Reporter Adam Lord looks at Morecambe's 3-1 defeat at Northampton on Saturday.
Shrimps made to pay for poor defending
There’s nothing Jim Bentley likes less than some sloppy defending. A proud, battling central defender in his playing days two of Morecambe’s goals will have particularly disappointed their manager on Saturday. The opener, Joel Byrom’s quick free-kick releasing James Collins, was a classic lapse in concentration. Such is Northampton’s quality in the final third that the visitors were punished. After John-Joe O’Toole’s second, coming from a dubious free-kick, the third will have particularly hurt Bentley as Morecambe conceded from a corner with Rod McDonald heading home. The Shrimps boss described it as his side’s “Achilles” heel post-match and it is clearly something that grates more than anything else. Bentley accepted his side were beaten by the better side on the day but the errors, and some poor decision making going in the other direction, meant there was a sense of what might have been.
O’Hara shows his potential on debut
One surprise on arrival at Sixfields was the illness to Barry Roche. The Shrimps number one didn’t travel with the team meaning Manchester United loanee Kieran O’Hara was drafted in for his debut. A daunting task for a 19-year-old goalkeeper but O’Hara showed the qualities that back up the fact he’s been at Old Trafford since the age of eight. While obviously not the most physically imposing of goalkeepers, certainly compared to Roche, the teenager punched and claimed well on more than one occasion under pressure from an imposing front line. He also produced a couple of sharp saves with one media colleague comparing his methods to those of United and Spain number one David De Gea who O’Hara admitted to learning plenty from post match. His performance certainly ensured they’ll be no worries amongst Shrimps fans if he is required to deputise for Roche again.
Really crucial games come now
Nobody gave Morecambe much hope on Saturday. As much as The Shrimps wanted to get something from the game it was to a large degree a free shot for a side who continue to be largely unfancied by most ‘experts’. As Northampton made it 10 wins from 11 with a little help from the visitors attention quickly turns to what is a huge week at the Globe Arena. Three home games in seven days present Morecambe with a more realistic opportunity to gain some ground on the play-off pack. A decent haul is essential if The Shrimps are serious about a run at the top seven.