Morecambe 1 - 0 Cheltenham Town: Robins lose top spot with narrow defeat against Shrimpers
Photo by Lewis Storey / Getty Images

Cheltenham Town lost their spot on top of League Two following a narrow defeat against fellow promotion chasers Morecambe at a very windy Mazuma stadium. 

A first half goal from Liam McAlinden was enough to give Derek Adams' team all three points on an afternoon which was heavily affected by the weather conditions. 

The visitors largely dominated possession and created an abundance of goal scoring chances, but failed to make a breakthrough in what proved to be a frustrating game for the Robins.  

Story of the match

Both sides came into the game as one of League Two's promotion chasers and were looking to solidify their place at the division's summit, and as a result, both showed notable attacking intent following the kick-off.  

Sam Smith missed an early opportunity to give Cheltenham the lead when he got his head on a dangerous cross from full-back Sean Long before seeing his effort well saved by Kyle Letheren with seven minutes gone. 

The Robins again came close after 19 minutes when Liam Sercombe connected well with a volley on the edge of the box, after the Shrimpers’ defence half cleared a Callum Wright cross, with his strike sailing narrowly over the bar. 

It was Morecambe however who eventually got the breakthrough, when Liam McAlinden emphatically slotted home after being played clean through on goal by a flick on from his strike partner Cole Stockton in the 20th minute. 

Derek Adams' side then believed they had doubled their lead not long after when John O'Sullivan smashed in from short range after bringing down a pinpoint long ball from Aaron Wildig before the Irishman was judged to have been offside. 

The visitors came out with a far greater attacking mind-set following the break however, nearly equalising just four minutes into the second half when Letheren produced an impressive reflex to deny Alife May's powerful shot following a scramble in the box. 

Cheltenham began to dominate possession in the games second period with the hosts seemingly happy to sit back and absorb pressure, with the then top of the table side again coming close when Finn Azaz produced a superb cross to find Wright at the back post before Letheren again pulled off a crucial save to tip his effort over the bar. 

The Robins continued to create chances in the games closing stages but failed to find their killer instinct in front of goal, coming closest to snatching a point right at the death when Smith produced a thunderous effort from the edge of the box after turning defender Kelvin Mellor in stoppage time, with his shot then bouncing just inches wide of the post.  

The victory sees Morecambe stay in sixth place in the League Two table but close the gap to the automatic promotions spots to just one point, while Cheltenham fall to second place. 

Man of the match - Kyle Letheren

The Shrimpers stopper produced a number of crucial saves to keep his team ahead, in a second half where the ball seemed to rarely leave the Morecambe box at times. 

Letheren denied dangerous efforts from May, Wright and Smith in a game where the Welshman failed to put a foot wrong. 

The 33-year-old was also superb with his distribution throughout  the match, creating goal scoring chances on the break on a number of occasions, including playing the long ball up the field which lead to McAlinden's winning goal.  

 

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