Fleetwood Town 1 Morecambe 2: Shrimps' late stunner sentences Cod Army to another defeat
Cole Stockton’s brilliant stoppage-time winner from the centre circle broke Fleetwood Town’s hearts and extended their winless run to seven games.
Callum Jones hit Morecambe’s opening goal 10 minutes in, capitalising on a free-kick to score beautifully.
Callum Johnson headed home for Town with 10 minutes remaining and it looked like both teams would collect a point until Stockton’s late intervention.
Even then, Fleetwood saw Anthony Pilkington sent off in the aftermath of the Shrimps’ winner.
Since beating Crewe Alexandra in mid-October, Simon Grayson’s players have registered one draw and six defeats with this loss leaving them mired in relegation trouble.
They went into their first league meeting with Morecambe since 2014 in rotten form, having lost their three previous games.
The visitors had hardly pulled up any trees either with one cup win in nine games since beating Lincoln City in September.
There was much at stake besides a derby victor’s usual bragging rights as Fleetwood sat third-bottom in the table, with Morecambe two places and one point ahead.
It was Morecambe who edged ahead with just 10 minutes played, doing so in style.
Fleetwood may have been unhappy with referee Darren Drysdale’s awarding of a free-kick 25 yards from goal after Arthur Gnahoua had gone down.
Jones grabbed the opportunity with both hands, however, his stroked effort bypassing Alex Cairns’ despairing dive and finding the net just inside the far post.
The Shrimps almost doubled the lead five minutes later when Stockton tried his luck from a similar position.
This time, Cairns got across his goal to parry the shot and Jonah Ayunga was beaten to the loose ball by the alert Harrison Holgate.
Morecambe didn’t have things totally their own way though, as the hosts carved out a few chances of their own in the first half.
The best of these fell to Ged Garner shortly before the break.
Shayden Morris charged down the right, and his pullback somehow found the striker who couldn’t keep his shot down.
Throughout the first period, key passes from both teams were failing to find their mark, either through stout, alert defending or simply from wayward attempts to locate team-mates.
With passages of play breaking down with alarming regularity, it was little surprise that Jones’ strike was enough for his side to take a lead into half-time.
Fleetwood should perhaps have been back on level terms five minutes into the second half but a crisp passing move ended with Garner sending the ball towards the back of the Memorial Stand.
That set the scene for a hard-fought half that was far from easy on the eye
After Johnson had met Danny Andrew’s corner for their equaliser, Fleetwood turned their attention to the possibility of grabbing a winner.
It almost came late on when Morecambe failed to clear another ball into their box, Paddy Lane sending the loose ball narrowly over the bar.
Moments later, Stockton spotted Cairns off his line and beat him with a perfectly-flighted long-range finish to seal victory.
For good measure, Pilkington picked up two yellow cards and was sent off as Town were left to contemplate another defeat.
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Johnson, Clarke (Biggins 79), Holgate, Andrew, Morris, Batty, Matete (Pilkington 79), Lane, Morton, G Garner (J Garner 68). Subs not used: Crellin, Edmondson, Clark, Johnston.
Morecambe: Andresson, McLaughlin, O’Connor, Delaney, Leigh, McCalmont, Jones, McLoughlin (Diagouraga 76), Ayunga (Phillips 79), Stockton, Gnahoua. Subs not used: Da Silva Mendes, Cooney, Gibson, Duffus, Wootton.
Referee: Darren Drysdale.
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here