EFL Cup Round 2- Wednesday 24th August 2016
Morecambe 1-2 Bournemouth Stockton 14 Gradel 8 Wilson 54
Morecambe bowed out of the EFL Cup with their heads held high following a narrow loss to Premier League side Bournemouth.
Max Gradel opened the scoring for the away side, before Cole Stockton equalised for the hosts five minutes later, and then Marc Wilson got the winner on his debut for Eddie Howe’s side since his £2m switch from Stoke City.
Jim Bentley’s side started well, and had an early chance through Cole Stockton, who hit the ball over the bar in the fourth minute.
Two minutes later Tom Barkhuizen followed up on this, forcing Adam Federici into a good save as a result of a powerful shot from the in-form winger.
Despite Morecambe’s early chances, it was the away side who scored the first goal of the night. Eddie Howe’s side capitalised on a defensive error and Max Gradel’s shot came off the post and beat Roche to his left in the eighth minute to put Bournemouth in front.
Five minutes later the Premier League side almost had a second goal, when Junior Stanislas got past Luke Conlan on the right hand side and shot straight at Barry Roche.
Two minutes later the Shrimps were back in the game, as a throw in found its way to Cole Stockton who was able to turn and bury the ball past Federici in the bottom right of the goal to put the hosts back on level terms.
Bournemouth had the majority of chances in the first half however, but Morecambe managed to hold their forte to half time.
Max Gradel had a shot well blocked by Alex Whitmore in the 28th minute, before Barry Roche denied Benik Afobe and the rebound from Max Gradel was blocked by the Irishman too in the 31st minute.
The away side looked likely to score just before the break, with Lewis Grabban having a shot blocked by Ryan Edwards and Max Gradel almost beating Roche with an attempted lob.
It was Morecambe who had the last chance of the half however, and it was a very significant one. Tom Barkhuizen cut in from the right-hand side and his powerful shot hit the post at speed and nearly went in. It was 1-1 at the break.
Eddie Howe’s side started the second half well, and were back in front just nine minutes into the half. After Morecambe failed to successfully defend a corner, the ball fell to debutant Marc Wilson, who buried the ball into the right-hand corner to score his first goal since 2010.
Ten minutes later Max Gradel had a shot blocked by Ryan Edwards, before the away side had a golden opportunity to extend their lead. Ryan Edwards gifted the ball straight to Benik Afobe but the former Arsenal striker was unable to get round Roche, who was the only man he had to beat in order to score.
Following a dodgy pass back from Marc Wilson, it was arguably all Morecambe in the last twenty minutes of the game. Jack Dunn blasted just wide of the goal from around thirty yards out in the 70th minute, before Kevin Ellison’s cross in the box had to be tipped over the bar by Federici four minutes from time.
Morecambe threw everything at Bournemouth in the dying moments of the game, with Paul Mullin coming close with a diving header in the last two minutes of normal time. In added time keeper Barry Roche came up for a free kick and he did get a touch to the ball, but the move ended when Ryan Edwards headed the ball onto the crossbar- coming so close for the Shrimps.
Centre-half Edwards had the last chance of the game with a good shot that forced Federici into a good save in the second minute of injury time. Although some would argue that the Shrimps did enough to take the game to extra time, it just wasn’t to be for the home side.
Jim Bentley’s side, who sit at the top of League 2, come up against Accrington Stanley away from home on Saturday.
Morecambe: Roche, Wakefield, Edwards, Whitmore, Conlan, Molyneux (Ellison 73), Rose (c), Fleming, Barkhuizen, Dunn (Mullin 80), Stockton (Turner 80).
Subs not used: Nizic, Kenyon, Hedley, McGowan.
Bournemouth: Federici, Francis (c), M Wilson, Ake, Smith, Stanislas (Pugh 61), Gosling, Cook, Gradel (Hyndman 90+2), Afobe, Grabban (Mousset 77).
Subs not used: O’Kane, Buckley, Holmes, Lee.