BENTLEY: CUT OUT ERRORS
MORECAMBE boss Jim Bentley pointed the finger at his defenders after his side slumped to a third consecutive home defeat against Bristol Rovers at the Globe Arena.
The hosts repeatedly pegged back the visitors with Rovers left hanging on after Paul Mullin’s late penalty ensured a thrilling finish to a game full of goal mouth action.
“We are the league’s top scorers but we’re the worst defensively so it’s not rocket science to work out where we need improvement,” said Bentley.
“We’re getting killed for any silly little error, which happens when you’re struggling but our game management is poor.
“I think we’ll score goals against anyone all season so there are positives but we know how to put the ball in one net but not how to keep it out of the other. All our good work early in the season is drifting away because of our performances at home.”
Rovers, who won at Hartlepool earlier in the week, began the game well and should have taken the lead when Barry Roche saved one-handed from Billy Bodin after the winger had been put through by Jermaine Easter.
With the hosts struggling for a foothold in the game, Rovers flooded forward and Roche was at it again just before the half-hour when he tipped Lee Mansell’s 12 yard drive on to the post.
But Mansell made amends less than a minute later when he got on the end of Jake Gosling’s left wing centre and tucked the ball beyond the unlucky keeper.
It was something of a shock when Morecambe equalised two minutes before the break following a rush of blood from gloveman Lee Nicholls who charged off his line only to be expertly lobbed by the cool Shaun Miller.
Rovers regained the lead just after the break following a great piece of play from Bodin, who rounded a couple of defenders before slipping in Easter. His shot was parried by Roche back into the path of Bodin, who gratefully lashed in the rebound.
Matty Taylor looked to have put the game beyond doubt with a close-range finish from Lee Brown’s cross only for Morecambe to strike back through Tom Barkhuizen.
Substitute Ellis Harrison made an instant impact with an emphatic penalty after Shaun Beeley’s handball before Mullin made it a nervous finish for Rovers.
Despite conceding three goals, Rovers manager Darrell Clarke was left satisfied after another successful away day for his side who completed their fourth win on the road this season.
“We thoroughly deserved the win and it was certainly an entertaining game, but not great for my heart,” he said.
“But we’ve had two long away trips this week and got six points so I’m a happy man.
“It’s great we’re beginning to get the rewards in front of goal and despite the fact we were sloppy with the goals we conceded, I’m not going to criticise my back line too much. They’ve been outstanding most of the season and the main thing is you win the football match.”
FOREBODING: Billy Bodin of Bristol Rovers hammers home the rebound and, inset, teammate Ellis Harrison scores a penalty