Shrimps settle for the point

Man of the match Barry Roche
Man of the match Barry Roche
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Morecambe picked up a battling point against fellow League Two pacesetters Cheltenham Town at the Globe Arena

Jim Bentley’s side struggled against the in-form Robins in a below-par first period.

But a much better second-half performance saw them end the game on top but fail to get the goal they needed to produce a fifth win of the season.

Cheltenham looked by far the sharper of the two sides in the opening half.

But they failed to turn pressure into goals largely thanks to some poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Barry Roche.

The Robins were the better side in the first half and created a host of chances.

The on-loan John Marquis almost handed his side a perfect start with his header from Jordan Wynter’s cross but Roche was on hand to make a comfortable save.

The Robins’ pressure continued in the early stages with both Steve Elliott and Matt Taylor rising high from corners to head over the bar.

One of the golden opportunities of the first half fell to Craig Braham-Barrett after being played through on goal by Marquis – but Roche was off his line quickly to deny the defender.

Marquis tested Roche again with a superb long-range volley that the keeper tipped over, before the same player slashed a shot horribly wide after another run and cross from the excellent Braham-Barrett.

The second half was a much more even affair as the play swung from end to end.

Kevin Ellison saw a shot on 52 minutes sail wide of the post, before a wicked deflection on a Wynter cross forced Roche to produce a fine tip over.

After the hour, Morecambe stepped up the pace with Jack Redshaw firing an effort shot just wide of the near post after a superb run. Then Jamie Devitt was unfortunate to see a right-wing strike float wide as they began to turn the screw.

Cheltenham had their own opportunity after 66 minutes with Matt Richards forcing another good save from Morecambe’s man of the match Roche, who pushed the ball wide of the post.

The Shrimps hit back again with Ellison forcing Trevor Carson into a fine save from a free-kick, before Shaun Beeley saw his run on goal ended by a poor second touch at just the wrong time.

With both sides searching for the win, Cheltenham had the final say when Jason Taylor stung the gloves of Roche in injury time with a long-range shot.

In the end, both sides had to settle for the 0-0 draw as they clinched the top two spots in League Two.

Morecambe: Roche, Beeley, Edwards, Parrish, Widdowson, Goodall, Wright (Mullin 58), Fleming (Kenyon 83), Devitt (Amond 81), Ellison, Redshaw. Subs not used: Arestidou, Sampson, Williams, Doyle.

Booked: Fleming

Cheltenham Town: Carson, Taylor, Brown, Elliott, Wynter, Braham-Barrett, Richards, Hanks (Sterling-James 80), Taylor, Harrison (Arthur 74), Marquis (Gornell 90). Subs not used: Haworth, Deaman, Black, Reynolds.

Booked: Marquis

Referee: Mark Heywood

Attendance: 2,273