A late leveller hurt Morecambe’s hopes of taking three points from yesterday’s game from Wycombe Wanderers but what were the talking points from the final home game of the season?
Jim Bentley has always been someone who tells it how it is; a spade isn’t a spade, it’s a shovel etc.
Anyone who picked up a programme on Saturday would have seen his frustration at the season’s events made clear over the course of an illuminating interview.
In response to one question, he said: “What we need now is stability and a real focus on getting a brighter future for this club. I have said it all along that we can’t have another season like this one because we have pulled a real rabbit out of a hat this season and can’t be expected to keep doing that.”
That’s the challenge laid down by the manager; the problem is sorting out the ownership and getting whoever is in charge to meet the manager’s wishes.
Ellison’s goal celebration
Those 1,742 fans at the Globe Arena yesterday would have seen just how much it meant for Kevin Ellison to open the scoring.
His ninth goal of the season prompted a passionate celebration from the 38-year-old, whose performances this season have come under scrutiny from some of the supporters.
However, having seen Ellison score for the second consecutive Saturday, the manager issued just as passionate a defence of him afterwards.
Reading between the lines of Bentley’s post-match interviews, Ellison will be one of those players offered a new deal.
When your luck’s out
For a team chasing the play-offs, Wycombe Wanderers’ performance was a scrappy one which saw them fail to force a save out of Danijel Nizic for 84 minutes.
True, Paris Cowan-Hall had struck the woodwork with a header but, once Ellison had scored and Nizic had finally made a couple of saves, that looked to be that.
However, the sting in the tail came on 89 minutes when a long ball into the box was not dealt with and Adebayo Akinfenwa bundled home a goal which won’t live long in anybody’s memory.
While Wanderers’ persistence paid off, it was somewhat harsh on Nizic whose all-round display yesterday merited a second clean sheet in five outings.
If the Shrimps’ season has been one of toil and struggle, lit up by rays of light in August, January and February, then one positive was emphasised on Saturday.
Steve Yawson came off the bench for his debut, making him the latest of Stewart Drummond’s youngsters to feature for the first team.
Luke Jordan and Kyle Hawley had already made their bows, perhaps earlier than would have been ideal but inevitable given the senior squad’s lack of numbers.
Nevertheless, it reflects the excellent work done by the Shrimps’ youth set-up and offers younger players an incentive to keep performing at a high level.
The Shrimps’ top performers were rewarded for their displays over the season at the club’s end-of-season awards night.
Ryan Edwards picked up the players’ and supporters’ player of the year prizes with awards also going to Kevin Ellison, Luke Jordan, Ben Hedley and Tyler Brownsword.
Michael Rose was named the Visitor’s player of the year, though it wouldn’t be a breach of security to say it was a straight choice between the veteran and Edwards.
Why Rose? His on-pitch influence showed just why the coaching staff was desperate to sign him last year, his absences have always been the most notable and he’s provided six goals from midfield, most of which have been decisive.
That’s not to decry Edwards’ performances this season; if anything, the pair have shown why retaining them in 2017/18 is an absolute must.