Match report: Morecambe 1 Stevenage 1

Kevin Ellison gave Morecambe the lead
Kevin Ellison gave Morecambe the lead
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Fraser Franks’ stunning late strike denied Morecambe just as Jim Bentley’s players looked set for a third consecutive victory.

The Shrimps had led thanks to Kevin Ellison’s 23rd minute strike before they were pegged back in emphatic fashion.

Stevenage had enjoyed much the better of the second half but looked unlikely to make it count until Franks volleyed past Barry Roche on 89 minutes.

Bentley had named an unchanged side from that which won at Grimsby Town seven days earlier while Stevenage, in contrast, made the trip north on the back of eight consecutive away league defeats.

With a playing surface that wasn’t exactly conducive to free-flowing football, it was the visitors who had the better opportunities of the opening 45 minutes but without seriously testing Roche.

Danny Newton fired wide inside 90 seconds, while Ben Wilmot and Dale Gorman also failed to find the target with opportunities.

Roche was called into action just past the 20-minute mark, routinely saving Joe Martin’s free-kick as the game began to settle down.

At the other end, Steve Old had seen a header kept out by Stevenage keeper Tom King before Ellison broke the deadlock on 23 minutes.

Luke Conlan drove into the visitors’ area and, when his shot was blocked by a defender, the loose ball fell to Ellison who finished clinically for his third goal in as many games.

Ben Kennedy and Matthew Godden again sent efforts off target for the visitors, the latter also hitting the upright, though the Shrimps could have doubled their lead with half-time approaching.

Ellison scuffed an effort at goal from the edge of the area, while a counter-attack ended with Vadaine Oliver losing the ball when well placed.

The second half continued in much the same manner with Stevenage having the bulk of the play but unable to make it count.

It seemed their best chance had come and gone when substitute Jamie Gray was played behind the Morecambe defence but saw his shot kept out by Roche.

Andy Fleming’s misplaced pass on the counter denied the Shrimps the chance of a second goal - and they were made to pay in emphatic fashion.

Centre-half Franks came on with eight minutes remaining and was pushed up front as a makeshift striker.

He justified that move, controlling a ball on his chest and then lashing an unstoppable volley beyond Roche from the edge of the area.

There was still time for Ellison to be denied a possible second by a poor touch, while a timely block thwarted Jack King’s shot as honours ended even.

Morecambe: Roche, Muller, Lavelle, Old, McGowan, Kenyon, Rose (Fleming 69), Conlan, Lang (Wildig 46), Oliver (McGurk 87), Ellison. Subs not used: Maher, Thompson, Campbell, Lund.

Stevenage: T King, Henry, Wilmot, J King, Martin, Kennedy, Smith (Franks 82), Gorman (Conlon 66), Pett, Newton (Gray 69), Godden. Subs not used: Fryer, Wilkinson, Vancooten, Georgiou.

Referee: Tom Nield.

Attendance: 1,268.