In yet another giant-killing masterminded by Derek Adams, Morecambe ran out winners on penalties following a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes. The spirited home performance was the essence of the Scottish manager’s philosophy and epitomised the character that the team can show.
Morecambe named an unchanged eleven following a 3-0 away defeat to promotion hopefuls Peterborough United on Saturday. This included a solid 5-man defence supported by three hard hitting midfielders. Concluding the line-up, Stockton played up front as Ash Hunter dropped ever so slightly deeper to help create chances. Whilst the names on the bench remained the same, the fans were excited to see young centre back Jacob Bedeau be announced as a Shrimp once more as he returned following a successful 6-month loan back in January. The former Burnley man joins on a two-year deal on an undisclosed fee.
Stoke named a team that had a mix of youth and experience in the name of squad rotation given the intense and competitive nature of the Championship this season. One player of note in a Stoke shirt was former Everton centre back Phil Jagielka who had joined the Potters from Derby County this summer.
Given the depth in quality between the two sides, the game started as most fans expected. The flat back 5 of Morecambe their own as Stoke continued to heap pressure on. Stoke City had clearly done their homework leading up to the game as they were determined to create from out wide with crosses that floated deep; an area of which Morecambe consistently struggled to defend. Despite this, the Shrimps held on to a clean sheet going into the half time break thanks to a MotM performance from Ryan Delaney.
Not much changed in the second half as both sides carried on as usual. Stoke continued to pile on the pressure forcing numerous solid saves from Connor Ripley. Morecambe had few chances of their own with Watts working the space nicely before ever so slightly grazing the cross bar with a long range effort.
It took until the 62nd minute for any action to occur as Jensen Weir was sent off following a second yellow card in the space of three minutes. The Potters looked to pounce on this opportunity by bringing on some more attackers, most notably ex-Newcastle and Crystal Palace man Dwight Gale.
However, this had no effect on the scoreline, the impeccable collective defensive display only improved as the game progressed; and with help from an electric Bartercard stand, Morecambe continued to hold on to their clean sheet.
Further subs proved this as Obika, Connolly and McLoughlin replaced Stockton, Taylor and Gibson respectively. It was clear from these changes that Morecambe were looking to hold onto a draw and take the game straight to penalties, of which they were successful.
As Connolly slotted away Morecambe’s first penalty, Morgan Fox missed his in the only miss of the shootout. Shane McLoughlin’s winning spot kick was the culmination of a sturdy defensive display and a determined demeanour, both of which can be attributed back to manager Derek Adams.
Morecambe now face an away trip to Rotherham United in the second round in what could be described as the most boring draw of all time.