Cheltenham Town 2 Morecambe 1: Shrimps pay the price for their mistakes

Mistakes proved costly as Morecambe went down to defeat against Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road.

By Derek Quinn
Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 10:02 am
A-Jay Leitch-Smith scored for Morecambe
A-Jay Leitch-Smith scored for Morecambe

The Shrimps once again matched a team from higher up the League Two table but were undone by two quickfire first-half goals, both coming from poor mistakes.

Despite a dominant second-half performance, they could only pull one goal back through A-Jay Leitch-Smith despite the same player hitting the crossbar, Sam Lavelle heading against a post and Cole Stockton seeing a late shot cleared off the line.

Derek Adams was forced into one change from the side that beat Walsall with Christian Mbulu making his debut at right-back in place of the injured Ryan Cooney.

Morecambe started the game on the front foot with Stockton drilling a shot inches over the bar from the edge of the area before Jordan Cranston sent a shot from distance just wide.

Cheltenham always looked neat and pushed forward but were kept quiet until they were gifted a penalty on 32 minutes.

The ball bounced inside the Morecambe box but Cranston misjudged his attempted clearance and felled Luke Varney for a clear spot-kick.

Unfortunately for the Shrimps, Christoffer Mafoumbi was unable to repeat his penalty heroics from the win at Walsall as Conor Thomas sent him the wrong way from the spot.

The Shrimps had claims for a penalty of their own a minute later when Carlos Mendes-Gomes went down in the box.

Seconds later, however, they were 2-0 down as the home side took advantage of another mistake.

Toumani Diagouraga played a loose pass in midfield as Alfie May ran onto the ball and fired a perfectly-placed shot past Mafoumbi.

Cheltenham looked for a third before the break with Varney heading off target from eight yards when he should have done better and Max Sheaf shooting wide from 25 yards.

The Shrimps came out strongly in the second half with Adam Phillips firing over from a tight angle.

The same player then delivered a superb cross that just needed a touch from a Morecambe player.

But, as the Shrimps pushed forward, they were almost undone on the break with the speedy May hitting the post from the edge of the area and shooting across goal when he had a good opening.

After that let-off the Shrimps then took charge.

Lavelle headed a Phillips corner against a post before Leitch-Smith scored six minutes from time to set up a frantic finale.

Phillips was again the provider with a neat through ball and Leitch-Smith produced a clinical finish to beat Owen Evans.

Leitch-Smith then hit the crossbar with an overhead kick and Stockton’s shot was cleared off the line by Ben Tozer as the Shrimps’ hopes of a comeback were dashed by a desperate home defence.

Cheltenham Town: Evans, Long, Tozer, Raglan, Hussey, Thomas (Broom 48), Sheaf (Ince 66), Doyle-Hayes, Greaves, Varney (Nichols 66), May. Subs not used: Lapworth, Boyle, Addai, Debayo.

Morecambe: Mafoumbi, Mbulu, Old, Lavelle, Cranston, Diagouraga (Leitch-Smith 64), Phillips, Slew (Kenyon 55), Wildig, Mendes-Gomes (Bradbury 82), Stockton. Subs not used: Halstead, Conlan, Brewitt.

Referee: David Rock.

Attendance: 3,044.