Reporter Adam Lord takes a closer look at Morecambe's 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers on Saturday
Shrimps need to remember how to win...fast
It’s getting difficult to find new ways to describe Morecambe’s ability to lose football matches from seemingly promising positions. Saturday’s clash at the Memorial Stadium was never going to be a classic but The Shrimps were doing everything right. Jamie Devitt had laid the ghosts of Mansfield penalty misses to rest and Jim Bentley’s side looked solid enough in atrocious conditions. More so, as the second half progressed there were signs of the promising counter attacking play seen earlier in the season as both Paul Mullin and Kevin Ellison came close to free runs on goal. But then it all went wrong. An uncharacteristic Barry Roche mistake kicked it all off and within the blink of an eye The Shrimps were a goal behind and down to 10 men, the game gone. This Morecambe team simply doesn’t know how to win at the moment and the longer that goes on, the harder it will be to reverse. Bentley’s men haven’t been humbled in any game but six defeats in seven means something is clearly wrong.
Squad looks alarmingly stretched
Adam Dugdale’s injury, a suspected metatarsal problem, and Andy Fleming’s red card, for a petulant hair pull on Stuart Sinclair, have reduced Morecambe’s squad numbers to alarming levels. Jim Bentley did well to smile as he listed the number of absentees at Thursday’s pre-match press conference. Aaron Wildig and Laurence Wilson did come through training to feature but The Shrimps boss could only name six substitutes, one of whom was academy prospect Ben Hedley. With that in mind Fleming’s reaction to a clash with Sinclair, yoinking at the midfielder’s ponytail, is all the more brainless, with The Shrimps midfielder now set for a three-game ban. His sending off also saw him become the third Morecambe player this season, after Kevin Ellison and Ryan Edwards on video evidence, to be banned for a hair pull. It’s something which will soon lead to Morecambe getting a reputation with officials and opposing teams.
Stark reminder of how the other half live
One thing Jim Bentley would love to be able to do now is to dip into the loan market. Two or three loan signings could breath life into a squad that is approaching rock bottom at the moment. The reality is however that a tight budget means Bentley doesn’t have the funds to bring people in. Players first have to leave, a risk it’s difficult for The Shrimps boss to take given the lack of numbers he already has at his disposal. The need for investment at the Globe Arena is obvious. How the 92 hardy Shrimps fans who travelled on Saturday must have looked on in envy as the Bristol Rovers fans gave their new Jordanian owners a rousing reception, and the players gave them a win to cap the perfect day.