Morecambe fell to only their second league defeat of the season on Saturday at the hands of fellow high-flyers Fleetwood.
Josh Dixon’s side, who stay top of the Northern Premier League thanks to results elsewhere, put in a fine performance with the ball to restrict the hosts to 137, but lost wickets at regular intervals in reply and ultimately closed 34 runs short.
In probably their trickiest test of the season Morecambe travelled to the Fylde coast on the day the hosts reopened their Broadwater ground having spent £65,000 on drainage work over the winter months.
Dixon lost the toss and it was no surprise Fleetwood skipper Mat Clarke chose to bat and the hosts made a solid start through professional David King and Adam Parker.
Captain Dixon looked to his professional Suraj Randiv (2-37) early and was rewarded when his first delivery turned square.
Despite the control of Randiv Morecambe could not quite break the solidarity of the opening pair and it was another bowling change which turned the visitors’ fortunes.
The vastly-improved Jamie Cassidy returned after a short opening spell to find the outside edge of Parker’s bat and get the ball rolling.
Randiv then quickly removed Adam Sharrocks (1) whose poor form continued as he was caught smartly by Phil Dennison at first slip.
Then came the crucial wicket as returning former professional Ian Holland, the Australian playing by virtue of his dual passport, looked to be aggressive before Randiv bowled him for 9.
Morecambe sensed an opportunity however King was to reach his 50 and continue to move forward despite the lack of a constant partner.
James Wilson (6) and Mark Wilkinson (6) came and went as then did King thanks to a brilliant catch from Randiv in the covers for a well-made 64, Eddy Read picking up the wicket.
Continuing to squeeze now through Read and the ever-present Randiv Morecambe ensured Fleetwood were kept to a total of 137.
Delighted with their first half efforts Morecambe went into their chase buoyed by their recent run of results.
They were however to lose Dennison (0) and Randiv (1) before the score had reached 10.
Skipper Dixon (10) and his vice Pearson (9) looked to repel the professional attack of Holland and King however it was the change bowling of Parker that accounted for Dixon.
Pearson combined with the aggressive Lewis Edge (30) who took the attack to Fleetwood striking seven fours in his 49-ball innings before both would fall leaving Morecambe in deep trouble.
Gazz Pedder and Read battled in the face of some excellent Fleetwood bowling but as first thought the pitch began to break up and it was the spin of Michael Clinning (5-19) that mopped up Morecambe’s tail despite the best efforts of Adam Derham (15) who showed good character towards the end.
Morecambe will look to dust themselves down and maintain top spot when they welcome Leyland to Woodhill Lane next Saturday with the game beginning at 1pm.