Morecambe captain has the happiest of birthdays

Morecambe captain Sam Lavelle   Picture: Getty ImagesMorecambe captain Sam Lavelle   Picture: Getty Images
Morecambe captain Sam Lavelle Picture: Getty Images
Morecambe skipper Sam Lavelle enjoyed the ideal birthday present when they made it three wins from four against Port Vale.

The Shrimps’ centre-half turned 24 years of age last weekend and marked it with a clean sheet in helping them to a 1-0 victory over the Valiants.

Now in his fourth season at the club, the former Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers youngster has made more than 100 league and cup appearances so far.

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Most of those matches have been spent at the wrong end of League Two but the win against Vale lifted Morecambe to second place in the early table for this season.

“It feels a bit different this year,” Lavelle acknowledged.

“It makes a nice change to start off so well, there’s no reason we can’t carry it on.

“Last year and the year before, we’ve been losing the first two or three games so just to start well is massive for us.”

Last Saturday’s heavy rain and strong wind meant the victory over Vale was never going to be a game for the purist.

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Nevertheless, Morecambe stood firm and managed to frustrate their visitors before sealing victory with Adam Phillips’ second-half penalty.

The clean sheet was just as pleasing given the Shrimps had shipped 12 goals in their two previous outings at the Mazuma Stadium against Cambridge United and Newcastle United.

Lavelle admitted: “I thought it was a very scrappy – a very League Two-like – game in the end, but it’s encouraging to come out the other side with a win.

“I think, last season, we probably would have rolled over and got beaten.

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“We were solid. It was a scrappy game, not the best to watch for a neutral, but we’ll take the 1-0, especially in these conditions.

“Clean sheets, especially with a team like Morecambe, are hard to get in League Two.

“We don’t get many, so to keep one today is great. We were due one after a few weeks so, from a defensive point of view, really happy, and we’re always going to create chances going forward.”

Phillips proved the matchwinner with his third goal in four league outings and his fourth of the season.

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While the Burnley loanee has stepped up to the mark in the early stages of the campaign, there isn’t any chance of his team-mates allowing him to get carried away.

Lavelle explained: “He will always get you a chance or a goal.

“He won’t mind me saying this, he gives it away a few times during the game but you can’t really have a go at him too much because you know he’s got something special in his locker.

“I always wind him up about making a mistake. I don’t quite get a nibble out of him but I know what quality he’s got going forward.”

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Lavelle has been absent from the starting XI on a couple of occasions so far this season with Harry Davis and Nat Knight-Percival providing other options in defence.

Despite rotating his squad, Morecambe manager Derek Adams believes Lavelle is continuing to develop well.

He said: “Sam is maturing all the time. He’s still a young boy, he’s got good experience around him in the team with Harry Davis, and he is always communicating and doing well.”