Barry Roche saved a penalty as Morecambe put in a resolute defensive display to pick up a point at Oxford United on Saturday.
The Shrimps were on the back foot for large periods, especially in the second half, with Roche keeping out Kemar Roofe’s poor spot kick as the hosts squandered their best chance with a quarter of the game to go.
It was a low-key opening at the Kassam Stadium with chances few and far between.
Adam Dugdale was on hand to block Danny Hylton’s shot for the hosts after Callum O’Dowda had broken at pace down the left 20 minutes in.
The Shrimps came within a whisker of the opener on 28 minutes but Kevin Ellison saw his flicked header from an Aaron Wildig cross come back off the crossbar with Sam Slocombe beaten.
There were only fleeting signs of life from either side going forwards however, Tom Barkhuizen stabbing a shot wide with the outside of his right foot.
At the other end The Shrimps allowed Roofe to shoot from 20 yards five minutes before the break but Roche was on hand to help his effort round the post in their first encounter of the afternoon.
Oxford were increasingly looking the more likely to break the deadlock with Roche beating away Hylton’s shot before on the stroke of half-time the hosts saw a strong penalty appeal waved away after Ellison appeared to handle in the area.
The pattern of play continued into the second period with The Shrimps on the back foot.
Dugdale was relieved to see a sliced clearance land on the top of Roche’s net before The Shrimps stopper saved Roofe’s drilled effort with his legs.
The pressure was building and Oxford were given a golden chance to take the lead on 65 minutes.
Roofe beat Aaron McGowan down the right and burst into the area where he was upended by Shaun Beeley. The former West Brom youngster stepped up to take it but saw his weak effort saved low to his left by Roche.
The Shrimps had the game’s next chance despite Oxford being on the front foot, Jamie Devitt whipping a 20-yard free-kick narrowly wide with 10 minutes to play.
But neither side could find a winner with Morecambe more than satisfied with a point.
Oxford United: Slocombe, Baldock, Mullins, Wright (capt), Skarz, Rose (Taylor 82), Sercombe, Lundstram, O’Dowda, Hylton (Hoban 67), Roofe. Subs not used: Buchel, Dunkley, Ruffels, MacDonald, Roberts.
Booked: Mullins, Taylor. .
Morecambe: Roche, Beeley (capt), Dugdale, Edwards, Wilson (McGowan 45), Goodall, Fleming, Barkhuizen (Devitt 77), Wildig, Molyneux (Mullin 62), Ellison. Subs not used: O’Hara, Kenyon, Miller, Parrish.
Booked: Beeley, Dugdale
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 5,273 (89 away)
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