McKenna: Defending set pieces a problem

Paul Huntington heads Preston into a 3-2 lead against Morecambe.
Paul Huntington heads Preston into a 3-2 lead against Morecambe.

MORECAMBE assistant boss Ken McKenna admitted defending set plays had become something of an Achilles heel for his side after they were knocked out the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy by Preston at the Globe Arena on Tuesday night.

Jim Bentley’s side lost 4-2 with North Ends’s third goal coming courtesy of a Paul Huntington header at a corner, meaning The Shrimps had to chase the game for the final 10 minutes before they were ultimately knocked out at the second round stage.

“I thought we controlled the game in the first half, played some good football and deservedly got ourselves in front,” McKenna said.

“We had two or three good chances to kill the game off in the second half and haven’t taken them and then we’ve conceded a goal and that’s given them a big lift.

“Then they’ve scored a very well-worked free-kick and meaning we were up against up it but the lads have done well to get themselves back in the game and from there you’re hoping you can go on and win it.

“But a bit of an Achilles heel at the moment, we’ve conceded from a set play and we’ve found ourselves 3-2 down and we’ve had to go and try and chase another goal and a little mix up at the end has killed the game off for us.

“No matter what happens in the game you’ve got to keep the back door shut whether it be from set plays or in open play.

“But if you look at the game there are plenty of positives. I thought we were the better footballing side and we certainly felt 4-2 is a little bit flattering.”

Two men who impressed for the Shrimps were debutante Jordan Mustoe, the on-loan Wigan man opening the scoring on his first appearance for Morecambe, and young midfielder Joe McGee.

McKenna said: “We know all about Jordan, we watched him four or five times last year because we had no cover at left full back for Laurence Wilson.

“We know what he’s all about, it was no problem bringing him in, we were quite happy and that’s justified today, I think he’s had a fantastic game.

“And young Joe McGee, you know what you’re going to get from Joe, he‘s really good player, one for the future, I don’t think he let himself down today, he played ever so well and was unlucky to be on the losing side.”