Gregg Wylde’s 90th minute equaliser gave Morecambe a point against Forest Green on Saturday but what were the main talking points?
Last week’s postponement against Chesterfield meant yesterday was the first chance for most of the Shrimps’ support to see Wylde in action.
On first glance, he offers something different to the rest of the squad; namely the desire and ability to run at - and go past - opposition defenders.
There was an audible buzz every time he got the ball and set off at the visiting defence even if it looked like being a frustrating afternoon.
That was until 10 seconds from the end of normal time when, with the aid of the woodwork, he fired home Morecambe’s equaliser.
Credit where it’s due
Referees have come in for criticism this season so it’s only fair to offer up some praise when it’s deserved.
Step forward referee Ross Joyce who, despite making one or two decisions that annoyed the home fans, was brave enough to add seven minutes’ stoppage time on account of Rovers’ ‘relaxed’ approach to restarting play.
Mr Joyce was certainly not the most popular man with Shrimps’ supporters when apparently not seeing a foul on Wylde just outside the visitors’ area or in booking Aaron McGowan for a dive.
However, Morecambe boss Jim Bentley was only too keen post-match to praise the referee for making the right call in not awarding his side a penalty despite first impressions.
Trial by style
Back to another old chestnut; the perceived ‘hoofball’ tactics employed by the Shrimps at the Globe Arena.
Yes, their style of play was certainly more agricultural than Rovers, who were at least able to get the ball down and pass it without creating much in the way of genuine chances.
It also meant Morecambe’s initial front three of Wylde, Kevin Ellison and Vadaine Oliver were, comparatively speaking, living off scraps.
Oliver’s man-of-the-match performance against Coventry City in December showed what he can do but it would be no surprise if Adam McGurk’s lively cameo was rewarded with a starting spot on Saturday.
Set piece threats
There will be those Morecambe fans who look at the teamsheet, see the names of Michael Rose and Alex Kenyon and wonder who will be breaking forward from midfield.
That criticism would have intensified during the first half on Saturday but, ironically, it was Rose and Kenyon who carried the Shrimps’ greatest attacking threat.
Rose’s corners fashioned opportunities for Sam Lavelle, Steve Old, Dean Winnard and Kenyon; some of which perhaps should have found the net.
Kenyon had a hat-trick of headers at the opposition goal and almost set up an equaliser when his shot was fumbled by Rovers keeper Bradley Collins.
Well versed in versatility
Morecambe’s ability to use different formations as and when required came to their rescue yesterday.
Having started with a back three, four in midfield and two wide players supporting a central striker, it was back to a more conventional back four early in the second half.
True, there was more than the odd eyebrow raised at Lavelle’s withdrawal for McGurk but that was because of the player taken off rather than the change in approach.
Nevertheless, the Shrimps got their reward but it still promises to be a nerve-shredding final third of the season.