A wicked second half volley from Morecambe forward Cole Stockton gained the Shrimps a valuable point in their bid for promotion.
The visitors, Southend United, had taken an early lead thanks to a stomping header from Timothee Dieng, as the Frenchman gave the away side a glance of hope heading into the second half.
Morecambe missed out on the opportunity to sneak their way into the top three, but as things stand will have to settle with the play-offs.
Their opponents will also be disappointed, as the prospect of National League football next season thickens with Southend now five points adrift of safety.
Derek Adams’ side came into this match having won 10 of their previous 11 encounters with the away side, which supplied confidence for the Shrimps.
Morecambe: Letheren; Mellor, Lavelle, Davis, Hendrie, Kenyon, O’Sullivan, Wildig, Diagouraga, Mendes, Stockton.
Southend United: Oxley; Bwonomo, Hobson, Cordner, Clifford, Dieng, Demetriou, Halford, Ferguson, Hackett-Fairchild, Nathaniel-George.
Story of the match
A game of two different contrasts, as Morecambe faced the chance of breaking into the automatic promotion places, whilst Southend were hoping to inspire a potential great escape.
But it would be the away side who would break the deadlock early on, as homegrown talent Elvis Bwonomo, who had also been involved with Uganda’s international side last week, crossed a delightful ball into the danger zone, which Dieng attacked and diverted past a helpless Kyle Letheren in goal.
Morecambe did look to immediately respond via Stockton latched onto Aaron Wildig’s teasing through ball, but he could only hammer his effort into the side netting. The striker was keen however, as five minutes later he pounced onto a Harry Davis knockdown, but his audacious striker flashed wide.
Heading into the second half, Stockton’s dangerous display continued, as he struck towards goal but Mark Oxley did well to parry his effort.
And they say hard work deserves to be rewarded, and rewarded it was. Stockton’s perseverance to find his eight of the season paid off, as a deep Morecambe cross took a major deflection into the path of the talisman, who calmly volleyed into the bottom corner before reeling away in jubilance.
Southend did look to immediately respond, as Dieng opened up his body and took aim from distance, but Letheren was equal to his effort.
The home side looked to snatch the lead and potentially the match, as former Southend defender Stephen Hendrie whipped in a cross, which captain Sam Lavelle could only steer wide.
However, some valiant defending from both sides ensured that Morecambe were contained by a worrying Southend side, who look to escape the prospect of relegation as the week’s go on but see their hovering hopes fade slowly.
A chance squandered for Morecambe
Adams’ side will be left frustrated with their efforts, as the hopes of forcing their way into the automatics were squashed by Southend.
Morecambe had the chance to break into the top three, which would have been a fantastic achievement for everyone involved with the Shrimps, but instead begin to set their focus on the play-offs, as their chances of automatic promotion become that tad bit slimmer.
Can this Southend side stay up? That’s the question in the away dressing room right now, as Mark Molesley’s men will be happy with a point against one of the chasing promotion pack. They certainly showed glimpses of quality that would be too much for non-league, but with six games remaining and five points needed, could it be too little too late?
The determined former Tranmere Rovers attacker was a constant nuisance for the Southend defence, and could very easily have nabbed three or four today. His vigilance and courage leading the line is something every League Two side wishes for.