Morecambe 0 Sunderland 1: Bentley bemoans visitors’ late winner

Morecambe's Garry Thompson managed 76 minutes on his return from injury
Morecambe's Garry Thompson managed 76 minutes on his return from injury

Jim Bentley again reiterated the need for his players to be smarter following Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy loss against Sunderland.

Morecambe had seemed set for a penalty shootout at the Globe Arena with the game goalless and the match entering added time.

However, they lost possession sloppily inside their opponents’ half, allowing them to advance upfield with Josh Maja expertly finding the net for the winning goal.

It is not the first time that the Shrimps have conceded late goals this season, most notably turning a potential draw into defeat against Tranmere Rovers and what looked like being a win into a point at Cheltenham Town.

Little wonder then that Bentley was irritated by the manner of Tuesday’s defeat, especially as a Morecambe side with only four starters from the weekend had competed well against Sunderland; albeit a visiting team with 11 changes.

He said: “It’s frustrating and we’ve got to learn – and learn quickly – with the number of late goals we’re giving away.

“It isn’t just at the end but it’s also at the end of each half, going right back to the start of the season.

“At Cheltenham, it goes up to big Vadaine Oliver and, if he puts it out of the ground, we win the game – and it’s exactly the same against Sunderland.

“Jordan Cranston, to be fair, has been excellent since he went into midfield but he gambled and came into the middle when there’s nothing wrong with putting it in the channel.

“We were vulnerable, there were three or four bodies in there, we took a heavy touch and bang, it’s a goal.

“Overall, the performance was OK because we’d made a lot of changes and it was a good opportunity for the players and for us to have a look at them.

“(Zak) Mills was out, Oldy (Steve Old) has come back, (Aaron) Wildig has a problem, Vadaine has a problem, (A-Jay) Leitch-Smith has a problem, so we have to make sure we do what’s right by the players.

“We’ve hit the post, had one cleared off the line, had a couple of little bits, while Mark Halstead pulled off a couple of saves.

“A fair result was probably 0-0 but we’re turning over too many games at critical times.

“We keep mentioning game management and that’s where we should have put it in the channel; you have to get to 90 minutes and make sure you don’t lose the game.”