Blackpool 0-2 Morecambe: Antony Evans and Matty Virtue handed starts as Seasiders lose in Squires Gate friendly

Deadline day signing Antony Evans was handed a start against the side he played for on loan during the 2016/17 season
Deadline day signing Antony Evans was handed a start against the side he played for on loan during the 2016/17 season
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Deadline day signings Matty Virtue and Antony Evans were handed starts as Blackpool were beaten 2-0 by Morecambe in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

READ MORE: Joe Bunney and John O'Sullivan are great lads but had to move on, says Blackpool boss Terry McPhillips

Fellow January arrivals Nya Kirby and Elias Sorensen also featured against the Shrimps, who named a strong side after their weekend fixture against Oldham Athletic was postponed.

Goals in either half from Kevin Ellison and Rhys Oates proved to be the difference in a game played out in blustery and damp conditions at Squires Gate.

It was Jim Bentley’s side who made the brighter start to the game, establishing their authority on possession against a youthful and makeshift Blackpool outfit.

Pool did have appeals for a penalty waved away early on after Nathan Shaw’s cross from the left inadvertently crashed into the arm of defender Sam Lavelle, but the referee ruled it was accidental.

After a brief lull in the game, Morecambe came closing the breaking the deadlock through Jordan Cranston who shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Teammate Kevin Ellison, who was a constant threat down the left for the visitors, atoned for Cranston’s miss by giving Morecambe the lead after taking advantage of some lax Blackpool defending to lift the ball over goalkeeper Jack Sims and into the back of the net from close range.

To Blackpool’s credit, they responded well and Kirby - the Seasiders’ brightest spark - shot just wide of the top corner with an effort on his left foot.

Sorensen should have levelled the scoring when he did well to engineer some space for himself on the edge of the area only to drag a bobbled effort wide of the Morecambe goal.

The Seasiders grew in confidence at this point and came close again on the stroke of half time, Joe Dodoo - on his return from injury - almost finding the bottom corner with a clever shot on the turn after being teed up via a short corner, only to see his effort well saved.

Blackpool continued their strong spell of pressure at the start of the second half, Evans - playing against the side he previously enjoyed a loan spell with - almost setting up a teammate after cutting the ball back across the face of the Morecambe goal after being played in down the left.

Kirby, who showed superb quality on the ball throughout, also saw a shot blocked as Blackpool camped themselves in the Morecambe half, only to lack that cutting edge.

Sorensen and Kirby combined with a promising Blackpool attack, the former providing a dangerous ball to the latter who couldn’t quite get a shot away at goal.

Jordan Cranston curled a 25-yard free-kick just over the bar for the visitors before substitute Rhys Oates went close to doubling Morecambe’s lead with a looping shot that Sims did well to save.

Shaw, another of Blackpool’s strongest performers, whipped in a teasing ball from the left that just evaded Dodoo with the on-loan Rangers man at full stretch.

Shaw, now playing on the right of midfield following a swathe of substitutions, opened up some space for himself having cut inside his marker allowing the youngster to unleash a drilled effort that was straight at the Morecambe keeper.

Blackpool’s standout youth-team performer was clearly enjoying himself at this point as he produced a sublime backheel to play in Evans, who was denied by a smart save.

Pool pushed men forwards in the dying moments as they searched for a late equaliser, but they were subsequently punished on the break as Oates doubled Morecambe’s lead with the last kick of the game, turning his marker in and out before firing low into the bottom corner beyond Sims’ dive.

TEAMS

Blackpool: Sims, Nottingham, Avon, Anderton, Shaw, Taylor, Virtue, Evans, Kirby, Dodoo, Sorensen

Morecambe: Halstead, Mills, Lavelle, Sutton, Conlan, Kenyon, Tutte, Mingoia, Ellison, Bennett, Cranston