We picked up a point on the road at Morecambe on Tuesday evening, drawing 0-0 on the Lancastrian coast.
Jodi Jones hit the bar early in the second period, coming closer than either side to breaking the deadlock, but despite consistent pressure we weren’t able to find a way through the resolute Morecambe backline.
On a beautiful night on the Lancastrian coast, Luke Williams made three changes to the side that overcame Grimsby at Meadow Lane on Saturday, with O’Brien, Baldwin and Chicksen coming into the team.
Kicking towards the low sun over the Halo Terrace, we controlled the early exchanges, dominating possession while backed by typically vocal away support.
Yet the first half chance of the game fell to the home side in the ninth minute. The ball broke for Morecame’s Adam Mayor who drove forward but fine covering work from Chicksen saw him diffuse the danger.
Five minutes later we had our first sight of goal. An excellent pass from Baldwin sent Nemane away on the right-hand side and the wing back’s low cross found McGoldrick on the penalty spot yet his left-footed effort flew just wide.
We continued to have more territory and Jodi Jones found his first bubble of space on the left-hand side on the 25-minute mark, delivering a delightful cross that flew right across the face of the goal, just eluding Langstaff.
McGoldrick showed his class for the first time on the half-hour mark, taking a Jones pass in his stride and spinning through the centre of the park. Breaking at pace, his chipped ball over the top was just caught by a Morecambe head, preventing Langstaff from racing through on goal.
Baldwin became the first name in referee Scott Jackson’s book 10 minutes before the break, stretching to recover a heavy touch and catching Adam Mayor. A deep ball from the resulting free-kick stuck around in Morecambe’s box before a cross from the left flashed right across our goal. Crowley was able to shepherd it out for a goal kick and relieve Morecambe’s spell of pressure.
Just a minute later, after Nemane was caught late, a neat free-kick routine saw a deep Jones cross met by Langstaff at the back post. He produced a strong save from Moore, who tipped over a fierce header.
As the first half headed to its conclusion, we once again found ourselves on the front foot. O’Brien produced a brilliant slide rule pass to put Jones clear in the box and our number 10 neatly cut inside his man but fired just over on his right foot.
McGoldrick ended the half with a fine piece of skill to beat his man 40 yards from goal before closing in and shooting just wide of the right-hand post.
Neither side made any changes at the break and within seconds Morecambe nearly went ahead. A deep cross caused our defence some issues and only a fine tackle from Nemane prevented Mayor having a clear shot on Stone’s goal. Mayor again threatened minutes later, shooting from 20 yards. Stone claimed the strong shot comfortably.
Then the chances started to flow as we enjoyed our best spell of sustained pressure. Palmer found Nemane with a pass in behind his opposing full back and the winger’s dinked cross found Jones at the back post. He met the ball neatly on the volley and it hammered against the bar - as close as we would come.
A long passage of patient play eventually saw Nemane set O’Brien for a fierce shot that was blocked away for a corner, before an excellent Jones cross was cleared by Senior, right off Langstaff’s head just six yards from goal.
Crowley carved out the next chance, burrowing through three challenges on the right wing and lofting a smart ball into Langstaff, who was thwarted by the onrushing Moore from the Morecambe net.
Yet Morecambe still posed a threat on the break - and came very close to opening the scoring on 70 minutes. Mellon twisted and turned in the box, before firing right across goal, just inches wide.
The game became more end-to-end as it drew to a conclusion, but neither side were able to carve open clear chances. Four substitutions from Williams wasn’t able to help us break down the Morecambe defence and in the end, we were left with a Morecambe corner to defend right at the death.
Shortly after the ball was cleared away, the final whistle called time on a tough encounter at the Mazuma Stadium.
STARTING XI: Stone; Cameron, Chicksen (Adebayo 70'), Baldwin; Jones (Bostock 85'), Nemane (Scott 85'); O’Brien (Austin 60'), Palmer, Crowley, McGoldrick; Langstaff
SUBS: Slocombe, Rawlinson, Morias
YELLOWS: Baldwin 36'