Morecambe v Newport County

Saturday 4th May 2019   k.o 3:00pm

Sky Bet Football League Two

 

Report from Mark Vickery at The Globe Arena

 

Morecambe 1 (Collins 20)

Newport County 1 (Matt 87)

 

Attendance: 2,776

 

Form:

Newport County        LWWddWWdWW

Morecambe               WWdLWDDLWW         

 

 

County never know when they are beaten

 

 

PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
County will one eye on other scores today but should not underestimate Morecambe who have thumped Forest Green Rovers and Milton Keynes Dons at home in recent weeks

CONDITIONS
Cool, cloudy and keen breeze. Pitch looked a little uneven and hard in parts.

SUMMING UP OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Indecisive on times and struggled to find gears but got reward for persistency.

TURNING POINT
Morecambe had chances to extend their lead but County changes late on ramped up the pressure.

THE MATCH
County kept the starting side and bench used in the mid-week over Oldham. County had the benefit of a keen wind first half which carried them up the pitch. Willmott enjoyed some early space with a snapshot from the edge area well blocked by centre back Old. Morecambe were efficient in cleaning up balls in central midfield and keen to turn County back on their heels with some moves worked right side to find Gomes. On 6 minutes, County unsettled Morecambe when they failed to clear a low throw right side and a quick cross right side of the area by Wilmott went deep to pinpoint O達rien but his header went wide of the right post. County gained confidence working some good balls in behind for Matt and Amond to chase down but they were kept at arms-length. Morecambe were happy to play on the break using a five man attacking midfield to support Oliver up front who contested well across the line. County continued to attack the right side with Willmott busy but Morecambe left back Conlan worked hard to deny space. Morecambe set their stall out to contain and break quick in transition switching play from left to right with Gomes and former County striker Aaron Collins working well in tandem on the counter. On 15 minutes, County were awarded a free kick left side of the area after Butler was checked by Sutton. Sheehan delivered a decent delivery which flashed deep and Amond glanced his header from 10 yards wide of the right post. County remained competitive in the middle getting to their tackles but had to track and clear some telegraphed balls in behind that hung on the wind. On 20 minutes, the Morecambe tact paid off when central defender Old was allowed far too much room to lump a hopeful ball down the throat. Despite Collins being second favourite to the ball he made the most of some indecision by Poole and O達rien to pinch the ball and roll off a challenge by O達rien. He was quick to get ball down and thrashed a low effort from the edge of the area past Day. County responded with snappy moves final third which they worked well across the face of the area but some indecision on times in getting in an early cross allowed Morecambe to check back and recover. On 27 minutes, County created a decent low passing move and Willmott clipped a decent ball into the area which Matt glanced into the path of Dolan. He adjusted well to side step past Fleming but his curling effort to right corner was claimed easily by Halstead. County remained a threat right side through the industry of Willmott working Conlan. On 30 minutes, Willmott found a chink of light right side of the area but he appeared to scuff his shot when well placed just wide of the right post. Morecambe were happy to sit in and protect their lead with Old snapping up a lot of the aerial play and Fleming quick to clear and initiate moves from deep to release the pace of Cranston and Collins. County kept plugging away getting to loose second ball and Morecambe continued to get in some timely interventions from crosses into the area. On 32 minutes, Morecambe won a corner left side which went deep and Sutton saw a firm header well saved by Day. County kept plugging away enjoying better of the possession and adding to their corner count. On 40 minutes, a corner right side by Dolan who dangerous and Matt read the flight well but his header from 8 yards under pressure from Lavelle went just wide of the right post. Morecambe then had Oliver booked moments later for clumsy tackle from behind on Dolan just inside the Morecambe half. On 43 minutes, County had a great chance to equalise when a more direct move saw Matt do well to glance on a header through the middle and Amond was denied when his volley from 14 yards was diverted by Old. County should really have equalised on the stroke of half time with a couple of chances inside a minute. Amond glanced a header from 12 yards wide of the right post when he should have worked the keeper. Then, with Morecambe struggling to clear their lines, Matt saw his header blocked and Sheehan was denied twice by the keeper inside the six yard box saving with his feet.

Morecambe made a change at half time with Mandeville replacing Gomes. Cranston appeared to switch to the right side with Mandeville switching to the left side which gave Morecambe more energy on the break left flank. County continued to add to their corner count and had a glimmer of a chance on 47 minutes when Dolan worked a deep cross from the left corner which Butler read but his low volley from 12 yards lacked power to trouble the keeper. Butler came more into the game supporting some intricate low moves left side and a more decisive earlier corner left side of the area on 50 minutes was met well in the air by Amond from 8 yards but the keeper held well. County were keen to push on but Morecambe remained a threat on the break through agility of Collins and Oliver. On 53 minutes, a County move broke down on the left side and a quick pass from Cranston released Collins who blasted a powerful effort over the bar from the right side of the area. Morecambe gained confidence from the precision they found from direct play and County had another warning on 55 minutes when Butler and Demetriou were in each other痴 way defending a high ball. Oliver snapped up the loose ball and his crisp shot right corner of the area went just over the bar. Then moments later, another direct ball forward by Morecambe left side released Oliver but O達rien found himself the wrong side and forced into an untidy challenge which got him a booking. County were bold breaking using the flanks well and won another corner right side on 58 minutes after a better forceful run to the byline by Willmott. Dolan clipped in a teasing delivery and despite O達rien, Demetriou and Matt behind shackled, Bennett ghosted in with a decent header from 6 yards which fizzed just over the bar. County made their first change on 60 minutes with Azeez replacing Dolan with the formation reverting to 3-4-3. County were dynamic coming forward despite being forced back and Willmott got Conlan in the book on 63 minutes when his smart run from deep was abrupted by left back Conlan. County were struggling with some clearances into the wind having to drop back deeper and Morecambe were quick in the turnaround when possession not retained. On 66 minutes, a direct ball invited a lay off by Oliver for Collins who saw his snapshot from 25 yards fizz wide of the right post. County had a couple of decent situations via both flanks on the break with Willmott and Butler penetrating high up the pitch but some indecision allowed Morecambe to get a foot in and clear. County gambled and made another change on 75 minutes with sacrificing defender Regan Poole for Harry McKirdy with Willmott dropping into deeper role right side. County were energised with McKirdy with the ball at his feet and County worked some decent moves across the face of the area. Morecambe made two attacking changes around 80 minutes with Mingoia and Ellison replacing McKay and Oliver. County had a big ball for a penalty on 82 minutes when an intricate move on the left side initiated by Butler saw the ball play low for McKirdy and his tricky run into the area coaxed Old into an low challenge getting man and ball but the referee waved away the appeals. County pushed but were increasingly vulnerable on the counter with Mandeville busy and penetrating left side. On 85 minutes, County saw a set piece break down a Morecambe flooded forward left side with Mandeville linking well with Ellison across the face of area and his precise curled effort from 16 yards was parried around the right post by the alert County keeper Day. County made their final change on 86 minutes with Sheehan replaced by Marsh-Brown. County were gung-ho and got their reward on 87 minutes from a sweeping move left side. Butler did well to combine with McKirdy left side of the area and the move unsettled the Morecambe defence. His neat cross into the area was glanced on by Azeez inside a crowded six yard box and Matt showed great reactions to stab home at the back post. County were content to hold the ball in the five minutes of injury restricting to play further up the pitch. Lavelle was booked for a clumsy challenge on Matt who did well to hold the ball under pressure. County held out strongly and got the crucial point they needed for their play off challenge after anxious wait to hear that Exeter had failed to beat Forest Green much to approval of the fans that travelled.

Day (7) made some key saves especially in the second half, from shots from distance. Was comfortable on crosses and kicked well under pressure.

Poole (5)  lacked his usual composure and indecision invited first goal. Forced deep for large spells and struggled dealing with some of the high balls allowing it to drop.

Butler (7)  was forced deep on times first half but distributed well under pressure. Came alive later in the game when County put three up front and did well to trigger the goal

O達rien (6)  had to track back to defend, did not have his own way in the air but made several well timed challenges seeing ball early and went close again on set pieces.

Demetriou (7)  was a little anxious with some of clearances but generally got to the ball well and won brave headers under pressure. Provided usual quota of effective long throws.

Dolan (6) found space at a premium but did well to snap up ball and move efficiently. Delivered several decent set pieces before being replaced.

Bennett (6) got a bit bogged down and suffered from lack of space. Competed well in the air and on the floor and went close with some late runs to the edge of the area.

Willmott (5)  frustrated by left back Conlan stifling crosses. Got caught a bit in two minds, when he put in early crosses they were good but lacked finish on a couple of chances. 

Sheehan (6) did well when he got on the ball but got beaten in the air on times, needs to offer more influence in and around the area to unsettle sides and put more shots in.

Matt (7) won several headers and did when dropped off intelligently to link play. Restricted on shots and often dragged out too wide but was in the right position to get key goal.

Amond (6) inside the area he was a menace and most effective but lacked usual spark and was employed more deeper later in the match playing more in midfield

 

SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths
both full backs were quick to deny space and turned over play quickly. Centre backs were robust and they got forward well to counter and exploit gaps.

Weaknesses over reliant on direct play, squandered possession cheaply in the middle and anxious with some clearances inside the area.

Opportunities  they made the midfield compact and used strengths to counter and never really digressed from the plan.
Threats
Collins was quick with his feet and quick to get a shot in. Mandeville gave outlet left side, Oliver strong in the aerial duals

OFFICIALS
N Hair (7) interpreted the game well and got on top of the cynical play booking when necessary.     


MAN OF THE MATCH
Steve Old (Morecambe 5) competed well, lead side well from the back saw ball early, offered little space and made some important blocks  

IF YOU WERE MICHAEL FLYNN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

County struggled to find their usual cohesion and despite working some good situations first half, some indecision not too cross earlier and force play further up pitch allowed Morecambe to recover too easily and County were then troubled by some direct lofted balls when they switched off allowing the ball to drop. With both Matt and Amond still not long back from injuries they did look a little off the pace and County came alive more when they put three men up front late on. County had to overcommit late in the match and there was degree of vulnerability when their set piece broke down and they will need to marshal that threat better in the play offs. When County got to the ball early today they were always the brighter more likely side to score but they did allow Morecambe to take imitative and turn them around too easily on times with the Morecambe defenders not always pressed enough high up the pitch. County now meet old foes Mansfield Town at home in the first leg play off and show teeth in the middle of the pitch. Mansfield press high up the pitch but they do open vulnerability gambling to press the space and players like McKirdy and Azeez can exploit the space. Mansfield will sit in and came alive through the pace of Walker but important County restrict shots by Mellis and enterprise in and around the box from Rose.