressure and kept on the floor in the opposition half?
One moment of magic
If some of Morecambe’s play wasn’t the best, than the same could be said of their visitors as both sides conjured up a match that won’t live long in the memory.
Misplaced passes and an inability to take the few chances that came along meant it looked like being a Tuesday night bore draw.
That was until Ng had clearly had enough of the previous 85 minutes and fired past Barry Roche from 25 yards.
Definitely a stunning strike but one that was also out of keeping with what had gone before.
When your luck’s out
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley has spoken on countless occasions this season about needing the rub of the green, irrespective of his players’ performance.
Nowhere was that better exemplified than in the space of 10 first-half minutes with the game goalless and his side having the better of the possession.
With Crewe keeper Dave Richards well beaten, Kevin Ellison found the top of the bar from 18 yards out.
History then repeated itself moments later as Ellison left the keeper flailing with a fierce drive - only for the ball to cannon back off the upright and away from any home player.
Strikers need to help themselves
Fourteen goals in 19 league matches is a damning statistic and goes a long way to explaining Morecambe’s position as third-bottom of the League Two table.
Supporters can quibble with tactics and style of play as much as they like but the manager and his coaching staff are dependent on their players once the referee blows his whistle.
Ellison was plain unlucky not to score twice but does anyone really think the Shrimps’ players are coached to miss chances when they come along?
Far more worrying were those second-half instances when Brough got into good positions, sent over inviting crosses and not one home player thought to attack the ball.
Comedian Jasper Carrott once joked that he had to shout ‘Oi!’ in order to speak with the nearest fan to him at a Birmingham City home game.
That might have been a laughing matter then but last night’s attendance figure at the Globe Arena was nothing of the sort.
Fewer than 800 Morecambe fans made up the attendance figure of 927, making that the main talking point rather than losing to a Crewe side with poor away form.
Was it dissatisfaction with recent results or a perceived style of play? Did the wind and rain put them off? Was the Champions League a more enticing attraction?
Whatever the reason, that crowd figure and another defeat on the pitch have to focus the minds of those charged with running the club.