Reporter Adam Lord takes a closer look at Morecambe’s 1-1 draw at Crawley on Saturday.
Stopping the rot
Don’t get me wrong, it would have been great for my 10-hour round trip to end in three points on Saturday. But given the context of Morecambe’s recent form it’s not a bad point at all. Yes, this wasn’t a classic, far from it, and Crawley are hardly world beaters at the moment. Five straight defeats though meant that it was more a case of do not lose on Saturday, especially after the hosts had gone 1-0 up. The Shrimps players deserve plenty of credit for battling back after going behind to Matt Harrold’s goal early in the second half. It would have been easy for a side in such wretched form to fold, but Jim Bentley’s side didn’t and more than deserved the late leveller they got. It felt like a big goal as Morecambe look to secure a 10th season in the Football League.
Miller’s the man once again
The man who popped up with the all-important goal was of course Shaun Miller. In a tense situation the striker showed great composure to shift the ball onto his left foot and fire in a 13th of the season seven minutes from time. Paul Mullin and Kevin Ellison have done okay leading the line during Miller’s three-game suspension but it is clear that the former Crewe youngster is a class above when it comes to leading the line for Jim Bentley’s side. It wasn’t Miller’s best game on Saturday, a cagey, physical battle on a poor pitch was never going to be easy for a player of his mould. He also gave the ball away at the start of the move which led to Harrold’s opener. But it his quality in front of goal that was needed and after a quiet afternoon he certainly delivered when he mattered. Now, about that new contract Shaun?
Defenders stood up when it mattered
The Shrimps’ backline has come in for plenty of justified stick this season. Too many of the numerous goals conceded this campaign have been avoidable. You could argue Saturday’s was no different as Alan Goodall scuffed a clearance into the path of Harrold. But by and large it was an excellent afternoon for the Morecambe defence. Ryan Edwards will be the first to admit he hasn’t hit the heights of last season but several stoppages for blood injuries showed the shift the big centre half put in under Crawley’s constant aerial bombardment. Chris Doyle completed a fine seven days with his third start, showing the other side of his game as he ended the afternoon with two black eyes. On the left Luke Conlan also stuck to his task well against Crawley’s star man Gwion Edwards. If The Shrimps are to make sure of their Football League status sooner rather than later they need to show the same kind of steel in the weeks to come.