Morecambe 2 Yeovil Town 1: Shrimps claim three points after withstanding visitors’ fightback

A-Jay Leitch-Smith gave Morecambe the lead
A-Jay Leitch-Smith gave Morecambe the lead
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Goals from A-Jay Leitch-Smith and Rhys Oates gave Morecambe three nervous points at the Globe Arena.

The Shrimps looked on course for a comfortable victory but Olufela Olomola’s goal made for a buttock-clenching final 20-plus minutes from a home perspective.

The fact that keeper Mark Halstead claimed the man-of-the-match award said it all about a final quarter in which the visitors threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Jim Bentley’s players.

Halstead was forced into action on a number of occasions, most notably to thwart Yeovil full-back Tom James who seemed on a one-man mission to rescue his side.

A hectic start saw both teams on the front foot with Oates denied by a last-ditch challenge and Rhys Browne the Glovers’ principal attacking threat.

He sent over a couple of dangerous crosses from the right, one of which was headed narrowly wide by the diving James.

The fast start was matched by some equally frenetic challenges with James and Olomola booked for the visitors, while Sessi D’Almeida was lucky to avoid censure for a tackle on Aaron Wildig.

Oates’ final ball lacked composure when he was well placed but there was nothing rushed about Leitch-Smith’s goal.

A lovely run enabled him to collect Liam Mandeville’s pass before he turned and curled a left-footed effort past Nathan Baxter.

He should have doubled his tally 11 minutes later when referee Peter Wright deemed Mandeville had been nudged by Browne and awarded a spot-kick.

However, Baxter guessed correctly and dived to his right in keeping out Leitch-Smith’s effort from 12 yards.

An offside flag ruled out Vadaine Oliver’s header before Halstead preserved Morecambe’s lead at the break, acrobatically turning over Bevis Mugabi’s close-range attempt.

Three minutes into the second half and the Shrimps seemed set fair for three points when Oates doubled their lead.

Set free down the left, he cut inside, breezed past D’Almeida and saw his 20-yard shot somehow elude Baxter.

However, that was the signal for an onslaught from the visitors as Morecambe dropped deeper and Halstead was forced into action.

Two fine saves thwarted James and Wes McDonald before Yeovil halved their deficit midway through the half.

A long ball between the Shrimps’ centre-halves was collected by Olomola, who finished clinically to set up a tense final quarter.

Halstead made a routine stop from Browne as the visitors set up camp inside the Morecambe half.

That pressure, coupled with some nervy Morecambe defending, saw Yeovil pour forward with Halstead far too busy for the hosts’ liking.

Two James free-kicks from distance were kept out by the Shrimps’ keeper, though luck was on his side in added time when Omari Patrick’s shot struck the woodwork and rebounded out as Morecambe somehow hung on for the points.

Morecambe: Halstead, Mills, Lavelle, Yarney, Conlan, Mandeville (Ellison 69), Cranston, Wildig, Oates (Kenyon 81), Leitch-Smith (Old 90), Oliver. Subs: Szczepaniak, Oswell, Mendes Gomes, Hedley.

Yeovil Town: Baxter, James, Mugabe, Donnellan, Dickinson, Browne, D’Almeida, Gray (Pattison 50), McDonald, Olomola (Patrick 84), Arquin (Zoko 76). Subs: Nelson, Rogers, Mahmutovic, Santos.

Referee: Peter Wright.

Attendance: 1,406.