Morecambe's winning goal against Doncaster Rovers even stunned the Shrimps' manager

Stephen Robinson admitted he was taken aback by Toumani Diagouraga’s stunning strike which gave Morecambe a 4-3 win against Doncaster Rovers on Sunday.

Monday, 3rd January 2022, 12:30 pm

The Shrimps’ victory, their first in seven League One outings, lifted them out of the relegation places but they did it the hard way.

Having overturned a three-goal half-time deficit to pull level, Morecambe claimed victory thanks to the veteran’s first goal of the season.

A late corner was half-cleared to the edge of the box, where the 34-year-old lashed a shot past keeper Louis Jones.

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Toumani Diagouraga scores Morecambe's winning goal on Sunday

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Robinson said: “I didn’t have high hopes when he took his touch. I thought he was going to pass it to someone as he usually does!

“It’s a superb finish. Toums is what he is, he’s a quality footballer, he gives us ownership of the game with the ball.

“We tried games without him when we had more legs but we never passed the ball.

“I’d rather have someone that takes ownership of the game and passes the ball than people that don’t and he does give us that extra quality.

“It brings better out of Shane (McLoughlin), it brings better out of Alfie (McCalmont), Aaron (Wildig) and Phillo (Adam Phillips) when he’s fit again.

“I’m really pleased for him. He’s responded the right way when he wasn’t in the team as well, so it showed some of the younger boys how to react to getting dropped.”

It wasn’t just Diagouraga who impressed for the Shrimps during their second-half fightback.

Cole Stockton’s double gave him 18 goals from 27 appearances this season, Jon Obika was in the right place at the right time to stab home Morecambe’s equaliser, Shane McLoughlin was bright alongside Diagouraga and, despite the Shrimps conceding three times, skipper Anthony O’Connor was dominant in the air.

Robinson added: “You’ve seen what we were like without him (Stockton), we didn’t have a platform to play from.

“Shane McLoughlin, second half was back to his old self, Toums gives us a bit of ownership on the ball, Aaron Wildig made a difference when he came on as well.

“There were a lot of good performances. Ant O’Connor was outstanding, he’s carried the team a lot of the season.

“He’s had different partners, different people to play with, and he had a real captain’s performance.

“To a man, they’re to be admired. People think it’s easy to take stick and take criticism - it’s not but they responded brilliantly.

“Jonah (Ayunga) sometimes makes mistakes, Arthur (Gnahoua) makes mistakes, but when they give me the level of work rate, that’s all I ask.

“If people run for the ball and chase lost causes like Jonah did for the goal in the last game we played (defeat against Crewe Alexandra), that’s all you ask from players.

“People will make mistakes but I want boys that will run for the badge, die for the badge.

“Sometimes people play for the name on the back of the shirt instead of the badge on the front but I believe we’ve got a group of players that are now playing for the badge.”

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