Morecambe 1 V 0 Northampton Town

Morecambe 1 v 0 Northampton Tn

Globe Arena, Tuesday 21. August 2018, League 2, 7.45pm.

Attendance 1594 with 230 away fans.

Teams – Roche Mills Old Yarney Conlan Fleming Wildig Mandeville Oates Oswell Leitch-Smith subs used Ellison for Oates 66, Kenyon for Oswell 74, Mendes-Gomes for Wildig 84.

Cobblers – Cornell Facey Buchanan Taylor c Barnett Hoskins Foley Crooks Bowditch Williams Van Veen subs used Powell for Bowditch 64, Morais for Williams 64, O’Toole for Foley 84.

Yellows – Shrimps 6 – Mandeville 12, Old 44, Yarney 55, Kenyon 78, Roche 55, Roche 2nd yellow 86 then red.  Cobblers – 2 – Barnett 55, Bowditch 55.


Ref Mark Heywood, (not be confused with the bloody hopeless Mark Haywood who officiates like a power mad Dalek). It wasn’t a dirty game but the incident on Wildig on 55 minutes ensured 4 players received cautions, rightly, for testosterone fuelled pushing and preening. This cost Baz later on as we know.  Generally controlled well and was well placed for all the big calls.

The Shrimps made two changes to the team that started at Cheatenage, with Rhys Oates replacing Kev, who dropped to the bench, and Jason Oswell making his League 2 bow in place of Vadaine. So we remained a 4-4-2 with Oates and Mandeville lending width and cover for the full backs. The opening exchanges were cagey, with both sides winless it was a little scrappy. Mandeville claimed a penalty early on but was booked, correctly in my view, for diving. However soon after Ajay wriggled free on the edge of the D and his deflected effort brought a simple save from Cornell on 13 minutes. The Cobblers replied when Crooks and Hoskins linked well to release the big midfielder who shot low forcing Baz to parry to his left, Yarney clearing the follow up. This prompted a shift in gear from the Shrimps who began to knock the ball around patiently and with no little skill in manner not seen in many months. The movement from Oates and Mandeville, involving Mills and Conlan on the flanks was good, with Wildig linking well with Ajay chances started to appear. Oswell was surprised from 8 yards out when a cross from the left landed at his feet and his shot was easily smothered but the game was turning. Another neat passing move resulted in Flemo stealing into the box to head over the seemingly stranded Cornell who somehow arched his back and clawed the ball onto the crossbar and away for a corner. Oates then tried his luck after cutting in from the left and curling one which Cornell again did well to paw away, however Oswell followed up and his deflected effort was headed off the line by Facey. The increasingly influential  Mandeville and Wildig were pulling the strings with Oswell and AJay linking up with them well, the football was a joy to watch, but still 0-0.

As the 4th official held up the board announcing 2 minutes of added time, Flemo released a scampering AJay with a sublime long pass,   his first touch was crucial as he controlled and scurried free, calmed himself and slid it under the advancing Cornell for 1-0. We had scored at last!!!

The half time whistle blew and the home fans rose as one to applaud what was the best team performance at the Globe since the second half against Yeovil last season, but the job was only half done.

More of the same followed as the second half started, Oates tried a daisy cutter which Cornell was sharply down to turn away for a corner. Ajay blazed over after Mills had hoodwinked his opposite number and then forced Cornell into his best save of the half when he turned and shot powerfully in the same movement. The Cobblers reacted by bringing on the dangerous Junior Morais and gradually crept into the game. Van Veen and Morais worked an opening resulting in a back post cross which Mills read and cleared for another corner. Powell provided width and both full backs pushed on as they mounted a comeback, despite the dominance for an hour, it was a slender 1 goal lead. Kev replaced Oates but still the tide of yellow came forward. A string of corners were dealt with and Kenyon replaced Oswell in a bid to stem the flow. What a fortunate substitution that was looking back. As the minutes ticked, a long punt downfield caught the Shrimps back four cold and Morais hurried clear, Baz came out to shepherd him away but caught him on the left edge of the box!! Ooops. Second yellow for Barry and first use of the Palmolive, with all three subs having been used, Alex Kenyon trotted across and borrowed a keepers jersey. 4 minutes to go, this could be interesting.

Barry had made one meaningful save all evening, Alex made three in added time, all of which were exemplary, the double save in itself was superb, to keep the scoresheet blank and ensure the points were hard won but deserved. The crowd were noisy and appreciative of the effort every player put in but especially for Alex, who despite only having come on as sub, got booked for throwing the ball away stupidly, went in goal and won the man of the match for his 18 minutes on the pitch!!

It was gratifying to see just about everyone stay and applaud at the end, as we haven’t won a game in so long, the relief for all was palpable. We were the better side but credit to the Cobblers who payed some neat football and played their part in a decent game. They collapsed in disbelief at the end, but we held our nerve and for once our luck to end a spirited evening.

So what have learned? 4-4-2 with the players we have seems to fit. Oswell is handful and AJay looks like he has goals in him. Mandeville had his best game yet, he kept the ball well and his little give and go’s with AJay and Wildig were a joy. Oates is powerful runner and gave cover well to Conlan. Yarney looked composed and a class above all evening learning his trade alongside Old. As for Flemo, pass of the game to play in AJay.

Just a quick postscript, I kept a count on our efforts on goal as I’ve been thinking for a while that the stats we get appear to be little confused. We had 9 efforts on target last night, all listed above, yet the BBC say we had 6 and they had 5, they had 4 on my list, which does give a more even picture than was necessarily true.  Their press lads all had the Cobblers keeper as their MOM, which is pretty much the game I watched.

So on to Oldham at home…..which Shrimps team will turn up?? Hopefully the same one as Tuesday evening!!