Oates 6, Collins 35, Kenyon 71


MORECAMBE won the battle of the pies as the Shrimps picked off Forest Green to put a dent in their play-off aspirations.

Morecambe scooped the British Pie Award for their steak and ale special 24 hours earlier, but it was Rovers, famed for their vegan ethos, who were left looking like stuffed turkeys as first-half strikes from Rhys Oates, Aarron Collins and a second-half third from Alex Kenyon saw Mark Cooper’s side slide to their fifth defeat in six games - tumbling two places to ninth - two points off the play-offs.

After back-to-back defeats and four losses  out of the last five,  Cooper wielded the axe -  Reece Brown, Farrend Rawson and Nathan McGinley were shunted to the bench. Elsewhere, keeper James Montgomery (back) missed out - Reading loanne Lewis Ward taking his place. Teenage defender Udoka Godwin-Malife,18, came in for his full debut and LIoyd James returned to the starting eleven. Fully-fit game-changer Dayle Grubb started for the first time since  January.

Earlier, Aaron Wildig  out-muscled Paul Digby for  Oates to roll home  the opener in Morecambe’s first meaningful attack.

Rocked Rovers responded sixty-seconds later – Shawn McCoulsky’s shot was miraculously booted off the line by Ritchie Sutton after Joseph Mills had played the ball in. The Shrimps came close to surrendering the initiative, but Mark Halsted’s sharp reflexes curtailed Christian Doidge’s close range stinger from a clever Godwin-Malife assist.

The Shrimps looked threatening with each sporadic attack and Ward spared Rovers’ blushes with a sprawling stop from Collins' howitzer.

It was end-to-end - Halstead kept Morecambe’s lead intact – performing an acrobatic star jump to block McCoulksy as the ball dropped in the box.

The next goal was always going to be pivotal and so it proved.

The Shrimps picked off Rovers with 10 minutes of the first-half to go – Collins picked his spot just outside the box to drill the ball into the bottom corner.

Cooper hooked Grubb and James on 57 minutes - ushering on Mondal and Brown.

Rovers were taking a stranglehold of possession, Brown quickly into his stride as they looked for a way back into the contest.

A period of keep ball ended with Halstead getting a strong glove on a Carl Winchester drive from the edge of the box on 67 minutes.

Cooper used his last throw of the dice with 20 minutes on the clock to go - Liam Shephard coming on for McCoulsky.

It was game over on 71 minutes - Kenyon firing beyond Ward after Digby had his pocket picked by Oates as the Shrimps posted a league double for the first time this season.

Rovers' bad day at the office was confirmed when Mills' fizzer looked like it was on the way in but team-mate George Williams handled his effort to deny his own team scant consolation.

In the dying embers Williams almost atoned his block but saw his stab cleared off the line by Steve Old.

Morecambe: Halstead, Mills, Conlan, Kenyon, Old, Bennett, Sutin, Wildig, Oates, Mingoia, Collins

Subs Roche, Ellison ,Dalby, Mandeville, Mendes-Gomes, McKay, Hedley.

Forest Green: Ward; Godwin-Malife, Digby, Gunning, Mills; James (Brown 57), Winchester, Grubb (Mondal 57), Williams, Doidge, McCoulsky ( Shephard 70) 

Subs not used: Thomas, McGinley, Rawson, Collins

FGR star man: Godwin-Malife.

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 1,528

FGR away: 141

Next up: Forest Green travel to Colchester United on Tuesday night, 7.45pm.