Morecambe 1 Stevenage 1: Five things we learned

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley
Morecambe manager Jim Bentley
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It’s seven points from nine for Morecambe following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stevenage at the Globe Arena.

Kevin Ellison’s eighth goal of the season - and third in three games - looked to have claimed all three points.

That was until Fraser Franks stunned the home support with an emphatic 89th minute equaliser to ensure the spoils were shared.

Away from the goals, there were a few other talking points to consider….

Three become one

Losing a lead at home can be irritating enough but the circumstances of the Shrimps’ draw were particularly galling.

OK, the visitors can argue they deserved a point given their pressure in the second half but Barry Roche only had to make one save.

That was until Franks came up with a goal worthy of three points - never mind one - to drag his team on level terms.

Small wonder then that one point rather than three felt like second prize come full-time.

Missed opportunity?

As well as turning three points into one, Saturday’s last-gasp draw also saw Morecambe frustrated in their bid to pull further clear of the bottom two.

Yes, the point moved them up a place to 19th but they remain only six points clear of Forest Green Rovers in 23rd.

A win would have made it eight points going into this Saturday’s game at Luton Town and next Tuesday’s trip to Newport County AFC.

That’s not to write off either of those games; just an acknowledgement that a decent advantage could have been better still.

Style trial

This is, quite literally, old ground but it’s worth repeating again; the Globe Arena playing surface isn’t doing anyone any favours.

As Morecambe manager Jim Bentley admitted afterwards, Saturday’s match was one where battle and endeavour were the most important qualities.

Even then, when trying to get the ball forward, it was a lottery for both sides with repeated bobbles seeing the ball either cleared straight up in the air or shanked out of play.

Bentley might have admitted afterwards that Stevenage may have had more quality on the ball but that’s not to decry his own players; their high-speed passing performance against Coventry city was only a month ago.

Ropey refereeing

Another old chestnut which came up for discussion on Saturday; those with the hardest job on the pitch.

That isn’t a sarcastic dig; it is a thankless way in which to spend a Saturday but, occasionally, the officials don’t help themselves.

Tom Nield was largely unobtrusive when taking charge of the Shrimps’ FA Cup win against Hartlepool United on November.

On Saturday, however, he managed to annoy the home camp, players and supporters with some of his decisions - not least with the early tackle on Callum Lang which saw him eventually limp off at half-time.

As for the decision to caution Shrimps’ skipper Michael Rose; little wonder Bentley labelled that decision ‘bizarre’ afterwards.

Happy New Year

It just goes to show how quickly the mood can change in football.

Boxing Day was all doom and gloom after the Shrimps’ home loss against Notts County.

Three games and seven points later and the mood has lifted somewhat.

That’s not to say everything in the Morecambe garden is rosy; however, credit should go where and when it is due - and Bentley, his coaching staff and players deserve praise for their mini-run.