Sky Bet League 2
Morecambe 2-0 Portsmouth
Edwards 10Barkhuizen 21
Early goals from Ryan Edwards and Tom Barkhuizen ensured that the bookies’ favourites to go down, Morecambe, beat the bookies favourites to go up, Portsmouth on a lovely summer’s evening.
The first ten minutes were fairly quiet, but Cole Stockton then had Morecambe’s first chance with a shot, outside the box, that was blocked in the tenth minute.
Moments later the Shrimps got their first corner of the game, which was defended badly by the away side and it fell to Ryan Edwards who was able to slot home from close range to put Jim Bentley’s side in front and score Morecambe’s first goal from defence in two seasons.
Portsmouth showed some signs of getting a goal back, with some attacking play but they weren’t brilliant in the final third. Former Morecambe player Carl Baker had a shout for a penalty turned down in the 21st minute and then Morecambe took full advantage of the counter-attack. Tom Barkhuizen made a cracking run forward, and he blasted the ball home into the top corner from the edge of the D to double the Shrimps’ lead and open his goal scoring account for the season.
Five minutes later Carl Baker came close for the away side, but his shot was blocked by Conlan, and Kyle Bennett also shot just wide in the 34th minute.
Ten minutes before half time, Tom Barkhuizen came close to getting his second of the night, as he did very well to get past Enda Stevens at left-back but then his lob over the keeper could only make the side-netting.
Paul Cook’s side looked to press for a goal back before half time, but the best they could do was through Kyle Bennett, who could only hit the ball over the bar four minutes from time.
In the second half, the Shrimps’ defence sat back and Portsmouth had a whole host of chances but they didn’t trouble Barry Roche in the Morecambe goal.
Carl Baker had a powerful shot saved by Barry Roche to his left in the 52nd minute, and fifteen minutes later Pompey had arguably their best chance of the game. Substitute Curtis Main (no relation to me by my knowledge by the way) got on the end of a great cross, and his diving header from close range was parried away by Roche, who had great reactions.
Six minutes later, Main emerged on the right-hand side but his shot was saved by the legs of Roche and centre-half Christian Burgess also had a close-range shot parried away by the veteran keeper.
One of Morecambe’s only notable chances of the half came in the 79th minute when Tom Barkhuizen made a threatening run on the right-hand side and then played an excellent long ball to Ellison in the box whose volley was blocked by a defender and went for a corner.
Three minutes later Lee Molyneux gave away a free kick in a threatening position, but Gareth Roberts’ impressive free-kick was met by the hands of Roche, who made an impressive diving save to his left to keep the ball out.
Jim Bentley’s side had an excellent chance to put the game to bed in the 89th minute when substitute Paul Mullin found himself one-on-one with the keeper as a result of some great counter-attacking play but his impressive shot was saved well by David Forde to his left.
There were five minutes of added time, and the Shrimps managed to keep a clean-sheet despite Carl Baker’s last minute attempt to get a consolation, which was saved again by the excellent Roche to his right.
Morecambe travel to Yeovil on Saturday in League 2 looking to extend their winning run to four games (in all competitions) before facing Premier League side Bournemouth in the EFL Cup on Wednesday at the Globe Arena.
Morecambe: Roche, Wakefield, Edwards, Whitmore, Conlan, Ellison, Rose(c), Fleming, Barkhuizen (Kenyon 86), Dunn (Molyneux 60), Stockton (Mullin 75).
Subs not used: Nizic, McGowan, Turner
Booked: Fleming, Molyneux, Stockton
Portsmouth: Forde, Talbot, Barton, Burgess, Stevens, Rose (Hunt 85), Doyle(c), Roberts, Baker, Bennett (Main 64), Smith (Lalkovic 64).
Subs not used: Davies, O’Brien, Buxton, Linganzi
Booked: Stevens, Doyle