CUP LIFTS SHRIMPS’ SPIR­ITS

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND - By Nick Lough­lin

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.’’

PIC­TURES: MI News & Sport

ONE ‘ELL OF AN EF­FORT: Kevin El­li­son cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing More­cambe’s first

BLOCK: Adam Campbell is de­nied

STAR MAN KEVIN EL­LI­SON More­cambe

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