Shrimps on a learning curve

Alex Whitmore was sent off last Saturday

Alex Whitmore was sent off last Saturday

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Morecambe manager Jim Bentley has called on his players to bounce back from defeat to Doncaster Rovers when they travel to Cambridge United tomorrow.

Twenty-four hours on from last Friday’s announcement that Bentley was August’s Manager of the Month for League Two, the Shrimps were humbled 5-1 by Rovers at the Globe Arena on Saturday.

They have to rally for the trip to Cambridge, who lie bottom of League Two without a victory in seven league games this season, though they hammered the Shrimps 7-0 as recently as April.

Bentley said: “It’s early days in the season. We have to make sure we have a good week this week and learn from it as individuals and a group.

“We will take it on the chin and try to remain positive and confident.

“We will win games and lose games this season – we’ve been on a good run so we have to put our energy into that next game.”

If the margin of defeat was not troubling enough for the manager, what especially angered him was the defending for Rovers’ goals.

Andy Butler was left unmarked for the opener, the Shrimps’ defence was cut open for John Marquis’ first of the day, poor defending accounted for goals three and four, while a failure to close down James Coppinger allowed Rovers’ captain to score from 20 yards.

“We had practiced defending set-plays but it comes down to individual things,” Bentley said.

“If I’m marking you from a corner then I’m making sure you don’t score goals.

“If you’re taught to clear your lines then clear your lines; get your boot behind it. That’s how the third came about.

“The fourth goal is one-on-one defending – the right-back can’t run from his own half.

“Doncaster are a good side and they played well so credit where credit is due but we haven’t helped ourselves in the manner in which we conceded the goals.”

Having trailed to the goals from Butler and Marquis, the Shrimps had given themselves a chance when Cole Stockton scored his third of the season.

However, they collapsed after the break, culminating in Alex Whitmore’s red card for a reckless lunge on Marquis.

Three days after his 21st birthday, it was an unwanted card for the on-loan Burnley defender.

It leaves Bentley facing a decision on who will partner Ryan Edwards for the next three matches.

He said: “Whitmore is suspended for the next couple of games so we will have to see what we have available.

“If we’re going to win a game of football then we have to do more than we did with the ball and defend better.

“I’m thankful it was only the five on the day because we were very poor defensively and offensively. We didn’t get into it as much as we wanted to.

“We got into a couple of decent areas but, again, there were lots of times when we made poor decisions and gave the ball away too easily.

“We took a body blow but we have to man-up for Saturday. It’s my team and my responsibility but they have to produce better than that.”