Shrimps boss Bentley explains changes to starting line-up
Morecambe manager Jim Bentley has explained why he made changes to the team that beat Cambridge United 3-0 last Saturday.
The Shrimps were back in action on Boxing Day, and were beaten 3-1 at Prenton Park after the Morecambe boss made four changes to the starting line-up.
Bentley said: "We went down a different route against Cambridge.
"We finished the Lincoln game with Oswell and Oliver up front, looked at where we can maybe hurt Cambridge and that was the route that we went down.
"We worked all week on getting the ball in the box and keep encouraging the lads all the time getting shots off and on that particular day we had more shots than anyone in the country.
"I think there was only Plymouth who had more shots than us, 24 shots, nine on target, plenty of crosses into the box, scored from two of them.
"First half there was no much in it, thought we looked a bit more threatening.
"They had the best chance through a mistake when, unfortunately, Sam Lavelle fell over but second half I thought we were superb.
"We were camped in their half and the opportunities, chances, got the three goals and it could have been even more.
"It was a worthy win, thoroughly deserved, and really pleasing.
"You take that momentum, that confidence from such as good home win into the Boxing Day game against Tranmere, who are a different proposition altogether to Cambridge at home.
"No disrespect, but Cambridge are down the wrong end with us and Tranmere are a top ten side who've got a good cup game coming up and all the momentum from last season.
"It's a difficult place to go, they've only conceded five goals at home before we've played them, but we went with a game plan.
"We made a few changes which you've got to do at this stage of the season.
"You do it for the right reasons.
"(Zak) Mills has arguably been one of our best players this season, we've done right by him to get him back up to speed since his hernia operation.
"(A-Jay) Leitch-Smith, obviously top scorer, Mandeville did excellent against Cambridge when he came on, and (Andrew) Tutte came on and scored a goal and obviously he's got the bit between his teeth.
"Where you can't play them in every game, certainly the likes of Tutte and Mills at the minute, we thought this was the particular game to make a couple of changes to freshen us up to go out and get at Tranmere and hopefully get a result.
"As it was, I thought our football was good at times without really creating too many clear cut opportunities.
"We got into some good areas but just lacked that end product or that decision making and at the other end we didn't defend as well as we can do.
"We looked a little bit shaky.
"The first goal had an element of luck the way it ricocheted to Cole Stockton and he took it early, three minutes in, we know Cole's got a great right foot and he slams it in the back of the net which obviously gives the home side a boost, the crowd get behind them.
"And then I think had a large spell where we were camped in their half and then suddenly they get in down our right.
"We don't stop the cross, we don't clear it in the middle, it falls to the league's top scorer and you know that he's going to hit the back of the net and that's what he does (Craig) Norwood.
"That's been his season so far, that was his 18th goal.
"So we found ourselves 2-0 down, it was a disappointing one for me, we kept plugging away, we had one or two little opportunities.
"Scott Davies made a good save from a header from a set play, he's dropped one where it looked like Vadaine (Oliver) hadn't fouled him, we had one or two other good moves, balls flashed across the box.
"And then, in the 44th minute, a criminal time to concede in a game but certainly when you are 2-0 down away from home at one of the top sides.
"So we find ourselves 3-0 (down) and then second half, obviously we got after them and they could have scored a couple more, we could have scored a couple more than what we did.
"We won the second half, fantastic goal from Jordan Cranston, but in two games it just shows what football's all about.