Late Ipswich Town strike wrecked what looked like a dream opening day for Morecambe
Ipswich Town 2 Morecambe 2A 91st-minute goal from Ipswich substitute Macaulay Bonne denied the Shrimps a historic opening day League 1 victory at Portman Road.
Two goals from Cole Stockton looked set to give the Shrimps a sensational three points in their first ever game at this level, only for Bonne to break Morecambe’s hearts with a well-taken injury-time strike.
New Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson named six debutants in his first starting XI and they produced a fine performance to frustrate their bigpspending opponents, who themselves saw eight players making their first start for a club hotly tipped for success this season.
Ipswich were the first to threaten with skipper Lee Evans curling a 25-yard free-kick narrowly wide before summer signing Joe Pigott went close, with a flicked header from Scott Fraser’s right-wing corner shaving the crossbar.
Morecambe looked a threat themselves when they went forward and shocked the 21,037 crowd with the opening goal on 22 minutes. The Shrimps’ high pressing forced Kane Vincent-Young into an error and Stockton took full advantage with a superb individual goal.
He weaved past three Ipswich defenders before slotting the ball past Vaclav Hladky from a tight angle.
Ipswich hit back with Toto Nsiala heading just wide from a corner before the ever dangerous Stockton saw a shot from the edge of the box well blocked by a Town defender.
Left-back Matt Penney went close again for Ipswich with a left-foot shot into the side netting as Paul Cook’s side pushed for a leveller before the break.
Ipswich stepped up the pace after the break with Pigott producing a fine effort that Kyle Letheren did well to tip wide.
Vincent-Young then went close with a shot that was well blocked by Liam Gibson at full stretch.
Ipswich’s pressure paid off when they levelled just after the hour when Fraser exchanged passes neatly with Connor Chaplin in the box before firing past Letheren.
The goal raised the noise among the home faithful but they were quietened again on 71 minutes when Stockton scored his second.
Ipswich defender Luke Woolfenden was robbed of possession by Stockton, who kept his cool to skip past Hladky before slotting the ball into the empty net.
Ipswich showed the full strength of their squad by bringing on established goalscorers Bonne and James Norwood.
And it proved to be a good move as the pair combined to earn a share of the spoils with a last-gasp goal.
Norwood flicked on a long clearance and Bonne got the wrong side of Sam Lavelle to create an opening which he took full advantage of to deny the Shrimps a famous win..
Ipswich: Hladky, Penney, Nsiala (Donacien 40), Woolfenden, Vincent-Young, Evans, Fraser, Harper, Burns, Pigott (Norwood 78), Chaplin (Bonne 78). Subs (not used): Holy, Barry, Dobra, El Mizouni.
Morecambe: Letheren, Cooney, O’Connor, Delaney (Lavelle 31). Gibson, Diagouraga, McCalmont, McLoughlin, Gnahoua (Leigh 76), McDonald (Ayunga 71), Stockton. Subs (not used): Andresson, Price, Mellor, Jones.
Referee: C Hicks.