Robbie Threlfall’s late goal handed Morecambe a point against promotion-chasing Oxford United at the Globe Arena on Saturday.
David Connolly’s deflected strike 13 minutes in had looked like being enough for the Us but the Shrimps pressed for the majority of the second half before getting their reward in stoppage time as Threlfall deflected home Andy Fleming’s corner.
It is a result that means Jim Bentley’s side are still looking for their first win of 2014, but in the absence of Jack Redshaw and Jamie Devitt the performance points to that run ending sooner rather than later.
Morecambe started the brighter with Jack Sampson testing Ryan Clarke early on but it was the high-flying visitors who took the lead.
A Dave Hunt long throw from the right found Connolly in the box and the veteran striker twisted and turned before firing in a shot from 12 yards that deflected past Barry Roche as Morecambe’s run of bad luck continued.
In was nearly two moments later but Roche produced a fine stop to deny Us skipper Johnny Mullins after another Hunt long throw had caused problems.
Sampson had another sight of goal for the Shrimps on 20 minutes but could only scuff his effort straight at Clarke from inside the area.
At the other end, Morecambe again failed to clear before Alfie Potter dragged a shot agonisingly wide shortly before the half hour mark.
Sampson continued to look the most likely to level things up for the hosts as he headed wide from a Kevin Ellison cross on 37 minutes.
It was the home side who started the second half the brighter in search of an equaliser, Fleming firing over on the stretch after an enterprising run down the left from Threlfall five minutes after the break.
The Shrimps continued to press but with Oxford content to sit and play on the break but despite all their pressure, the hosts didn’t properly test Clarke.
A long Roche clearance on 67 minutes caused confusion between the Us ‘keeper and Sam Long but Morecambe couldn’t capitalise as the ball bobbled across the area in a moment that just about summed up the Shrimps’ last few weeks.
Substitute Tony Diagne then saw a shot from a narrow angle well held by Clarke with a quarter of an hour to play.
Morecambe felt they should have had a penalty seven minutes from time when another replacement Joe McGee appeared to be pushed but once again Bentley’s side didn’t get the rub of the green with referee David Webb waving away their protests.
But just as it looked like it wasn’t going to be Morecambe’s day Threlfall’s goal gave them a share of the spoils - the least they deserved after an impressive second half display.
Morecambe: Roche, Beeley (Diagne 72), Hughes (capt), Parrish, Threlfall, Kenyon (McGee 72), Drummond, Fleming, Ellison, Amond (Wright 29), Sampson. Subs not used: Arestidou, Williams, McCready, Doyle.
Oxford United: Clarke, Hunt, Long, Mullins, Davies, Williams, Wroe, Rose, Constable, Potter (Rigg 74), Connolly (Ruffels 90). Subs not used: Henly, Marsh, Lynn, Bevans, O’Dowda.
Attendance: 1,614 (242 away)
Referee: David Webb