SHRIMPS END HATTERS RUN
JIM Bentley saluted Morecambe’s battling qualities after they stunned promotion-chasing Luton Town at Kenilworth Road, inflicting the Hatters’ first home league defeat since September.
The visitors had thrown away a 2-0 lead and then been reduced to ten men in the 80th minute when Ryan Edwards was dismissed, only to snatch victory as Luke Wilkinson diverted Kevin Ellison's cross into his own net.
Shrimps boss Jim Bentley said: “What a fantastic game of football, both sets of players have given it their all, but fortunately we had that little bit of luck at the end with the own goal.
“Kev's in there claiming it as he will do, but what a great result for us against one of the biggest sides at this level and a very tough place to come.
“Overall the lads were absolutely fantastic. We needed that little bit of luck, certain things went against us, but we got that at the end, then really dug in, showed our battling qualities away from home and got the three points, which is fantastic at a very difficult place to come.”
The visitors had started much the stronger as Jack Redshaw fired at Elliot Justham, with the Hatters keeper also having to claim Andrew Wright's header.
Morecambe were deservedly ahead on 18 minutes though when Redshaw danced past his man in the area, and struck across Justham into the bottom corner.
The Shrimps had a second after 29 minutes when Laurence Wilson unleashed a marvellous half volley from outside the box.
However, Luton supporters and defenders were up in arms with the officials, claiming Redshaw had been offside in the build-up.
It should have been 3-0 when Redshaw set off on another mazy run, but fired straight at Justham.
Luton were back in the game when Michael Harriman's right wing cross was powered home by Cameron McGeehan.
In the second period, Alex Lawless saw his shot deflect inches wide, while McGeehan was narrowly off target and Shaun Whalley shot straight at Andreas Arestidou.
Town’s Elliot Lee then hit the post with a header, Wilkinson firing the rebound over, but the Hatters were level when Steve McNulty looped against the bar and Lawless drove the ball beyond Arestidou.
Edwards was given his marching order for picking up second yellow after cleaning out McGeehan, while Lawless was denied by a combination of Arestidou and woodwork. But the Shrimps won it as Wilkinson stuck a boot out when Ellison escaped his markers, giving Justham no chance.
Hatters coach Hakan Hayrettin said: “It was topsy turvy. Second half we were fantastic, we pressed and we pushed, but it didn't happen.
“Let’s not take anything away from Morecambe, they're a hardworking team. They deserved to be in front, but we focused all our energies on making sure we got back in the game.
“We did second half and that's what we're capable of, but the keeper's made a great save when it could have been 3-2 to us and they've scored up the other end.”
STAR MAN JACK REDSH
mbe GROUNDED: Despair for Luke Wilkinson, left, after his late own goal Inset: Lawless is mobbed after making it 2-2