MORECAMBE’S excellent run of form away from home continued with an excellent point at high-flying Crawley.
For the second game in succession the Shrimps produced a fine defensive performance to maintain their excellent record away from the Globe Arena this season much to the delight of manager Jim Bentley.
He said: “The lads were fantastic. They threw everything at us in the second half and once again we did everything we could to keep out a very good side. The lads threw their bodies on their line and really frustrated them and got their rewards with a fantastic point.
“In the first half I thought we were excellent and if we could have gone 2-0 up I think it would have made a massive difference to the game. We perhaps could have showed a bit more composure at times but apart from that I couldn’t really have asked for any more from the lads and I’m proud of them again.”
Bentley made four changes to his starting line up and they started brightly with a great chance in the opening minute of the game. Laurence Wilson crossed from the left and Andy Fleming diverted the ball wide at the near post.
Wilson then curled a fourth minute free-kick over the bar before Crawley responded when Karl Hawley’s chested lay-off giving Billy Clarke a sight of goal but his shot was blocked.
Former Blackpool man Clarke was the home side’s biggest threat throughout and he tested Barry Roche with a stinging 20-yard drive which the Shrimps ‘keeper did well to parry before producing a world-class save to tip a looping Kyle McFadzean header on to the post.
The Shrimps then hit back and went ahead on 20 minutes. Crawley’s defender Claude Davies could only clear a Wilson corner to the middle of the area and Andy Fleming lashed the loose ball in to the bottom corner.
Danny Carlton then had a golden chance to make it 2-0 when played in by Fleming but he dragged his shot wide when he should have done better.
He was almost made to pay a minute later when Clarke saw another long-range effort well-saved by Roche after the ball swerved viciously in the air.
Crawley manager Steve Evans brought on Scott Neilson and John Akinde for the second half and the change had an immediate effect when Neilson scored the leveller on 48 minutes from the edge of the area with a low drive through a crowd of players after Roche punched a Clarke corner clear.
Crawley then dominated and forced a succession of corners. Pablo Mills had a header blocked on the line, and moments later Roche held on to a Sanchez Watt effort. Clarke curled a left foot shot wide and Neilson saw a low shot deflected wide as Crawley produced attack after attack forcing Morecambe to defend valiantly.
The Shrimps had a late chance of their own when young substitute Jordan Burrow turned sharply in the box but saw his effort cleared off the line by former Morecambe man Dean Howell.
Crawley came back again but the Morecambe defence held firm and were rewarded with another brave point away from home.
Crawley: Gilmartin, Akpan (Simpson 76), Howell, Davies, McFadzean, Torres (Akinde 46), Mills, Bulman, Hawley (Neilson 46), Clarke, Watt. Subs not used: Kuipers, Batt.
Morecambe: Roche, Parrish, Fenton, McCready, Wilson, Hunter (Reid 84), Fleming, McDonald, Carlton, Price (Ellison 59), Alessandra (Burrow 64). Subs not used: Kettings, Drummond.
Booked: McCready, Burrow.
Referee: J Adcock.