Morecambe 2-1 Mansfield

Morecambe FC.
Morecambe FC.

Morecambe picked up their first win of 2015 as they got the better of an entertaining clash with Mansfield on Tuesday night.

Most of the action came in a frantic first period in front of the lowest Globe Arena crowd of the season as the Shrimps also ended a run of six games without a victory.

Goals from Paul Mullin, his fifth of the season, and Kevin Ellison, his ninth, saw the Shrimps race into a two-goal lead inside 25 minutes but the hosts were pegged back by a fine Simon Heslop free-kick almost immediately.

Mansfield dominated a quieter second period but couldn’t find an equaliser that would have brought a vital point in their battle against relegation.

Having gone behind inside the opening minute at Northampton, Morecambe had a chance of their own 34 seconds in, Mullin bringing a near post save from Lenny Pidgeley after Ellison had flicked on.

The two front men, in the side for Padraig Amond and Jack Redshaw, were in the thick of the action again shortly after.

Ellison comically lost his footing as the Shrimps countered but still managed to help the ball on to Mullin who shot straight at Pidgeley four minutes in.

In an open start it was the visitors who had the best chance on 10 minutes with Andreas Arestidou producing a fine save to stop Reggie Lambe converting Vadaine Oliver’s cross from close range.

At the other end Mullin then shot into the side netting on the stretch as the game entertained while lacking in real quality.

That soon changed as Alan Goodall’s fine 30-yard drive on 16 minutes was turned round the post by Pidgeley as the Newport loanee dived full stretch to his left.

The resultant corner brought the opening goal with Jamie Devitt pulling the ball back to Shaun Beeley who fired it into the danger area with Mullin completing a well-worked set piece routine by converting from close range.

The Shrimps doubled their lead on 24 minutes with Ellison capitalising on Mullin’s flick on to beat Michael Raynes’ diving challenge before composing himself and hammering home low to Pidgeley’s left.

But the hosts’ joy was shortlived with Heslop curling a free-kick beyond Arestidou from 22 yards two minutes later as the Shrimps ‘keeper took one step in the wrong direction and was beaten to his left.

The chances kept coming however in a frantic opening period with Laurence Wilson dragging a shot narrowly wide shortly before the half hour with Ellison then seeing a header saved from Beeley’s chipped cross.

The opening exchanges of the second half didn’t reach the heights of the first and were largely scrappy until Arestidou helped over Jamie McGuire’s whipped shot from 20 yards 10 minutes after the interval.

The struggling Stags had the better of things as the half progressed but struggled to turn their territory in to clear-cut chances, McGuire shooting wide from the edge of the area with 15 minutes to play.

The Shrimps were largely content to play on the counter and lived dangerously in the closing stages with the hosts thankful Junior Brown could only shoot straight at Arestidou when he found space in the area on 84 minutes.

Despite a poor second half Morecambe survived six minutes of added on time to record a welcome victory to move to within five points of the League 2 play-off places.

Morecambe: Arestidou, Edwards, Hughes (capt), Parrish, Beeley, Fleming (Kenyon 66), Goodall, Wilson, Devitt (Amond 77), Ellison, Mullin (Redshaw 66). Subs not used: Jones, Sampson, McGowan, Doyle.

Booked: Fleming

Mansfield: Pidgeley, Sutton, Raynes (Riley 71), Tafazolli, Beevers (Brown 46), McGuire, Heslop, Elder, Lambe, Oliver, Rhead (Fitzpatrick 46). Subs not used: Studer, Bingham, Thomas, Kee.

Booked: McGuire, Heslop

Referee: Darren Bond

Attendance: 1,156 (83 away)