Morecambe boss Jim Bentley admits it's all about points after gritty Stevenage draw
Shrimps' boss Jim Bentley admits this stage of the season is more about points than performances as they prepare for Saturday's trip to Luton Town.
Morecambe travel to Kenilworth Road to face the League Two leaders after putting together a three-game unbeaten run.
Wins against Yeovil Town and Grimsby Town were followed by last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stevenage at the Globe Arena.
The point lifted Bentley’s players to 19th in the table, six points clear of the bottom two, though it would have been eight but for Fraser Franks’ late goal, cancelling out Kevin Ellison’s first-half strike.
“The positive I take from it is that it’s seven points from nine,” Bentley said of Saturday’s draw.
“We’re on a little unbeaten run and we’re scoring goals but I’m disappointed that we haven’t kept a clean sheet.
“The lads are trying hard and we’ll keep going ahead of this weekend.
“It wasn’t great performance-wise as people want to turn up and watch passing football.
“However, it was more about endeavour and battling for the first and second balls.”
As Bentley acknowledged, the Stevenage draw was a day for rolling up the sleeves rather than getting the ball down and playing passing football.
A heavily rutted playing surface meant it was largely a case of having to get the ball forward and scrap for what happened afterwards.
Ironially then, it was from Morecambe’s best passage of play that Ellison opened the scoring midway through the first half.
Luke Conlan’s strong run and exchange of passes with Vadaine Oliver gave the wing-back a sight of goal.
Once his effort was blocked, Ellison was on hand to finish for his third goal in as many games and his eighth of the season overall.
Even after Franks had equalised for the visitors, Ellison had another chance when he got behind the visitors’ defence, only for a heavy touch to allow Stevenage keeper Tom King to rush out and claim the ball.
Apart from that, set pieces were the Shrimps’ likeliest route to a goal with centre-half Steve Old again proving a threat.
“Oldy had a header in the first half where the keeper made a great save,” Bentley said.
“There was another in the second half where he looked to get across Alex Kenyon’s path as well.
“We have had the set plays but, even at the end, Kevin Ellison didn’t have the legs to get on the end of his chance.
“It’s no coincidence that, of the last six goals, five of them have been headers because, sometimes, you have to play the conditions.
“I think everyone would have been happy going away and saying it wasn’t nice on the eye but it was a game full of enthusiasm and committed challenges.”