When the Stags last played Morecambe at home, the race for the automatic promotion places and those way below were hotting up. On Good Friday earlier this year, the Stags routed Morecambe to a 4-0 scoreline at headquarters in a display worthy of a higher division, in which the Stags could and should have played this season, barring defeats in the league games after the Morecambe one, and a couple of officials making crucial decisions against the Stags, most notably in the playoff semifinal first leg at Newport. Enough printed.
On the other hand, Morecambe ensured survival despite the rout at One Call, which could have been higher if the goalie stalwart Barry Roche hadn’t pulled off a man-of-the-match performance. Results elsewhere ensured Morecambe survival with three games to spare, a different story to the previous season in which the Shrimps survived at Barnet’s expense thanks to a goal-less draw at Coventry on the final day.
Morecambe are now one of two sides playing continuously in League Two since the Stags’ FL return in 2013 (as well as the current Newport club’s inaugural one). The other are Exeter City.
The Shrimps are also currently the longest surviving League Two member, in their 13th consecutive campaign now, and have during their entire FL stay called upon just TWO managers. The first one was Sammy McIlroy, in charge when the Shrimps gained their League Two ticket in 2007, and he stayed till the end of the 2010-11 campaign. He was then replaced by Jim Bentley, who has remained in the Morecambe hot seat ever since. And he will remain there for a further season, as he extended his managerial contract immediately after a home defeat against Crawley two months before Morecambe’s trip to the Stags just before Christmas 2017. Proof of not panicking when results go wrong.
Jim Bentley will now face the fifth Stags manager at One Call since 2013 with John Dempster in charge for the first Stags home fixture. The previous ones are Paul Cox (twice), Adam Murray (twice), Steve Evans and David Flitcroft one. And the Stags manager in the first-ever home fixture between the Stags and Morecambe in February 2008, watched by the previewer, was Billy Dearden.
After the game at Morecambe two seasons ago, securing the Stags’ third straight win there, the Shrimps must have felt sick of conceding late goals against the Stags as the game between the sides at Mansfield was also decided late on, just two minutes before the final whistle of normal time.
During the 2016-17 campaign, the sides won their respective away games. On Boxing Day 2016, Morecambe won by the only goal of the game at One Call after a poor Stags display, while the revenge mission was completed on March 25 last year, when the Stags won 3-1 at Morecambe, all goals coming in the first half.
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, now having kept Morecambe goal in 421 FL games, a club record and an incredible feat, 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.
Talk of long service and experience and staying at one club. The same could be written about Kevin Ellison, 332 League Two games (68 as sub), 80 goals, all during the entire Jim Bentley reign at the Globe Arena. Fittingly enough, both played in Morecambe’s opening day home defeat against Grimsby, Ellison as sub, though.
There, experience also told on the Stags’ latest visit to Morecambe. The experienced Neal Bishop hit the only goal of the game with a superb half-volley last October.
In the 2015-16 campaign, 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.
In 2014-15, 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 games before that 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.
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.
The sides have yet to draw a League fixture and in fact, Morecambe’s first-ever FL victory was achieved against the Stags at the Shrimps’ old Christie Park venue to a 3-1 scoreline on August 25, 2007 after a poor Stags display. And only two games, both at Morecambe, have been won to a two-goal margin, one for each side.
In the 2017-18 season, the Shrimps drew on nineteen occasions, while the Stags drew in eighteen. Before the trip to Morecambe last season, the Stags drew six consecutive away games, a club record, while Morecambe also drew quite a lot on the road, including some very crucial ones at Notts County and Macclesfield respectively
Incredibly enough, the sides have yet to draw a League Two fixture. Against no other current League Two opponent, the Stags haven’t drawn at home or away, as far as the previewer is aware.
Played for both sides: Dave Artell, Simon Grand, Kevan Hurst, James Jennings, Keith Kennedy, Fraser McLachlan, Vadaine Oliver, Adam Rundle, James Sutton, Richard Sutton, Brian Thomson, Neil Wainwright, Laurence Wilson.
Previous FL games:
Home games: P 7, W 4, D 0, L 3, GF 11 GA 7
Away games: P 7, W 5, D 0, L 2, GF 11, GA 8
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 2016-12-26 3-1 2017-03-25 League Two
2017-18 2-1 2017-12-23 2-1 2018-01-27 League Two
2018-19 4-0 2019-04-19 1-0 2018-10-23 League Two
Come on Mansfield!
Stockholm, July 4, 2008, 15.00 GMT. Good news came, K.H. gone. March 1, 2012. Ground purchased.