Rochdale fell to their second defeat of the week after going down 3-0 at Morecambe’s Globe Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Chris McCready gave the home side the lead after nine minutes, and two goals in the space of three minutes in the second half, including a stunning 35-yard volley from Kevin Ellison, gave the Shrimps the three points.
Manager Keith Hill made two changes to the eleven who lined up against Accrington Stanley mid-week - Bobby Grant returned from suspension and was given the nod ahead of Ashley Grimes who dropped to the bench. Ian Henderson who joined Dale on Tuesday was given a place in the eleven in place of Andrew Tutte.
Dale were the first to threaten in front of goal, and Bobby Grant who was back in the Rochdale starting eleven after serving a four match ban, had his first opportunity of the half with three minutes on the clock. Terry Gornell held the ball up well inside the eighteen yard box before slotting it out to Grant who was 25 yards from goal. He struck a curling effort goalwards which had ‘keeper Barry Roche scrambling, but it went narrowly wide of the upright.
It was a fairly even opening period in terms of football played, but it was Morecambe who went on to open the scoring on nine minutes with a soft goal. Ryan Williams’ corner was missed by the head of Jason Kennedy and after landing at the near post, Chris McCready ran the ball into the net in simple fashion.
Despite Morecambe being a goal to the good, it was Rochdale who went on to play the better of the football with a positive passing display, but again were unable to make their dominance count in the final third.
Dale dominated for a large spell and the Shrimps’ next effort on goal came on 18 minutes when Will Haining sent a shot from 25 yards well over the bar.
Three minutes later, and Rochdale were again back in charge – this time Gornell was denied only by Roche. The frontman fired a point blank shot at the target from inside the area after getting on the end of a cross from Rhys Bennett, but the ‘keeper blocked the shot with his legs.
Momentum stayed with Dale as they continued to apply the pressure and moments later Grant had another effort on goal – this time he fired well over from distance.
Shortly before the half hour mark the Shrimps, despite offering little in way of pressure since their opening goal on nine minutes, came close to adding a second of the afternoon through Jack Redshaw who missed what can only be described as a sitter. He was left unmarked inside the six yard box and as the ball was whipped in from the left hand side of play, he could only head it wide of the upright.
Rochdale very much continued on top but again failed turned dominant possession into clear cut opportunities in the final third and Dale’s final chance of the half came a minute into stoppage time when Ritchie Jones’ low drive was comfortably smothered by Roche.
HT: Rochdale 0-1 Morecambe
There were no changes at the interval as Manager Keith Hill stayed as was for the start of the second half.
After the interval it was very much all Dale, without causing too much trouble for Roche, and they kept Morecambe in their own half until Lewis Alessandra broke on a swift counter attack on 55 minutes. He took the ball up the left hand flank before cutting inside and sending an effort narrowly wide of the post.
The move was the first from the home side following the interval and that, coupled with substitute appearance of Kevin Ellison, gave the Shrimps a renewed confidence and they began to take the game to Dale.
Ellison had been on the pitch less than five minutes when he doubled Morecambe’s advantage with a stunning strike from distance. He struck the ball perfectly on the volley from 35 yards and there was nothing Lillis could do as it nestled itself in the top corner of the net. It’s the third quality strike of the week to have been conceded by Dale following Lee Molyneux’s double for Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.
The home side added their third of the afternoon just three minutes later which was a mountain too far for Rochdale to climb. Andrew Flemming stroked the ball past Lillis after making a deep run to get on the end of a cross into the box.
Dale looked livelier following the addition of Ashley Grimes and Joe Thompson however they were unable to add to the scoresheet.
It finished Morecambe 3, Rochdale 0.