As they say ‘it’s a game of two halves’. Today’s game was one of those. During my pre-match meal the message from Ian Holtby was that Rovers would ‘start like lightening’. Had Holtby toned down his statement and said it after 15 minutes he would have been correct. Morecambe started the brighter of the two sides, keeping possession well without troubling the Rovers backline too much. That was until the 15th minute when Morecambe’s Wright wriggled past two Rovers players before smacking the post, leaving Sam Walker well beaten. That was the wake-up call that Bristol Rovers so desperately needed, instantly shocking the home team into life. Rovers asserted large amounts of pressure with Morecambe struggling to fully clear their lines. The home side had numerous attempts blocked during a 25 minute passage of play where Morecambe looked much the weaker side. Just before half time Rovers’ Eliot Richards attempted a life foot drive after cutting in from the right but the strike lacked enough power and placement to beat the keeper. Bristol Rovers were by far the stronger side but lacked the tempo and creativity to penetrate a stubborn Morecambe defence, who were constantly looking to knick a goal on the break.
The second half was a complete reversal from the first. Morecambe came out much the stronger side retaining possession well and causing the Rovers defence much more trouble than they did in the first half. It took just 7 minutes into the second half for Morecambe to break down Rovers, a well weighted knock down found McDonald who calmly slotted his shot past an outstretched Sam Walker. Morecambe’s goal allowed them to stamp their authority on the game with Rovers struggling to keep hold of the ball; repeatedly losing. Morecambe had another chance to double their lead when Eliot Richards was out-muscled forcing a great save from Rovers’ goalkeeper Walker. 5 minutes later Morecambe did in fact double their lead when Rovers’ Lee Brown missed his attempted clearance gifting Fenton Morecambe’s second goal of the afternoon. Kevin Ellison rounded up a horrific 10 minutes for the Pirates when Wayne Brown lost possession sloppily in the middle of the pitch allowing Ellison to run at the defence and capitalise on Rovers’ second mistake in just 5 minutes. The final 30 minutes completely fizzled out with the Rovers side looking shock of all confidence and fight allowing Morecambe to gain all 3 points with ease. You know it’s been a bad game when the highlight was when Adam Virgo tripped over Alessandra sparking calls from the Blackthorn end calling for the sending off of our own player.
A very poor second half showing overshadowed a decent first half performance from Rovers; during a nightmare second half ten minutes in which three goals were conceded.