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Report: Morecambe 1-1 Blues

11 January 2014

It was a tale of two headers at the Globe Arena as Wanderers produced a battling performance to pick up an away point from the long trip to Morecambe.

In a game played in tricky conditions, Cowan-Hall’s towering first-half header from Nick Arnold’s corner opened the scoring as he grabbed his fifth goal of the season, and the fifth with his head.

However, experienced midfielder Kevin Ellison levelled matters 12 minutes from time as he powerfully headed beyond Matt Ingram from Andy Parrish’s cross.

Manager Gareth Ainsworth reacted to last week’s home defeat to AFC Wimbledon, making four changes to the starting line-up.

Matt Bloomfield, Matt McClure, Gary Doherty and Steven Craig all came into the side with the latter making his first start since picking up a thigh strain against Scunthorpe on 14th December.

The hosts were dealt a blow after just four minutes when defender Robbie Threlfall picked up a nasty looking head injury. After initially going down the tunnel to receive treatment he didn’t return and was replaced by substitute Tony Diagne.

The game lacked rhythm in the early stages with both sides struggling to get to grips with a tricky playing surface that passed an inspection earlier in the day.

Cowan-Hall was the Wanderers’ biggest threat throughout the half and had the first chance of the game as he cut inside and fired over following a great cross-field ball from Josh Scowen.

The hosts looked to remove the anomaly of the difficult playing surface as they utilised the height of 6ft 2in striker Jack Sampson. Ex Accrington Stanley forward Padraig Amond also looked lively with his surging runs testing Sam Wood in particular who was lining up at left back.

However it was the Wanderers who were carving out the clear chances with Cowan-Hall once again at the heart of it. After seeing his shot narrowly deflected over he fired just wide of Barry Roche’s far post as he cut in from the left hand side from the resulting corner.

Substitute Diagne had the chance to edge the home side in front from a free kick on the edge of the area but his left-footed strike floated tamely over the bar.

Then with five minutes to go until half time, Cowan-Hall picked up the goal his performance deserved. After some great defending at the other end Arnold swung in an inch perfect corner for the winger to head home at the near post and give the Blues the lead.

It proved to be the last meaningful action of the half as McClure went into the book on the stroke of half time for a trip as the hosts looked to break away.

Wanderers looked to build on that momentum straight away in the second half as they continued to take the game to their opponents. Captain Stuart Lewis saw his shot blocked as he surged from midfield and then saw his deflected shot saved before Craig set his sights on goal with Roche claiming his curling effort.

However the flurry of chances seemed to awaken the hosts as they began to increase the pressure on a relatively untested Blues defence. The experienced Ellison began to get into the game while substitute Joe Mwasilie provided a pacy and tricky outlet for the Shrimps on the right-hand side.

Diagne continued to be a threat as the versatile defender ventured forward on a number of occasions, and he narrowly poked over from 12 yards out after the Blues failed to clear a free-kick that was pumped into their box.

They failed to heed the warning and with 12 minutes remaining the hosts were level. After great work from Mwasile on the right hand side, the ball broke to Andy Parrish whose cross was emphatically headed home by Ellison.

Wanderers refused to let their heads drop and four minutes later they nearly restored their lead. Wood and Bloomfield combined well on the left hand side before the former found Scowen in the box who saw his header cleared off the line by Shrimps captain Mark Hughes.

The hosts looked the more likely to find a winner out of the sides but Wanderers dealt with the hosts powerful aerial presence well and secured a well-fought away point.

 


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