Adam Lord takes a closer look at Morecambe’s 5-2 defeat at home to Hartlepool on Saturday.
The most humbling defeat of the lot
Morecambe lost for the 22nd time this season on Saturday and there have been some pretty desperate afternoons during the 2015-2016 campaign. The defeat to Hartlepool might just have been the most miserable of the lot though. It all went wrong from the opening minutes with Morecambe having a mountain to climb after two early Pools goals. The most surprising thing of the afternoon was that it took Barry Roche’s red card and Luke James converting the resultant penalty to confirm the three points for Craig Hignett’s side 15 minutes from time. The sight of stand-in goalkeeper Alex Kenyon diving the wrong way just about summed up Morecambe’s afternoon, the midfielder called into action due to Kieran O’Hara’s injury in training on Friday having earlier reduced the arrears with a thumping finish in the first half. His goal, which gave The Shrimps some unlikely hope, was a fleeting high on a truly forgettable afternoon at the Globe Arena.
Difficult balancing act for Bentley
Make no bones about it, Jim Bentley is under more pressure than he’s ever been as Morecambe manager. A Wembley-winning captain and club legend, his crown has slipped increasingly over recent weeks. Between now and the end of the season he faces some tough decisions. There could be a big turnover of players, as big as seen during Bentley’s time in charge, as the club goes through a big period of uncertainty with the future ownership of the club unclear. With that in mind does Bentley stick with those who have starred this season, even if the futures of the likes of Shaun Miller and Jamie Devitt are unclear, or turn to the likes of Paul Mullin and Lee Molyneux who have been on the fringes but are under contract for next season? He’s tried both this week to mixed results. No matter what the futures of some may be, the way 2016 has gone results have to be the bottom line and they need to improve whoever gets the nod in the starting line up.
Stockton shows encouraging signs
It wasn’t a day where many Morecambe players covered themselves in glory but Cole Stockton did complete a decent seven days from the bench. Having scored in the win over Barnet and been a shining light on a forgettable night at Dagenham Stockton again showed signs there is certainly something to work with. A little raw, the Tranmere loanee got into good positions and with a couple of better decisions could have either got himself on the scoresheet or laid on a goal for a team mate. He will only get better with more game time between now and the end of the season.