Manager John Askey will be left scratching his head in the morning, still wondering how the Valiants failed to turn sixty-seven percent possession into three points. Despite stand in Captain Scott Brown’s heroics, a single Adam Phillips penalty was enough to give Morecambe their first home league win of the season.
As the statistics suggest, Vale started the brighter but without threatening the Shrimp’s goal and it was the hosts that had the first attempt on goal, winning a free kick on five minutes, but the Vale defence handled it well on the edge of the box and cleared to safety.
It took until the ninth minute for Vale to record their first real attack, James Gibbons and David Worrall working well down the right, Worrall dropping the ball to Luke Joyce to cross deep to the back post but Devante Rodney had strayed offside. Rodney was again in the action a few minutes later, breaking down the attacking left, getting to the byline, before driving the ball across the Morecambe box. His break had not only outpaced that of the defence, but also Vale attacking options and with no one in the box, the Shrimps defence cleared with ease.
Vale won their first corner on twenty-one minutes, fired in low by Worrall, but was easily cleared, only to be put back in the mix by Joyce, picking out the unmarked Leon Legge whose firm header was unfortunately straight at Jake Turner in the Morecambe goal. Vale continued the pressure on twenty-four minutes, Worrall freeing Rodney down the left, waltzing past the right back, and driving towards Newcastle loanee Turner in the Morecambe goal. The Striker bore down on goal, releasing a scorching shot but the keeper stood firm, punching the ball out for a corner.
On the half-hour, Worrall won a further corner for Vale, the winger taking it from the attacking right, shouts for a penalty as a Vale attacker goes down at the front post but there was nothing doing and in fact it was Vale that conceded the free kick after a poor tackle in the area.
After a shaky start, Morecambe begun to get a toehold in the game, Vale almost gifting the hosts the lead after bad defensive play from Vale as Brown was forced to concede the corner, put under real pressure from after poor Fitzpatrick back pass. Minutes later Morecambe secured another corner as Burgess deflected an effort over the Vale Bar. The corner was taken short, dropped back to Stockton who’s first time volley was just wide with Brown rooted to the spot.
The hosts really should have taken the lead with the first attack of the second half, a Cole Stockton dummy freeing the left winger down the left, as the Shrimp’s poured forward, Vale were left exposed with two free at the back post, Phillips calling for it, striking towards goal but Brown reacted brilliantly, saving high to his left and sparing Vales blushes.
The turning point of the game came on seventy-seven minutes, Morecambe taking the lead from the penalty spot, after Shaun Brisley was judged to have tumbled Stockton in the area with what seemed a very soft penalty award. It was left to Burnley loanee Adam Phillips to finish the job, sending Brown the wrong way and putting the hosts one up.
Vale moved quickly, bringing on David Amoo for his first appearance of the season but even the fresh injection of width wasn’t enough to inspire the Valiants who crashed to their first league defeat since January and left Askey with much to ponder before Vale’s trip to Wigan on Tuesday night.