Adam Lord takes a closer look at Morecambe’s 4-2 defeat to Northampton on Saturday.
Getting balance right far from easy
Morecambe have been stunning at times going forwards this season. The addition of the pace of Tom Barkhuizen and the technical capabilities of Aaron Wildig have really seen The Shrimps fizz the ball around with intent at times. But increasingly, alarm bells have started to ring defensively and that was the case on Saturday. Barkhuizen told me post match he was keen for The Shrimps not to lose their attacking verve as they look to tighten up with balance being key. Bentley, a proud central defender, will be working hard to ensure that his side put an end to the sloppy goals that they’ve been conceding. Doing it while not putting the breaks of some of the side’s sizzling attacking play is easier said than done though.
Did Shrimps not heed warnings?
Yes, Morecambe had won four in a row before Saturday’s defeat to Northampton which for many was really a shock to the system. But did it come as that much of a surprise if we take a closer look at the previous weeks’ performances? Yeovil raced into a two-goal lead before seeing their efforts hampered by 10 men and Newport peppered The Shrimps goal without reward as Bentley’s side picked up six points on the road. The reality is Northampton will feel they are going to finish above both those sides this season and it showed on Saturday as they were far more clinical in attack. Newport and Yeovil didn’t press home their advantages but The Cobblers did with aplomb and should have in reality scored more than the four they converted. It bodes well for Chris Wilder’s side that they did it without top scorer Marc Richards, an unused sub as he carried an injury.
Boss Bentley has decisions to make
One positive thing for Bentley is that on the back of such a disappointing display he has the ability to change things. He has perhaps the best options he’s ever had as Shrimps manager and now might be the time to use them. In the face of defensive frailties in recent weeks Bentley has Andy Parrish back from injury. I got several tweets on Saturday calling for his return and it is a distinct possibility. Whether he comes into the back four remains to be seen because Bentley also has the option to revert to a back three for Oxford on Saturday, something that worked well on the road last season. Another point of issue is up front with no-one nailing down their spot at the point of The Shrimps attack. Kevin Ellison got the nod against Northampton with Shaun Miller also having had a run. Paul Mullin and Jack Ryan will certainly feel they are worth a shot leading the line at the Kassam Stadium next Saturday.
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