Morecambe back to winning ways (hopefully!)
What a win it was for the Shrimps yesterday! I came away from yesterday’s game absolutely overwhelmed, I’d forgotten what it was like to see Morecambe win a game that mattered.
With our last league win at home coming against Portsmouth on the 16th August, it was such a relief to get the three points especially given the current circumstances at the club.
Morecambe’s squad is small, especially now two good players in Tom Barkhuizen and Jack Dunn have left the club. What was great to see, was Rhys Turner stepping up to fill the void.
Turner, 21, who signed from Oldham Athletic in the summer, is a player I hadn’t seen much of before Tuesday’s game at Crewe. He hasn’t appeared to be one of the players in Jim Bentley’s plans for most of this season, and all I’d seen of him was a couple of substitute appearances- so it was hard to make a judgement on him. I was really pleased for him when he scored his first goal for the club at Crewe on Tuesday, and he impressed me again yesterday. Playing on the right-wing, Turner beat his opponents for pace on numerous occasions and he was good in the air considering his size! He also made some good supporting runs, and was really unlucky not to score- most notably when he hit the crossbar from about two yards out with an open net in front of him. What summed his performance up perfectly was when I heard a man behind me say “Turner should be starting every game”.
Whilst every Morecambe player made important contributions to the game, there were two players in particular who were key to their success.
Aaron Wildig, who was named the sponsors’ man of the match, made some key passes and runs- stimulating some great attacking moves. Unfortunately he has been very unlucky with injuries this season, limiting him to just six starts from a possible 25, and you can see that he makes a real difference to the side. He brings pace, vision and creativity to the team, and he is one of those players that should be on the score sheet fairly regularly. He has been unlucky with goals too. He gets into the right positions, but never seems to take his chances. For example, against Coventry City he had a shot cleared off the line and yesterday he hit a brilliant shot from a corner that forced Plymouth’s keeper into a great save as well as a header hitting the crossbar in the second half. Hopefully he will get what he deserves soon!
Michael Rose was absolutely crucial to Morecambe’s success in yesterday’s game in my opinion. He made some brilliant passes and blocks, and seemed to affect the vast majority of the game. The set-piece specialist’s corners were outstanding. Every single one of them. There was one spell in the game, where the Shrimps had five quick corners in succession. He delivered all of them, and every single one caused Plymouth problems- hence why they were forced to bring a player down in the box. Rose surprised me by stepping up for the penalty, but he showed us exactly how it’s done. When he paused during his run up for the penalty, I thought he had stumbled but what it did instead was trick the keeper. A classy penalty! It is also worth noting that he was key to both goals, delivering the corner that led to Peter Murphy’s goal in addition to his penalty. Without his contributions, we wouldn’t have won that game. In my opinion, he has been Jim’s best summer signing- and has strengthened the midfield.
A team performance
It was amazing to see the players have a lot of fight in them in yesterday’s game- something that had been lacking in previous games. The game plan certainly worked, and you could tell that they had worked on their set pieces. The defence has improved, but I think there is still work to do on that front. As for the attack, I think that they posed a threat on a regular basis. They looked exciting going forward, creating plenty of chances, and they could’ve scored four/five goals. They weren’t great in the final third, with Cole Stockton in particular appearing to lack confidence in front of goal at the moment- and finishing is something they need to work on still. The missed chances could’ve come back to haunt them, and they made it harder for themselves by not putting the game to bed. You can’t fault the players’ for their effort and hard work in the game though- they fully deserved the victory.
Barry Roche: 7- Didn’t have a lot to do for much of the game, and this was shown when he was out of position for their goal. He made a crucial stop towards the end however to keep Morecambe in front.
Liam Wakefield: 6- Was good in the air, but gave the ball away a bit too much.
Dean Winnard: 7.5- Solid, didn’t really put a foot wrong.
Ryan Edwards: 8- Brilliant distribution, won the ball in the air and didn’t put a foot wrong.
James Jennings: 7- Won the ball in the air most of the time, and some good passes.
Rhys Turner: 8.5- Very effective on the right hand side, utilised his pace and should’ve scored.
Michael Rose: 9- His corners were excellent and made some cracking long balls and tackles.
Peter Murphy: 7- Took his goal well, made a few mistakes but got into some good positions.
Kevin Ellison: 6.5- Got into some good spaces, but was lacking in pace and his finishing could’ve been better.
Aaron Wildig: 9- Made some great passes, should’ve scored and his work rate was excellent.
Cole Stockton: 8- Some great passing play, should’ve scored and maybe got an assist too. Lacking confidence in front of goal.
Paul Mullin: 6- Didn’t really do much to be honest, but didn’t do anything wrong
Ntumba Massanka: 7.5- Looked exciting when he came on, should’ve scored
Aaron McGowan: N/A- Came on in the last minute
What other Shrimps’ fans thought
Finley Cowperthwaite: “The team were superb from start to finish, and fully deserved the win. Everyone showed passion, something that has been missing in the past seven home games. To dominate a team who are top of the league takes a lot of hard work and quality, and we had both of these in abundance. Hopefully we are able to carry on this momentum into upcoming games, and push on towards the top half of the table.”
CJ Green: “It was one of the best performances of the season, if not the best. It was great to see the players have a bit more passion than the last couple of games. It was great having Wildig back, and he’d get my MOTM. He looked so sharp and quick, always pressing the defenders and chasing down every ball. Very unlucky not to score with his header. Turner was a close second for MOTM- it was good to see him start a home game and like Wildig he should’ve scored. Let’s hope it’s the same standard of performance in our upcoming games.”
Dan Main: “Best game Morecambe have played at home in a long time. We knew that Plymouth were a good side but we just turned up with confidence and that is why we won the match. The team defended well and worked well attacking. There are many positives from this performance and we just need to keep working well as a team.”
Alan Main: “It was great to witness Morecambe winning at home again after a long two months, with seven straight league defeats at home leading to despondency amongst the home fans. Rhys Turner looked a threat down the right and Wildig was involved in lots of the action and deserved his man of the match.”
Alan Cain: “I think Jim got the team selection spot on and I was very happy to see the team playing some good football and getting stuck in, which I think has been lacking in our last few games. Difficult to pick a MOTM as they all played well, however I think I was most impressed with Wildig, he was like a terrier and just didn’t give up.”
David Hyomes: “When Plymouth did their pre match analysis on the Shrimps they will have been shocked at what they actually got! Recent games at the Globe have seen the opposition have an unhindered path to the edge of our penalty area as we stood off from making a challenge. However Saturday was different- we put challenges in forcing Argyle into errors. Totally delighted with our effort & spirit Michael Rose may not be our captain but he plays like a captain! James Jennings is looking better- getting much more involved. Jim, Ken and the guys have taken some stick in recent weeks but considering the circumstances they are currently operating in I thought Saturday’s performance was superb. Also thought the backing from the Shrimps fans was incredible even when we were attacking the away end!”