Morecambe 3 Accrington Stanley 3: Striker's double secures 10-man Shrimps a point
Cole Stockton’s late goal rescued a point for Morecambe after they looked set for a third straight home defeat in all competitions.
The striker’s 81st minute effort ensured honours were even at the Mazuma Stadium following another breathless encounter.
Both sides shared four goals in a 13-minute spell during the first half before the Shrimps saw midfielder Shane McLoughlin red-carded with the interval seven minutes away.
Colby Bishop’s goal then looked to have put Stanley in charge as they led with a quarter of the game to go, only for Stockton to hand Morecambe a point.
Shrimps boss Stephen Robinson made two changes from the side which won at Crewe Alexandra in midweek.
Both were in the full-back positions with Ryan Cooney suspended and Greg Leigh absent because of a hamstring problem.
In came Ryan McLaughlin for his first league start at right-back, while Liam Gibson returned on the opposite flank.
It was the visitors who had the better of the early play, seemingly targeting the Morecambe left-hand side as an area to exploit.
Mathew Butcher scuffed an early effort at goal before John O’Sullivan hustled Gibson into an error with Bishop seeing his resulting shot cleared by Scott Wootton.
The Shrimps began to grow into the game and capped their improvement with the opening goal on 15 minutes.
Adam Phillips’ wonderful through ball cut out Accrington defenders Ross Sykes and Michael Nottingham, allowing Stockton a clear run on goal, and he made no mistake with a clinical finish.
Stanley were level within three minutes as Gibson’s nervy start was capped by a foul on Lewis Mansell.
Referee Neil Hair belatedly pointed to the spot and Bishop fired past Kyle Letheren to level the scores.
Two minutes later and Stanley were ahead as Butcher spun away from his man before advancing and curling a shot past Letheren from the edge of the area.
Goal number four arrived on 27 minutes when Morecambe drew level as Arthur Gnahoua beat his man before crossing for Phillips to level with a near post volley.
However, they were reduced to 10 men 11 minutes later when McLoughlin brought down Ethan Hamilton and, much to the midfielder’s surprise, it was deemed worthy of a straight red card.
There was still time before the break for Bishop and O’Sullivan to send efforts off target as Stanley sought to capitalise upon their numerical advantage.
Stockton put an early second-half effort across the face of the visitors’ goal and wide before the half settled into a pattern of Accrington having possession and trying to break through the Shrimps’ backline.
Mansell sent an early header off target before Butcher’s weak volley was comfortably held by Letheren.
O’Sullivan headed off target and Anthony O’Connor blocked another Butcher effort before Stanley retook the lead midway through the half.
Sean McConville’s shot hit a Morecambe defender and ricocheted nicely for Bishop to score from close range.
O’Sullivan flashed another effort wide of goal and was made to pay moments later when the Shrimps levelled again as Stockton lashed home his second.
Both sides had opportunities to grab a winner, Josh McPake firing over for Morecambe and Letheren gathering Nottingham’s bouncing header at the other end.
Four minutes of injury time came and went without further chances as both teams were left with a point apiece.
Morecambe: Letheren, McLaughlin, O’Connor, Wootton, Gibson, McLoughlin, Diagouraga, Phillips (McPake 78), McDonald (McCalmont 40), Stockton, Gnahoua (Ayunga 59). Subs not used: Andresson, Jones, Delaney, Mensah.
Accrington Stanley: Trafford, Sykes, Nottingham, Sherring, O’Sullivan, Conneely (Leigh 78), Butcher, Hamilton (Nolan 63), McConville, Bishop, Mansell (Pell 63). Subs not used: Savin, Clark, Amankwah, Malcolm.
Referee: Neil Hair.
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