Roche heroics not enough to stop rot

Barry Roche saved two spot-kicks at Stevenage
Barry Roche saved two spot-kicks at Stevenage
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Stevenage 4 Morecambe 3

Morecambe produced another shocking defensive performance as they went down to Teddy Sheringham’s Stevenage in a seven-goal thriller at the Lamex Stadium.

Jim Bentley’s side conceded four for the third time in four games but it could have been much worse, had it not been for two penalty saves from Shrimps’ keeper Barry Roche.

Stevenage started well and put Morecambe under huge pressure, with Fleetwood Town loanee Jamille Matt, making his first home start, teeing up Tom Pett inside the box.

His excellent left-footed strike was brilliantly tipped around the post by Morecambe keeper Roche.

But from the subsequent flag-kick, Stevenage took the lead on seven minutes.

Michael Tonge’s corner from the right went to the far post and Dean Wells was on hand to smash the ball towards the top-left corner from 10 yards out.

Morecambe equalised with their first real attack on 13 minutes.

Kevin Ellison’s first shot was blocked but he lashed home the rebound from the edge of the box with a stunning right-foot volley.

The Shrimps’ comeback was short lived, however.

Stevenage won their first penalty on 19 minutes when Ben Kennedy was upended by Andy Parrish but the same Boro player’s spot-kick was well saved by Roche.

The Shrimps keeper was beaten a minute later when Chris Whelpdale opened his account for the day, cutting inside, before delivering a fantastic strike low into the bottom right-hand corner, giving Roche no chance.

Stevenage dominated the rest of the half and were awarded another penalty on the stroke of half-time when Alan Goodall brought down Pett inside the box.

But Whelpdale’s effort was also blocked by the Morecambe keeper. Whelpdale made amends for his spot-kick miss with another spectacular strike to make it 3-1 four minutes after half-time.

He was again allowed to cut inside from the right and execute a wonderful curling strike, which flew past Roche and into the right-hand side of the net from 25 yards.

On 61 minutes, Whelpdale completed his hat-trick.

Kennedy’s deep cross from the left should have been cleared by Laurence Wilson at the far post but he missed his kick and Whelpdale scored from close range to settle the match ball.

To their credit Morecambe battled to the death and scored two late goals.

On 82 minutes, the referee gave his third penalty of the match when former Shrimps’ skipper Mark Hughes fouled Ellison.

And substitute Paul Mullin made no mistake.

Ellison then scored a fine third in the 93rd minute, 
with a superb volley after a neat lay off from Ryan Edwards.

But it was too little too late for the faltering Shrimps.

STEVENAGE: Day, Henry, Franks (Hughes 76), Wells, Ogilvie, Tonge, Cox, Whelpdale (Lee 80), Pett, Kennedy, Matt. Subs (not used): Crowe, McCombe, Gnanduillet, Gorman, Conlon.

Booked: Pett.

Morecambe: Roche, Beeley, Edwards, Barkhuizen, Molyneux (Mullin 46), Ellison, Goodall (Murphy 46), Wildig, Miller (Forrester 73), Wilson, Parrish. Subs (not used): Thompson, Dugdale, Devitt, Doyle.

Booked: Goodall, Beeley, Murphy.

Referee: L Collins

Attendance: 2,415