Morecambe 1 Crewe Alexandra 1: Aaron Wildig’s goal gives 10-man Shrimps another point
Aaron Wildig’s second-half goal gave Morecambe a point as they shared the spoils in an entertaining game at the Globe Arena.
Having fallen behind to Perry Ng’s 47th-minute effort, the Shrimps ensured honours were even when Wildig scored the goal his attacking performance merited midway through the second half.
The Shrimps, however, ended the game with 10 men when Adam Phillips was sent off in stoppage time for a reckless challenge on Ng as Crewe broke but it was another point gained in Morecambe’s survival bid.
Shrimps’ boss Derek Adams had made one change from the side that drew at Carlisle United a week later.
As revealed in the build-up to the game, Cole Stockton’s shoulder injury gave A-Jay Leitch-Smith a first start since the New Year’s Day defeat at Bradford City.
Knowing a win would take them top of League Two, the visitors began sharply and could have led inside 90 seconds.
An early corner wasn’t cleared with the ball eventually reaching Charlie Kirk, who was allowed to cut inside but dragged his effort off target.
It set the tone for a fine opening half which saw both sides come close to breaking the deadlock.
The better opportunities came the way of the visitors with Steve Old’s desperate clearance thwarting Chris Porter, who also fired against the post from close range.
Old deflected another Porter effort behind, Oliver Finney sent a shot across the face of goal and Christoffer Mafoumbi tipped over Kirk’s attempt with half-time looming.
Not that Morecambe were shrinking violets in the first half with Wildig proving a threat from midfield.
He scooped one effort well over before seeing a header from Phillips’ cross well saved by Will Jaaskelainen.
The keeper again got the better of Wildig and pushed away Jordan Slew’s close-range shot to keep the teams on level terms.
That parity ended moments into the second half as the visitors began quickly again, this time capitalising with a goal.
An inswinging corner was allowed to drift to the far post, where the ball dropped invitingly for Ng to finish emphatically from inside the six-yard box.
Needing the points to put further daylight between themselves and bottom club Stevenage, the Shrimps sought a way back into proceedings.
Jordan Cranston shot over from 25 yards before Carlos Mendes-Gomes came within inches of scoring, holding off a defender before seeing his shot strike the bar.
Ng lashed a shot wildly off target before the Shrimps pulled level midway through the half.
Jaaskelainen failed to deal with a cross from the right-hand side, flapping at the ball, and Wildig was on hand for his third goal in four matches.
The goal sparked a response from the visitors, who should have retaken the lead twice in quick succession.
Stephen Walker became the third player to hit the woodwork when he ought to have scored before the same player got free again and slashed the ball wildly into the away fans.
Five minutes of added time saw Ryan Cooney fire wide from the edge of the area but the real drama came late on when the visitors broke from a Morecambe corner.
Phillips cynically took out Ng and was red-carded, though Crewe boss David Artell picked up a yellow for his protestations; a disappointing end to what had been a fine match.
Morecambe: Mafoumbi, Cooney, Old, Lavelle, Cranston, Wildig (Brewitt 85), Diagouraga, Phillips, Mendes-Gomes, Leitch-Smith (Bradbury 76), Slew (O’Sullivan 62). Subs not used: Halstead, Kenyon, Mbulu.
Crewe Alexandra: Jaaskelainen, Ng, Nottingham, Offord, Pickering, Jones, Wintle, Finney (Green 76), Walker, Porter (Anene 73), Kirk (Powell 82). Subs not used: Richards, Ainley, Hunt, Dale.
Referee: Graham Salisbury.