Morecambe 1 Accrington Stanley 2: Five things we learned

Morecambe defender Alex Whitmore made a costly error against Accrington Stanley
Morecambe defender Alex Whitmore made a costly error against Accrington Stanley
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After such a good February, Morecambe’s supporters are experiencing a hangover from hell thanks to five straight defeats in March, the latest against Accrington Stanley, but what were the main talking points?

Two mistakes and two goals

While there is no doubt that Stanley deserved to win at the Globe Arena last night, the manner of Shay McCartan’s double must be a frustration to everyone in the Shrimps’ camp.

Both goals came courtesy of errors from Morecambe players; Kevin Ellison’s mistimed tackle brought the free-kick for the opener, while Alex Whitmore’s mistake allowed McCartan to run through for his second.

As was pointed out afterwards, for all of Stanley’s first-half pressure, they failed to test Barry Roche until McCartan broke the deadlock.

Too little and too late

There is no denying that Morecambe finished the game strongly but 15 minutes’ worth of attacking pressure is no good when a game lasts for 90 minutes.

Had they managed to pilfer a point then the visitors could have been forgiven for feeling they had been dealt a huge injustice.

As it was, a good save to deny Michael Rose and Paul Mullin’s delayed pass to Kevin Ellison were as close as Jim Bentley’s side came to an equaliser.

The challenge now is to take that performance in the final quarter-hour and replicate it for an hour-and-a-half on Saturday.

Confidence is crucial

Having gone into the game on the back of four consecutive defeats, it was understandable that Jim Bentley pointed to a lack of confidence among his players afterwards.

That certainly manifested itself in the way the Shrimps played for much of the first 75 minutes, taking the easier option by launching the ball forwards.

True, the Globe Arena doesn’t lend itself to pretty, passing football but long balls up to Rhys Turner don’t play to his major strength; his pace in behind the defence.

Instead, the Morecambe players just kept gifting the ball back to their visitors and were grateful for some less than accurate first-half shooting.

Proving a point

It was only with the introductions of Andy Fleming and, especially, Paul Mullin early in the second half that Morecambe finally established something resembling a foothold.

Mullin provided the focal point missing for the first 55 minutes, while Fleming offered the guile and forward momentum which the midfield had lacked previously.

If naming them on the bench was designed to give the duo a jolt - or just mere rotation - then they certainly answered back in some style.

Given their 35-plus minutes on the pitch during the second half, it would be a surprise if they didn’t start against Mansfield Town on Saturday.

A sense of perspective.

OK, Morecambe entered the month on the back of an excellent February and with an optimistic eye on the top seven.

However, five straight league defeats - equalling their worst run of consecutive losses in almost a year - has put that ambition firmly to bed.

Instead, they now lie 16th in the table and seven points from a place in the top half, as well as 13 clear of the bottom two.

While it’s tempting to think ‘what if?’ given the recent run of defeats, it also shows just how good a job the coaching staff and players have done to get the club where it is bearing in mind the well documented off-field issues.