Cheltenham Town threw away an early lead and lost 3-1 here at the Globe Arena in what was a very disappointing night.
The Robins had taken an early lead through Darryl Duffy but a goal before half time by Kevin Ellison turned the game on it's head and gave Morecambe hope despite a rampant opening display from Cheltenham. The second half was a completely different affair however with Morecambe constantly unlocking Cheltenham's defence with crosses. Goals from Reid and Ellison gave Morecambe a 3-1 lead and a lead they would not drop.
Big disappointment for Cheltenham on a cold night up North but an opportunity to address the defeat against league leaders Swindon at the weekend.
Four changes were made to the Cheltenham Town starting eleven this evening with one an unfortunate forced change. Steve Elliott took a knock to his foot in training yesterday and missed out but Keith Lowe stepped in to deputise in defence. Russ Penn, Kaid Mohamed and Darryl Duffy were also brought into the squad tactically at the expense of Josh Low, Jeff Goulding and Jimmy Spencer. Morecambe lined up with a 3-5-2 formation in the hope that their wing backs and the free role of Lewis Alessandra may cause problems for Mark Yates' Robins side.
This game almost started with a bang when Jombati strode forward at speed and found Duffy with a through ball but the striker's effort across goal narrowly missed the target and actually appeared to take a deflection with the referee pointing for the corner. Almost a dream start for Cheltenham but the early signs were positive for the promotion hunting side. Cheltenham didn't stop there with Mohamed and Penn both testing the goalkeeper early on within the first four minutes followed by a long range Summerfield shot that cleared the stand.
The Robins were rampant and it seemed Morecambe's formation was only helping that to happen but Cheltenham came the closest they had come at this stage when Luke Summerfield hooked a header in towards goal from Jombati's cross only to find it rebound back off the post. That goal would surely come and of course it did through courtesy of some outstanding play. McGlashan tricked his way down the right wing and cut the ball inside for Jombati with the Portuguese right back showing great strength to hold off the defender and fire a shot in at goal. Roche had saved the effort but Duffy arrived and struck the rebound into the back of the net for 1-0. That scoreline could have been doubled moments later when Duffy cut a pass inside for Penn but Haining made a vital tackle to block the effort and leave the midfielder on the floor needing treatment although it wasn't long before he got back up to join play.
Morecambe settled themselves ever so slightly following their early traumas and even had some pressure from corner set pieces but it wasn't long before Cheltenham continued their dominance of the game. Mohamed saw a soft shot saved by Roche on 25 minutes and it would be no exaggeration to say it could have been two or three for the Robins but that domination soon led to over confidence and Morecambe started to press and get balls into the box. Andy Parrish lifted a decent ball towards the back post and found Morecambe's top scorer Kevin Ellison awaiting. The powerful frontman steered a decent effort into the bottom corner beyond Butland to equalise and stun Cheltenham. That goal was followed up by good Morecambe pressure and a long range shot that had to be sccoped up by the awaiting Butland.
Morecambe looked a lot more comfortable in this game following their equaliser and they could have snatched the lead befoe half time when Alessandra found himself through unmarked but his cross across goal found no one and dribbled out and away from danger. The last real action of the half saw McGinty yellow carded for a bad challenge on the troublesome McGlashan but back to the drawing board for the Robins at half time.
Half Time: Morecambe 1-1 Cheltenham
The second half needed more of the same from Cheltenham Town's opening display but instead Morecambe struck after 49 minutes to take the lead and once again is was sloppy defending. Sean McGinty capitalised on a missed clearance and whipped a superb ball in towards the backpost where Reid was lurking with a diving header. The effort struck the back of the net for 2-1 and left Cheltenham stunned and in need of a real test of character. Ellison could have had his second of the night when Reid whipped in another good cross but the forward headed his effort over the bar.
The scoreline took a turn for the worse after 55 minutes when another cross found Jombati in a bad position and the right back actually handballed it in front of his own goal before Ellison buried the loose ball for 3-1. Cheltenham weren't cancelling out the crosses and were inviting far too much pressure onto the defence with Morecambe taking full advantage.
Morecambe made two substitutes on the hour in an effort to close the game but it was Garry Hunter who attempted to close the game for good with a 20 yard drive at goal but Butland got down well to save. Cheltenham needed to think fast and Mark Yates opted to introduce a treble substitution with Josh Low, Jeff Goulding and Jimmy Spencer replacing Mohamed, Duffy and Summerfield on 71 minutes. That change meant a 4-4-2 formation for the Robins.
Cheltenham improved following the changes but efforts from Pack and McGlashan were too tame to trouble Roche in the Morecambe and goalmouth. Jermaine McGlashan continued to hassle the Shrimpers defence but Cheltenham were struggling to break down a Morecambe shape designed to frustrate, pressurise and limit any kind of attacking intent. A late ferocious volley on 88 minutes from looked as though it could grab a goal back but the brave blocking head of Burrows stopped the effort in it's tracks.
A late wonder strike by Jevons on 90 minutes could have made it 4-1 but for an equally impressive save by Butland in the Cheltenham goal but it was only a matter of time before the final whistle was blown and Cheltenham slumped to disappointing defeat.
Full Time: Morecambe 3-1 Cheltenham
Morecambe FC (3-5-2): Roche (GK); Haining (C), McCready, Parrish; Reid, Hunter, McDonald, Alessandra (Carlton 82), McGinty (Cowperthwaite 63); Ellison (Jevons 62), Burrow
Subs not used: Kettings (GK), McGee
Cheltenham Town FC (4-5-1): Butland (GK); Jombati, Bennett (C), Lowe; Garbutt; McGlashan, Summerfield (Spencer 71), Pack, Penn, Mohamed (Low 71); Duffy (Goulding 71)
Subs not used: Hooman, Smikle
Referee: Robert Madley
Attendance: 1,207 (116 from Cheltenham)
Robins Star Man:Jermaine McGlashan - He never stopped working down the right wing to create attaking opportunities and Morecambe struggled every time he was in possession.
James Brown from the Globe Arena