Keeper Halstead shines as Morecambe debutant Collins earns victory at Port Vale

Shrimps keeper Mark Halstead (photo: Getty Images)
Shrimps keeper Mark Halstead (photo: Getty Images)

Port Vale 0 Morecambe 1

A stunning display from keeper Mark Halstead helped the Shrimps pick up a vital three points at fellow strugglers Port Vale.

The former Blackpool keeper made a string of superb first-half saves, including a penalty stop from Tom Pope, to give his side the platform to win for the first time in 2019.

In the end it was a 75th-minute Aaron Collins goal that sealed the three points as the debutant, signed this week from Wolves, slotted home a low cross from Richie Bennett.

The game itself started evenly. Port Vale’s Luke Joyce had a snap shot saved from inside the box, before Steven Old flicked a header wide at the other end.

Home striker Tom Pope, so often the scourge of the Morecambe defence, started the game on the hunt for his 100th goal for the club.

He was soon in the thick of things and went close on 12 minutes but headed straight at Halstead.

He was given the chance to reach the three-figure mark when Vale were given a soft penalty after Luke Hannant went down under the challenge of Old. But the prolific frontman saw his effort brilliantly saved by Halstead at full stretch.

Morecambe hit back with a chance of their own when Carlos Mendes-Gomes saw a shot from the edge of the box drift just wide of the post, before the same player forced Scott Brown into a smart diving save from a well struck shot just inside the area

Halstead then came to the fore as he kept the Valiants out single handedly.

He somehow stretch in mid air to tip away a looping Pope header before pulling out an even better stop to get down low and tip a James Gibbons’ curler wide. To add to the home side’s frustrations he then somehow blocked a close range Mark Harris header as the Shrimps remained level at the break.

Vale continued in the same fashion following the break but without causing Halstead too many problems.

The ever-dangerous Pope dragged an effort wide before Hannant skimmed the post from the edge of the box.

The Shrimps were still very much in the game and they shocked the home crowd with a well-worked goal.

Kevin Ellison found Bennett down the left and his cross was perfect for substitute Collins to slam the loose ball home to earn a much-needed three points.

Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Joyce, Kay (Conlon 78), Pope, Hannant, Rawlinson, Crookes, Smith, Harris (Whitfield 85), Clark (Montano 82). Subs (not used): Legge, Worrall, Hornby, Turner

Morecambe: Halstead, Mills, Conlan, Kenyon, Old, Bennett, Ellison (Manderville 87), Sutton, Mendes-Gomes (Collins 66), Mingoia, Cranston. Subs (not used): Roche, Dalby, McKay, Hedley, Price. Attendance: 4147 (141 Morecambe).