MORECAMBE skipper Barry Roche said his side’s performance at Port Vale on Saturday was a “disgrace”.
Roche was the only player who could take any positives from the game which saw the Shrimps suffer their heaviest ever Football League defeat and had he not made a number of excellent saves the home side could have reached double figures.
He said: “The performance was an embarrassment to the football club - it was nothing short of an absolute disgrace.
“We made it very easy for the goals they scored and seven didn’t flatter them at all because we could easily have conceded more.
“One ball seemed to beat us for all the goals and we just didn’t get close enough to Vale’s players all over the field. They were first to every second ball.
“I’ve never conceded seven goals before in my professional career and there hasn’t been a word spoken in the dressing room.
“It’s heartbreaking and a really, really horrible feeling. We were terrible - absolutely awful.
“I’m glad it wasn’t the last game of the season and we’ve still got a chance to regain some pride next weekend.
“We’ve all got to do our utmost to make amends. The supporters kept getting behind us even when we were six goals down, but they deserve much, much better than that.”
There was little suggest what was to follow in the opening stages of the game with both sides looking evenly matched.
But it all went horribly wrong when the Shrimps went a goal down on 18 minutes.
Port Vale attacked down the middle and Louis Dodds exchanged a quick one two with Marc Richards before firing past Barry Roche from 20 yards out with a low shot that flew into the bottom right hand corner of the Morecambe goal.
Four minutes later it was 2-0 as the Shrimps’ defence were undone all too easily.
A long ball was punted down the middle and while the defence appealed for offside Marc Richards nipped in behind the defence to lob the onrushing Roche from 20 yards out.
The Shrimps pulled one back just after the half hour with an excellent strike from Phil Jevons.
The striker received the ball on the left hand side of the area and cut inside on to his right foot before curling a superb effort into the top left hand corner of Chris Martin’s goal.
Garry Hunter was then denied an equaliser by Martin but as and this turned out to be the turning point as the Shrimps quickly conceded a third.
In another moment of defensive madness a long ball was pumped down the middle and Justin Richards could not believe his luck as he had a free run on goal to round Roche before slotting the ball into the empty net.
Two minutes into injury time it was 4-1 as former Shrimps’ right back Adam Yates started off a move that ended with Justin Richards smashing home his second and his side’s fourth after a neat one-two in the box.
Will Haining was switched to centre half as Sammy McIlroy looked for damage limitation but unfortunately the goals continued to flow in the second half with Dodds scoring twice in quick succession with excellent finishes from the edge of the area as the defence allowed him far too much time and space.
Jimmy Spencer pulled one back to make it 6-2 and Roche went on to make a number of excellent saves in quick succession before being beaten again as Justin Richards secured his hat trick and Port Vale’s seventh with a cool finish from eight yards to put the seal on an afternoon to forget.
Morecambe: Roche 7; Haining 5, McCready 5, Cowperthwaite 5, Wilson 5; Holdsworth 5, Hunter 5 (Brown 68), Drummond 5, Hurst 5 (Shuker 45), Jevons 6, Carlton 5 (Spencer 65). Subs not used: Jones (Gk), Bentley, Aley, Hendrie.
Port Vale: Martin; Yates, Sutton, Owen (David 70), Collins; Dodds, Griffiths, Morsy, R Taylor (Lloyd 71); M Richards, J Richards. Subs not used: Tomlinson, K Taylor, McCombe, Haldane, Roberts.
Ref: R Lewis.
Star man: Barry Roche - Prevented the scoreline from reaching double figures.