Harrogate Town 0 Morecambe 1: Quickfire goal consolidates Shrimps' play-off spot
Morecambe moved up to sixth in the League Two table after a first minute goal earned them victory over Harrogate Town.
Facing a team with one of the division’s best home records, Derek Adams’ side enjoyed a superb start with a goal after just 20 seconds.
Although they had to defend valiantly in the final stages after Nathaniel Knight-Percival was sent off, the Shrimps held on for a vital win.
There may have been some debate about who scored the goal as Carlos Mendes Gomes’ shot was deflected into his own net by Will Smith.
However, there was no debate about how important it proved to be in a game where both sides missed opportunities.
After their perfect start, the Shrimps wasted a number of good chances to extend their lead.
Cole Stockton volleyed over on eight minutes, John O’Sullivan was denied by an excellent James Belshaw save six minutes later and Mendes Gomes was unlucky to see the rebound hit the foot of the post.
The Shrimps had another good chance when Stockton ran onto Mendes Gomes’ excellent through ball, only to see Belshaw save again at full stretch.
Harrogate struggled to create any chances in the opening stages but ended the half on the front foot with Aaron Martin wasting two glorious opportunities to level the scores.
The first came on 31 minutes when he headed over Simon Power’s cross from close range before sending another effort wide on the stroke of half-time.
Morecambe started the second half on the front foot with Stockton failing to find Aaron Wildig when the midfielder was in a good position.
The game then saw both teams struggle to get the ball down on a difficult pitch.
Harry Davis headed over a Wildig free-kick before O’Sullivan somehow failed to turn a Mendes Gomes cross over the line from close range.
Two minutes later, the Shrimps lost Knight-Percival after he handled a long ball forward for a second yellow and the home side looked to take advantage of their extra man.
Harrogate threatened with a series of long throws from Dan Jones, which were dealt with well by keeper Kyle Letheren.
The patched-up Shrimps defence also held firm with some excellent blocks to keep out the home side.
Substitute Mark Beck came closest to equalising with a header that failed to find the target, while Connor Hall saw a goalbound effort cleared by the Shrimps, who hung on superbly for another important win to maintain their play-off push.
Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Smith, Hall, Jones, Thomson, Power, Falkingham, McPake (Kiernan 88), Martin (Beck 75), Muldoon. Subs not used: Burrell, Minter, Williams, Francis.
Morecambe: Letheren, Mellor, Knight-Percival, Davis, Gibson, Diagouraga, Kenyon, O’Sullivan, Wildig, Mendes-Gomes (McAlinden 82), Stockton (Cooney 79). Subs not used: Halstead, Pringle, Denny, Price.
Referee: Joshua Smith.
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