CUP LIFTS SHRIMPS’ SPIRITS
JIM Bentley bore a smile as wide as Morecambe Bay after his side produced a performance to be proud of.
Second bottom in League Two and without a home win since September, or even a goal in four at the Globe Arena, the Shrimps romped their way into round two of the FA Cup.
National League Hartlepool United arrived with one defeat in 13 and with hopes of taking a Football League scalp.
But a goal after only four minutes set the Shrimps off and they were never in any danger of throwing their advantage away.
“It was important we won for many reasons – we haven’t been good in the FA Cup and for financial reasons too,’’ said Bentley.
“It was a big game with the poor run we are on and we were up against a good side in form.
“They came here sniffing blood as we have been struggling and took a deserved lead. We looked good for a long period.’’
Just 23 seconds had passed when visiting keeper Scott Loach had to dive at full stretch to deny Aaron Wildig.
But he was beaten on five minutes when a cross-field ball fell for Kevin Ellison, who cracked in low from 12 yards.
The Shrimps, with only one win at home this season, were bright and lively. They chased Pools into submission with a pressing game and they always looked to get in behind a flat defence. Pools were grateful for scraps.
Ellison picked up a deep ball in behind left-back Blair Adams. He drove into the area with intent and only a saving tackle from Adams denied the scorer a second.
Pools started the second half better, for the first time enjoying possession.
But the Shrimps still could have gone two-up. Louis Laing was beaten and from Wildig’s cross, Alex Kenyon and Ellison got in each other’s way and the ball was sent over the bar.
Pools almost levelled instantly. Rhys Oates’ cross was met by Jon Franks and goalkeeper Barry Roche made his first save.
But the home side doubled their lead on 67 minutes.
A rushed Loach clearance was picked up by the home side, Andrew Fleming was played in through the middle by Vadaine Oliver and the midfielder showed great composure to finish low through the legs of Loach.
And it was three when a low shot from substitute Adam Campbell thumped off the inside of the post, bounced out and hit keeper Loach before rolling into the net. Pools boss Craig Harrison said: “We lost the game in the first seven minutes by not dealing with their intensity. We didn’t manage it well. We started the second half well and they managed it well – we didn’t. “I’m not one to talk about concentrating on the league, I want to look at all games, all competitions and that’s why it’s so disappointing.
“It was a good time to play them people say, but when is it a good time? Get yourselves organised first and we didn’t defend their pressure well.’’
ONE ‘ELL OF AN EFFORT: Kevin Ellison celebrates after scoring Morecambe’s first
BLOCK: Adam Campbell is denied
STAR MAN KEVIN ELLISON Morecambe