Morecambe 1 Southend United 1: Shrimps miss out on top-three spot following home draw
Morecambe spurned the opportunity to climb into the League Two automatic promotion places after drawing with relegation-battling Southend United.
Derek Adams’ players could have gone into the top three with a victory at the Mazuma Stadium.
However, they were on course for a first league defeat to Southend when Timothee Dieng headed the visitors into a half-time lead.
They avoided that fate, though, when Cole Stockton’s second-half volley ensured the spoils were shared.
Adams had made two changes to the side beaten at Cambridge United on Good Friday.
Liam Gibson’s suspension meant a recall for Stephen Hendrie, while Alex Kenyon’s recovery from injury saw him start ahead of Ben Pringle.
The game began in scrappy fashion with both sides taking it in turns to surrender possession.
The visitors had the sole early efforts with Reeco Hackett-Fairchild and Nathan Ferguson sending optimistic efforts well off target.
However, they made no mistake when opening the scoring on 18 minutes.
After Jason Demetriou’s shot was blocked, the ball was worked wide to Elvis Bwomono and his cross was headed home by the unmarked Dieng.
Ferguson saw a free-kick held by Kyle Letheren as Southend looked the better side in the first 25 minutes.
Belatedly, the Shrimps woke up with Stockton seeing a volley blocked before working half a yard of space for himself but finding the side netting.
A quick short corner was cleared with Kenyon waiting to convert Carlos Mendes Gomes’ cross before Stockton turned and fired wide from the edge of the area.
Harry Davis headed over from Kelvin Mellor’s ball over the top but, for all Morecambe’s possession and attacking endeavour, genuine chances proved hard to come by before half-time.
Stockton saw a shot fumbled by Mark Oxley with Toumani Diagouraga unable to convert the loose ball before the equaliser came on 56 minutes.
Stockton found Kelvin Mellor on the right flank, and when his cross was deflected into the striker’s path, his volley left Oxley rooted to the spot.
Aaron Wildig and John O’Sullivan sent further efforts off target as the Shrimps began to scent three points.
Nevertheless, Letheren was called into action once again, keeping out a fierce effort from Dieng as the visitors’ attacks became increasingly sporadic.
The Shrimps, however, were unable to test Oxley despite remaining on the front foot.
Hendrie lashed a free-kick over, Sam Lavelle headed wide and Stockton saw a volley deflected behind going into the final quarter-hour.
Hackett-Fairchild and substitute Emile Acquah saw shots blocked for the visitors, and though the Shrimps huffed and puffed, they had to settle for a point.
Morecambe: Letheren, Mellor, Lavelle, Davis, Hendrie, Diagouraga, Kenyon, O’Sullivan, Wildig, Mendes Gomes, Stockton. Subs not used: Halstead, Knight-Percival, Lyons, Pringle, McAlinden, Cooney, Price.
Southend United: Oxley, Bwomono, Hobson, Cordner, Clifford, Demetriou (Taylor 74), Dieng, Ferguson, Hackett-Fairchild, Halford (Acquah 74), Nathaniel-George (Holmes 59). Subs not used: Seaden, Goodship, Egbri, Kyprianou.
Referee: Scott Oldham.
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