VIDEO: Morecambe's stand-in keeper plays down late heroics
Alex Kenyon played down his part in helping Morecambe earn their first victory of the season against Northampton Town on Tuesday.
Having been brought on with quarter of an hour left at the Globe Arena, the midfielder then found himself going in goal with time running out and his side 1-0 ahead thanks to A-Jay Leitch-Smith.
Shrimps’ skipper Barry Roche had seen red for a second yellow on 86 minutes and, with Morecambe boss Jim Bentley having used all his subs, Kenyon found himself borrowing a set of gloves belonging to back-up keeper Mark Halstead.
With four minutes of normal time to play, followed by six added minutes, Kenyon preserved Morecambe’s three points with a fine double save, followed by another stop.
While he walked away with the man-of-the-match award for his 10-minute cameo between the posts, the 26-year-old played down his efforts.
“I can’t be called the hero because I thought we were unbelievable in the first half and the football we played was excellent,” he said.
“The last 10 minutes were nervy but I’ve done it before against Hartlepool - though I conceded two goals that time!
“As soon as that full-time whistle went, it was relief because I didn’t want to let the lads down because of how hard they had worked.”
With Kenyon in goal and Northampton scenting a point they had barely looked like obtaining, it was all hands to the pump among the home defenders.
When Northampton did manage a shot on target, they were foiled by the stand-in keeper, a double save to thwart Matt Crooks’ shot and Daniel Powell’s follow-up.
“I parried the first one before I got up quickly and just spread myself,” Kenyon said of those saves.
“Thankfully the second one hit my leg and went out; it’s gone for a corner and I had Kevin Ellison coming over and telling me to hold the first one!”
His appearance in goal might have caused some nerves among Morecambe fans hoping for victory but, as Bentley revealed, Kenyon has been a goalkeeping alternative in the past.
He said: “Since he’s been at the club, there have been a few times where we’ve put him in goal.
“We might have done a shooting session and asked him to go in goal because he’s always fancied himself as a keeper.
“I think there was a stage when Baz (Roche) was injured and we had Dan Nizic playing with Alex ready to come on if needed - and he’d bought himself a new pair of gloves 12 or 18 months ago just in case!
“Baz being sent off just added to the occasion and Alex ends up as the man of the match; you saw the smiles on people’s faces and that’s what it’s all about.”