Report by Glen Cooper
Morecambe 1, Derby County 1
JIM Bentley’s Morecambe continued their impressive pre-season form with another resolute display in this lively encounter at the Globe Arena on Friday night.
Having held Premiership Blackburn and beaten League One Carlisle in their previous two matches, The Shrimps came from a goal down to salvage a well-earned draw against their Championship opponents.
Nigel Clough knows all about Morecambe from his days with Burton Albion and he picked a strong side to make the trip up from Derby.
And when former Notts County midfielder, Ben Davies, squeezed in a 64th minute goal via Nick Fenton’s flailing legs it looked like The Rams would make their extra quality tell.
But Morecambe stormed back and, for the second game in succession, they forced a penalty when young sub, Sean Breen’s shot was blocked by Russell Anderson’s hand, the Derby defender lucky to stay on the pitch.
Man of the Match, Lawrence Wilson, slammed the spot kick into the roof of the net and honours were rightly shared.
Breen may even have snatched a win had he shown a little more composure when receiving a cross following an amazing surge into the Derby box from his own half by Wilson but the shot was skewed wide.
Derby had gone closest in a cagey first half through Nathan Tyson who stung Barry Roche’s palms with a crisp left-footer.
For Morecambe, Gary McDonald starting his first game for his new club formed a potentially productive midfield partnership with the influential Andy Fleming and the latest pre-season centre-back pairing of Fenton and Kieran Charnock coped with pretty much everything Derby threw at them.
This latest undefeated outing further encouraged Shrimps fans that the club is in safe hands for the coming season and, while Bentley will be pleased with what he’s seen so far, his search for an effective target man to supplement the attack continues.
On the evidence so far, for all their solidity at the back and industry in the middle of the park, it’s that cutting edge up front that could be the difference between a decent season and a very good one for Morecambe.
Morecambe: Roche, Haining, Fenton, Charnock, Wilson, Reid, McDonald, Drummond (Hunter 57), Fleming (McGee 81), Jevons (Breen 68), Carlton (59). Unused subs: Routledge, Cowperthwaite, Culshaw.
Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, Roberts (Blanchett), O’Brien, Anderson, Croft (Pearson 63), Doyle, Tyson (McGuire 45), Ben Davies (Ball 57), Ward (Robinson 57), Steve Davies. Unused subs: Legzdins, Cywka, Connolly.