Morecambe 2 Salford City 2: Barry Roche’s late penalty save hands the Shrimps another point

Morecambe skipper Barry Roche
Morecambe skipper Barry Roche

Shrimps’ skipper Barry Roche went from zero to hero with a late penalty save as a breathless finale ended with honours even at the Globe Arena.

Having been badly at fault for the goal which cancelled out Morecambe’s second-half lead, Roche denied Richie Towell from 12 yards as Jim Bentley’s players faced a third home loss in four matches.

It was a suitably eventful finish to a game which saw two missed spot-kicks, contentious refereeing and some good football from both sides.

Having lost at Blackpool in their midweek EFL Trophy encounter, the Shrimps reverted back to the starting XI from the league loss at Swindon Town a week ago.

A hectic start set the precedent with time on the ball at a premium as both teams hustled and harried each other in the opening stages.

Salford’s principal threat came via Danny Lloyd, who should have had a first-half hat-trick.

He fired Dan Jones’ cross straight at Roche on nine minutes, only to open the scoring six minutes later with a low finish.

Roche also held Adam Rooney’s effort and Jake Jervis shot off target before the visitors had a golden chance to double their lead on 31 minutes.

Carl Piergianni headed a corner at goal and, despite the absence of appeals or protests from both sides, referee Josh Smith gave the Ammies a penalty for an apparent handball.

Up stopped Lloyd, and though he sent Roche the wrong way, his penalty crashed off the top of the bar and away to safety.

Morecambe’s attacks were more fleeting in contrast, though George Tanner saw a shot pushed behind by Kyle Letheren, while Lewis Alessandra and Shaun Miller both failed to test the keeper.

That changed early in the second half when two goals in three minutes handed the lead to the Shrimps.

Three minutes after the break and a fine team move ended with Miller being played through to slip home the equaliser

With Salford reeling, it was advantage Morecambe on 50 minutes when Alessandra netted at the second attempt after Letheren kept out his initial effort.

Back came the visitors with Roche thwarting Jervis and Rooney before he gifted Salford their leveller midway through the half.

Lloyd curled in a free-kick from deep and, as the ball dropped from out of the sun, Roche could only fumble it into the net.

To their credit, Morecambe’s heads did not drop with Letheren holding Sam Lavelle’s effort, while Andrew Tutte and John O’Sullivan were off target.

However, it was Salford who had the best chance three minutes from time when the official deemed that Adam Buxton had barged into Lloyd.

It appeared a generous decision but, with Towell on penalty duties this time, Roche dived low to his right to preserve parity.

He was not done there, however, as he used his legs to deny Devante Rodney, who also fired wide before five minutes’ added time ended with the teams level.

Morecambe: Roche, Sutton, Lavelle, Old, Tanner, Tutte, Wildig (Cranston 81), Conlan (Buxton 72), O’Sullivan, Miller, Alessandra (Ellison 84). Subs not used: Halstead, Stockton, Oates, Brownsword.

Salford City: Letheren, Wiseman, Baldwin, Piergianni, D Jones, Maynard, Towell (Hughes 88), Jervis, Dieseruvwe (J Jones 76), Lloyd, Rooney (Rodney 76). Subs not used: McFarlane, Burgess, Beesley.

Referee: Josh Smith.

Attendance: 2,778.