From one revenge mission to another against a League Two northwestern outfit? This is a question that could be answered at Morecambe’s Globe Arena come Saturday evening.
The first leg of the revenge mission was fulfilled last weekend against Carlisle courtesy of a convincing 2-0 victory, thus being revenge for a disastrous 2-5 defeat at Carlisle last November.
This time around, the Stags are a couple of miles down South from Cumbria into Lancashire, where Morecambe are situated geographically.
Morecambe, who now are playing their tenth consecutive League Two campaign, a feat only bettered by Accrington, the side who beat the Shrimps at Globe Arena last Tuesday, thus being Morecambe’s twelfth home defeat, and only Leyton Orient are worse at home with sixteen defeats out of twenty at headquarters.
Last season, Morecambe lost thirteen games at home, yet stayed up.
And one of Morecambe’s home defeats last term was against the Stags. The original game was due to being played on Boxing Day 2015, but was postponed due to poor weather. When that fixture was played, the writing below was appropriate prior to the Stags’ home fixture against the Shrimps.
“Sometimes you win in the 90th minute, sometimes you get a draw in the 90th minute and sometimes you lose in the 90th minute. These things are very appropriate when you talk of the teams playing at One Call Stadium this weekend, the Stags and Morecambe. And this will be the return of the one played at Morecambe a little more than a week ago”.
At Morecambe’s Globe Arena, the Stags turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 victory within the last five minutes of that game, the Stags’ winner in the 90th minute, which also meant that the Morecambe Shrimps lost at the same time. But the Shrimps did the other way when high-flying Portsmouth took the long trip up to Morecambe a week later. Then, of all players, Morecambe’s keeper Barry Roche hit home the equalizer to a 1-1 scoreline in the fourth minute of injury-time (official time 90th minute) meaning that a Morecambe run of three straight defeats came to an end.
But Morecambe have fared better away than at headquarters. Last season saw goals flying in left, right and centre at both ends of the Shrimps’ fixtures. 69 goals scored, a feat that fourteen sides above them did not even match. But their problems were defensive ones as they had 91 goals put past them, four worse than relegated York City and ten more than the other relegated side last term, Dagenham & Redbridge.
Away, Morecambe have lost just six times, only bettered by four sides. And won seven, one of those at One Call Stadium on Boxing Day 2016 by the only goal of the game. And despite their poor home record, Morecambe have beaten sides like Blackpool, Portsmouth and Plymouth at home. Proof of what Morecambe are capable of.
Last term, both fixtures were dramatic ones. At Morecambe, the Stags turned the game late on, as noted above. At One Call Stadium, goalie Scott Shearer saved TWO Morecambe penalties to preserve a 2-1 victory, the first time a Stags goalie has saved two spot-kicks during the same game during the Stags’ entire League history.
Two seasons ago, the Stags won 1-0 at home thanks to a 90th minute header by Alex Fisher which clinched the Stags’first-ever home points against the Shrimps, as the two earlier games between the sides at Mansfield, the first one seen by the previewer on February 12, 2008, had seen Morecambe come out as 2-1 winners. The second one, on November 30, 2013, saw the Stags’ last FL and cup penalty given for up to August 2015, but crucially missed at 1-1.
Yet Morecambe are now in their tenth FL season, having managed much on limited resources and low home gates. Stability at the manager post as their manager, Jim Bentley, now is the second longest-serving boss in League Two behind Paul Tisdale who has been Exeter boss since 2006.
The 2009-10 campaign is so far Morecambe's best-ever one in their FL history. Then, they finished fourth, a position which in three of the Stags' promotion seasons from the basement (1962-63, 1974-75 and 1985-86 respectively) had guaranteed automatic promotion.
But Morecambe had to be content with the playoffs, where their hopes were dented big style by a 6-0 mauling at Dagenham & Redbridge, the side that followed Morecambe up to the FL in 2007, the Daggers as champions and Morecambe winning the playoff finals against Exeter.
During their FL seasons, Morecambe have only had two managers, Sammy McIlroy and Jim Bentley. In those years, three different Stags bosses have overseen fixtures against the Shrimps. In 2007-08, Billy Dearden bossed both fixtures against Morecambe, while Paul Cox was Stags boss in both games against the Shrimps two seasons ago as well as the home game last season. For Adam Murray, it was his first home fixture against Morecambe as Stags boss. But he put up a man-of-the-match-performance in the 1-0 home victory two years ago. The current Stags boss, Steve Evans, bossed Crawley when they were victims of their heaviest-ever defeat as a League club, and this was a 6-0 reverse at Morecambe on September 10, 2011.
Although Morecambe never had met the Stags in any competition before the 2007-08 season, the Shrimps had reached the third round of the FA Cup on three occasions. The first one was way back in 1961-62 after beating Chester away in the second round. In the third round, Morecambe were drawn at home to another non-league side, Weymouth. In front of a record crowd, over 9000, at Christie Park, the South Coast side went through by the only goal of the game and were rewarded with a good fourth round tie at Preston, losing only 3-1. Little did Morecambe and Weymouth know then, that the sides were to face each other chasing conference points some 44 years later! During the 21st century, Morecambe have reached the third round twice and on both occasions been drawn to Ipswich, one at home and one in Suffolk.
The sides have yet to draw a League fixture.
On a couple of occasions, the Stags have played FL games on a March 25 being a Saturday. The one which stands out is the 3-3 home game against Tottenham Hotspur in our so far solitary campaign at current Championship level.
Played for both sides: Dave Artell, Simon Grand, Kevan Hurst, James Jennings, Keith Kennedy, Fraser McLachlan, Adam Rundle, James Sutton, Brian Thomson, Neil Wainwright, Laurence Wilson.
Previous FL games:
Home games: P 5, W 2, D 0, L 3, GF 5, GA 6
Away games: P 4, W 2, D 0, L 2, GF 5, GA 6
Season Home Date Away Date
2007-08 1-2 2008-02-12 1-3 2007-08-25 League Two
2013-14 1-2 2013-11-30 1-0 2014-04-05 League Two
2014-15 1-0 2014-09-16 1-2 2015-02-10 League Two
2015-16 2-1 2016-02-06 2-1 2016-01-26 League Two
2016-17 0-1 2016-12-16 (at Mansfield) League Two
It’s crunch time now for the Stags. Come on Mansfield!
Stockholm, July 4, 2008, 15.00 GMT. Good news came, K.H. gone. March 1, 2012. Ground purchased.