Match report: Morecambe 4 Notts County 1
Three first-half goals ensured that Morecambe ended another trying week by making it one home defeat in four matches.
It was a day when everyone pulled together with players, coaching staff and supporters all doing their bit as the Shrimps made it seven points from 12.
Lee Molyneux, Paul Mullin, Michael Rose and Kevin Ellison did their bit on the pitch - but it was the supporters who truly stood out.
With Jim Bentley beginning the first of his two-match touchline ban, a bucket appeal from the club’s fans generated the £1,000 which Bentley had been ordered to pay after his midweek personal hearing.
They were repaid by one of the Shrimps’ best performances of the season which saw them climb the League Two table, putting more space between themselves and the bottom two.
While Ellison walked off with the man-of-the-match award, it could have gone to a number of candidates.
Ryan Edwards and Dean Winnard cleared crosses and blocked shots in the second half, Rose kept a cool head in midfield after Andy Fleming’s needless red card, while Mullin was tireless up front before his substitution.
His replacement, Luke Jordan, shone with a 13-minute cameo on his senior debut, culminating in an assist for Ellison’s injury-time strike.
County might have come into the game on the back of nine straight league defeats but would have probably taken heart from the hosts’ teamsheet.
Injuries to Rhys Turner and Aaron McGowan, coupled with the departures of loan trio Alex Whitmore, James Jennings and Ntumba Massanka, meant Bentley could only name a 15-man squad.
An end-to-end start saw the visitors win a corner within 20 seconds but it was Morecambe who struck the first blow on two minutes.
Molyneux cut in from the right-hand side and curled a left-footed effort across Scott Loach and inside his right-hand upright.
With the same player having another two efforts at goal, Morecambe should have had a penalty 10 minutes later but referee Carl Boyeson indicated a corner when Ellison’s header was handled.
Loach kept out a Mullin effort but was powerless to prevent the Shrimps from scoring twice in three minutes as the half-hour approached.
Mullin made it 2-0 on 27 minutes, finishing clinically after Loach could only push out Ellison’s cross.
Moments later and Mr Boyeson took his time before awarding a penalty when Mullin went down under Richard Duffy’s challenge.
Rose scored from the spot to make it 3-0 with the incoming fog looking like the only thing that could derail Bentley’s players.
That was until first-half added time when Fleming lunged into an ill-advised challenge and was given a straight red card.
Despite their numerical advantage in the second half, County struggled to convert it into clear scoring opportunities.
Substitute Jonathan Forte had a shot blocked midway through the half just before Barry Roche was called into his first serious stop to keep out Adam Campbell’s volley.
Roche also blocked Elliott Hewitt’s effort and held another Campbell shot before Forte pulled one back with nine minutes remaining, converting Jon Stead’s pass.
However, any lingering doubts among the home fans were put to bed in the first minute of added time.
Jordan’s pace and direct running caused no end of problems for the visiting defence, culminating in a shot which Loach tipped onto the woodwork, only for Ellison to fire home the loose ball.
Morecambe: Roche, Wakefield, Edwards, Winnard, Conlan (Murphy 87), Fleming, Rose, Molyneux, Wildig (Kenyon 69), Ellison, Mullin (Jordan 77). Sub not used: Nizic.
Notts County: Loach, Tootle (Aborah 46), Duffy, Hewitt, Dickinson, Osbourne (Forte 66), O’Connor, Thompson (Collins 76), Milsom, Campbell, Stead. Subs not used: Collin, Hollis, Richards, Audel.
Referee: Carl Boyeson.