Convincing away win
By David Mitchell
Fleetwood's stature as a League 2 side grows match by match as a Jon Parkin hat-trick and a late header from Barry Nicholson ensured a comprehensive defeat for their nearest neighbours, Morecambe, in the first ‘Seafood Derby’, for nineteen years.
Town were the dominant side throughout and Andrew Mangan ensured a hat trick of a different kind with three assists for Parkin’s goals. The Shrimps, who started the day in sixth position, have still to win at home.
Micky Mellon made one change, Jamie McGuire returning to midfield eager to add to his goal tally after scoring twice at Rochdale in the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy in midweek. McGuire replaced Tom Barkhuizen who suffered a dead leg in training.
Former Shrimps players Scott Davies and Dean Howell started for Town opposite Richard Brodie and Will Haining, both familiar faces to the large number of Cod Army supporters who made the 30 mile journey. There was a lively atmosphere at kick off with 3232 enjoying some late summer weather at the Globe Arena and this included a splendid 1,019 away supporters.
After eyes had been diverted towards the MBW Stand and Town’s attacking third over the first few minutes, the first moment of drama came at the opposite end as former Highbury striker, Brodie, saw yellow, a not unfamiliar occurrence last year, for feigning a fall in the area under pressure from Davies. It did not take long for referee Haywood to call Town skipper, Steve McNulty, across for a ‘chat’ which also involved Andy Mangan.
Kevin Ellison rose to head the first goal-bound effort of the match high over Davies’s crossbar. McGuire came much closer on eleven minutes, narrowly failing to convert Mangan’s cross from the right after build-up involving Shaun Beeley. Brodie had a chance to redeem himself a minute later, picking up a ball from Ellison before sliding a right-foot shot wide of the far post. Ellison tried again, this time from long range, after Brown was dispossessed.
The opening goal went to Town in the 20th
minute and it was one that Morecambe manager and ex-defender Jim Bentley will have been particularly disappointed to conceded. Mangan executed another testing cross from the right. Brown raced in to pressurise keeper Barry Roche and the ball ran free for Parkin to slide it in at the back post for his first goal in Town colours. The ex-Preston striker cupped his ear towards the silenced Shrimps fans behind the goal after they had directed comments his way. Andrew Wright became the second Morecambe booking for a clumsy challenge on McGuire.
Despite not testing Roche, Town were moving the ball round more convincingly than the home side, linking well with quick passing movements. The Shrimps lacked shape and relied on quick breaks with Ellison full of running but were unable to get themselves into good positions to get back on terms. Several attempts went high and wide and free kicks were wasted. McGuire saw yellow in the 39th
minute for a strong challenge on Andrew Wright.
As the half moved into added time, Davies was suddenly called into action. Despite encroaching a few yards, Haining made a free kick tell, finding Gary McDonald on the left. Town’s defence came under pressure and the keeper performed two diving saves in quick succession. Town were well worth their half time lead.
It did not take them long to extend it. Town opened Morecambe up immediately after the break, not least through Brown and Howell down the left. Just four minutes into the new half Parkin flicked on a Mangan corner from the left at the near post to send the travelling Cod Army behind the goal into ecstasy. The striker looked for a hat trick with a shot soon after but it went narrowly wide.
Each side made substitutions in the 53rd
minute. For Town, Nicholson came on for McGuire while Bentley replaced Lewis Alessandra with Jordan Burrow. With no option but to push forward, Morecambe applied pressure with another substitute, Jack Redshaw, catching the eye. The busy Fowler was replaced by Alex Marrow just after the hour.
Morecambe watched the ball as another Mangan corner gave Youl Mawéné a free header in the 65th
minute but Roche got his body behind it. Two minutes later, Town broke quickly from defence with Johnston, Nicholson and Parkin involved. The unexpected figure of Beeley appeared in the penalty area to crash a shot against the crossbar. Not to be out-done, Morecambe right-back, Nick Fenton, appeared at the back post. Town exposed gaps in the Morecambe defence to create further chances. Nicholson stretched Roche with a 73rd
minute header. Moments later, Marrow was booked for a lunge on Haining.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, Mangan found acres of ground on the right. Advancing into the area, he crossed for Parkin to complete his hat trick with the simplest of tap-ins. For the former Wrexham player, it proved to be a hat-trick of assists.
Redshaw nearly bagged a consolation at the near post in the 81st
minute but Davies saved well. Parkin then turned provider in the 84th
minute with an exquisite cross which provided ex- Deepdale team-mate, Nicholson, with a diving header for his first goal in a Town shirt.
Team: Davies, Beeley, McNulty (captain), Mawéné, Howell, McGuire (Nicholson 53), Fowler (Marrow 62), Johnson, Brown, Parkin, Mangan (Titchiner)
Bookings: McGuire, Marrow