CARLISLE UNITED 1 MORECAMBE 1 Shrimps swim against tide to frustrate Blues
A LATE penalty miss spared Carlisle’s blushes against struggling Morecambe at Brunton Park as the Shrimps turned the form table upside down.
United had their chances, but a solid performance by the Seasiders frustrated the home side on a below standard day of football.
The game opened with half chances at both ends but neither side could quite find a way through what were very congested penalty areas. Makeshift left-winger Mike Jones was the standout performer from the opening spell as he twice created spaces and delivered crosses which were difficult to deal with.
Morecambe were the first side to really open things up when Aaron Wildig cut between Liddle and Bonham to latch on to a long ball forward. His first touch appeared to put the target at his mercy, but the United stopper recovered to make an excellent save.
The Cumbrians responded with an incisive attack which left Lambe in a dangerous position. He drilled a fierce shot at the bottom corner but Roche reacted well to get down and make the parry. Bennett was on to the rebound like a flash but his celebrations for a very good finish were cut short when the offside flag went up.
It became a war of attrition as both sides went long through the middle period of the half, but former Magpies youth product Adam Campbell almost took everybody by surprise when he floated a long range free-kick at the target. It dipped late and landed on the roof of the net.
The Shrimps had the better of the half and they went close when a one-touch move left McGurk with time on his hands inside the box. He rushed things somewhat and his effort blazed into the side netting.
The visitors came again when Lavelle curled a pass across the face of goal, with the Blues at sixes and sevens, but Hill got just enough on it before Ellison could make it count.
Carlisle rounded off the half with a rare sight of goal when Brown bent a lovely cross for Bennett to attack. He couldn’t quite get there, but Jones moved quickly to send it back into the box. Lambe got the awkward ball under control but he couldn’t keep his volley down.
It was a bright opening to the second period with Wildig trying his luck when Ellison put the ball into his path. Bonham got it under control before kicking it long. That sparked an attack for the hosts and Roche had to get down quickly to beat a stinger from Hope away from his bottom corner.
The Cumbrians stayed forward and Kelvin Etuhu sent the home crowd wild when he fired a shot out of nowhere through a ruck of bodies. Roche was unsighted and he could do nothing as it smashed into the back of the net.
Morecambe were stung and they thought they’d equalised when Campbell pulled wide to make room for a cross. McGurk got to it and he should have done better than the poor touch which took the ball off towards the corner flag. Campbell took matters into his own hands moments later with a 30-yarder which took Bonham out of the equation. He looked on in hope as it sped past the upright.
The Shrimps were right back in it on 73 minutes when Carlisle got themselves into a real tangle with a series of defensive mishaps. A low pass eventually broke to defender Steve Old and he held his ground before tapping the equaliser into the waiting net.
Carlisle were let off the hook late in the day when Adam Campbell took control of a spot kick after Bonham had bene judged to have dumped Wildig to the floor. The striker struck it well but it rattled the crossbar and bounced away to safety.
Mike Jones of Carlisle United looks to feed the ball forward during yesterday’s draw PICTURE: Mark Fuller