A poacher’s double from striker Paul Mullin gave Morecambe a narrow win over Cambridge United at the R Costings Abbey Stadium.
Mullin nodded in from close range in the 16th minute, taking advantage of some indecision in the U’s backline. And though Tom Elliott headed home to make it all square in the 61st, Mullin was in the right place in the 65th minute to slot in the winner.
The U’s were left to reflect on a match where they created plenty of chances, but were made to pay by Morecambe’s cutting edge as the visitors made it four league wins in a row.
United welcomed back Harrison Dunk and Issa Diallo from injury, with Luke Chadwick and Robbie Simpson dropping to the bench. Richard Tait was also restored to the starting line-up at the expense of Liam Hughes.
And the U’s could have been in front straight from kick off, with Kwesi Appiah and Elliott making tracks through the middle before finding Dunk, whose shot was blocked by Roche.
United’s front two were a handful for the Shrimps’ defence throughout the half, winning numerous headers, and from one such Appiah flick Elliott found space in the box but turned and fired over the bar.
Indeed, it was somewhat against the run of play when the Shrimps took the lead in the 16th minute. Ellison did brilliantly to dig out a cross down by the left touchline, and as the U’s defence allowed the ball to bounce Mullin nipped in to nod home.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of United, but they were soon back on the offensive, and Appiah drew a fine save from Roche with a header from Donaldson’s corner which the visiting stopper did well to parry to safety.
Morecambe were dangerous on the break, with Ellison shooting over when well placed, but the U’s ended the half strongly, Appiah again going close with a powerful low shot that Roche blocked.
Richard Money made a double change at the break, sending Liam Hughes and Luke Chadwick on for Dunk and Issa DialloAnd the U’s roared out of the traps in the second half, drawing level in the 56th minute. An attempted cross from Chadwick appeared to be deflected off a defender and spun up perfectly for Elliott, who climbed at the far post to power his header home.
But the lead lasted just five minutes, as United failed to deal with Drummond’s ball in from the left, and Mullin, who had just returned to the pitch after receiving treatment for a head injury, was able to control at the far post, step inside a lunging challenge and smash the ball past the helpless Dunn.
Morecambe’s goal led a charmed life as the U’s went in search of an equaliser, Roche making a brilliant save to foil Chadwick as he looked set to score from eight yards out. Then a Hughes long throw caused chaos, but shots from Coulson and Donaldson were blocked by diving defenders.
A flurry of bookings followed as Morecambe successfully ran down the clock, and though headers from Elliott and Coulson flashed just wide, United were unable to force an equaliser. The U’s will be back in action next Saturday, when they host Carlisle.
Cambridge United: Dunn, Tait, Taylor, Coulson, Bonner, Donaldson, Dunk (Chadwick 45), Champion, Diallo (Hughes 45), Elliott, Appiah (Simpson 67). Subs not used: Norris, Hunt, Simpson, Sam-Yorke, Stockley.
Morecambe: Rochae, Beeley, Wilso , Hughes, Doyle, Wright, Drummond (Kenyon 67), Fleming (Goodall 67), Devitt, Mullin (Redshaw 75), Ellison. Subs not used: Arestidou, Sampson, Williams, Amond.
Referee: Mr C.Breakspear
Attendance: 3,152 (away 103)