Morecambe 0 FC Halifax Town 0: FA Cup replay for the stuttering Shrimps

Morecamb'e Kevin Ellison could not conjure up a second-half winner
Morecamb'e Kevin Ellison could not conjure up a second-half winner

Morecambe face an FA Cup replay after labouring to a goalless draw against their National League visitors at the Globe Arena.

Jim Bentley’s players huffed and puffed throughout against a Shaymen side who thought they had won it, only for an offside flag to rule out Jonathan Edwards’ header in added time.

The Shrimps made one change to the side who got the better of Yeovil Town last weekend.

That came in the centre of defence with Steve Old replacing Josef Yarney and taking his place alongside Sam Lavelle.

They formed part of a Morecambe line-up which, generally, struggled to assert themselves.

Passes were either overhit or underhit, the final ball was lacking for the most part and, when they got into good positions, a Halifax player was there to make a last-ditch clearance.

Credit should go to the visitors though for Morecambe’s attacking woes were largely due to their pressure and closing down, forcing Bentley’s players into mistakes.

A low-key, subdued start set the tone for much of what was to come as both sides struggled in possession.

A-Jay Leitch-Smith had a 20-yard shot pushed over by visiting keeper Sam Johnson, who also made a low save to keep out Jordan Cranston’s long-range effort.

Sam Lavelle also headed off target and Johnson tipped over Vadaine Oliver’s looping header as Morecambe had the best of what few opportunities there were in the first half.

The second half was much more open and, with the visitors scenting victory, they came into the game more.

Matty Brown’s timely intervention sent Rhys Oates’ shot into the home fans before shots were blocked at both ends as the opening goal remained elusive.

The visitors carved out an excellent chance midway through the half when Cameron King did excellently to turn away from the Morecambe defence before laying the ball across to Niall Maher.

The build-up was better than the shot, however, as Maher could only shoot weakly at Mark Halstead from 18 yards.

Both sides rang the changes as the second half progressed with one of Morecambe’s replacements, Andrew Tutte, seeing a cross deflected onto the bar and away.

Another substitute, Kevin Ellison, curled a shot across the face of goal and behind, while Leitch-Smith’s ball in was headed narrowly wide of his own goal by Josh Staunton.

However, the visitors thought they had snatched it in the first of four added minutes.

Morecambe surrendered possession from their corner, allowing the visitors to break and, when the ball came in from the left, Edwards emphatically headed past Halstead.

Their celebrations were cut short though by an offside flag, and despite another three added minutes, both sides will meet again a week on Tuesday.

Morecambe: Halstead, Mills, Lavelle, Old, Conlan, Mandeville (Tutte 55), Wildig, Cranston (Oswell 80), Oates (Ellison 55), Leitch-Smith, Oliver. Subs not used: Szczepaniak, Kenyon, Yarney, Mendes Gomes.

FC Halifax Town: Johnson, Clarke, Brown, Skarz, Hanson, Staunton, King, Maher, Sellers, Southwell (Edwards 82), Odelusi (Preston 68). Subs not used: Rowley, McLeod.

Referee: Darren Drysdale.

Attendance: 1,736.