A HOTLY disputed first half penalty sent Wycombe on their way to a comfortable victory at the Globe Arena.
Kettle handed the visitors a gift when Gareth Ainsworth fell dramatically as he passed Garry Hunter in the box and when Scott Rendell scored from the spot kick the Shrimps once again found themselves a goal down after looking the better side in the opening exchanges of the game.
Although the decision is no excuse for the Keystone Cops defending that saw the Chairboys then add a further two goals before the break, it certainly played a major role in the game as McIlroy stressed.
He said: “The penalty was a killer and is typical of the luck we have had this season.
“Garry Hunter is as honest a pro that you could get and he said he didn’t touch him and I think the TV replays will show that to be the case.
“Gareth had a little grin on his face when I saw him later in the game and that said it all.
“I’ve already been in trouble for my comments about referees this season and there is plenty that I could say about that decision but I haven’t got enough money to pay the fine.’’
Morecambe actually looked the better side from the early stages and were in charge for the opening 20 minutes.
Phil Jevons forced Nikki Bull into a good first minute save after a fine cross from Kevan Hurst then, on seven minutes, debutant Zac Aley, on loan from Blackburn Rovers, totally missed his kick when presented with a great chance by Phil Jevons.
Jevons tested Bull again after being played in by Danny Carlton but Morecambe’s dominance came to a shattering end with the penalty award.
The goal, and the loss of Laurence Walker to a hamstring injury, rocked the Shrimps and for the remainder of the half they were all over the place.
The second goal was a defensive nightmare for Hunter and Kieran Charnock who could both only look in horror as the 37-year-old Ainsworth darted between them to slot home a well taken second.
Then in first half injury-time the game was over as Wycombe countered again and Scott Donnelly pulled the ball back in the area for Rendell to calmly score his second of the game from 12 yards out.
The second half saw the Shrimps produce a spirited comeback with Bull saving superbly from the Shrimps’ star man Andy Parrish and following that up with a good tip over from Scott Brown’s dipping cross.
Chris Shuker looked lively when he came off the bench and hit the crossbar and Parrish was denied again with a header cleared off the line by Marvin McCoy.
The Shrimps were denied a consolation goal they probably deserved and a win for Stockport and draw for Barnet means safety is still far from guaranteed.
Morecambe: Roche 6; Holdsworth 6, Parrish 7, McCready 6, Wilson 6 (Charnock 28); Fleming 6 (Brown 55), Hunter 6, Hurst 6, Aley 6 (Shuker 58); Carlton 6, Jevons 6. Subs not used: Anyon (GK), Wainwright, Bentley, Spencer.
Booked: McCready, Fleming, Brown.
Wycombe: Bull; McCoy, Winfield, Johnson, Foster; Ainsworth (Murtagh 76), Montrose, Donnelly (Pittman 82), Betsy (Scowen 90); Rendell, Beavon. Subs not used: Bennett, McClure, Harris, Arnold (GK).
Ref: T Kettle
STARMAN Andy Parrish - the Shrimps’ defender was once again the pick of the crop and grows in stature with every game.