United were denied in the last minute of stoppage time as Morecambe picked up a point right at the death. A header from Jack Redshaw from a corner stopped United in their tracks after Alfie Potter's goal on the hour looked as though it had given the U's a win.
The unchanged U’s dominated much of the game and should have been in front inside four minutes with two great pieces of approach play ending with the final pass wide of the mark. The second, which saw Sean Rigg cross when he had the keeper in his sights, underlined a nervousness throughout the team in front of goal which had held United back in recent weeks but there was no faulting the determination as they penned the visitors back in the opening stages.
Two further Alfie Potter crosses caused problems, Tom Craddock got under a tenth minute shot, then a bending effort from Craddock on 13 flashed just the wrong side of the far post. Again, a delightful pass from Liam Davis had created that opportunity and some of the football was very easy on the eye in the first fifteen minutes before the tempo dipped a little and the game quietened down.
Good patient play between Scott Davies and Damian Batt allowed the full back to cross an inviting ball on 28 which Potter headed wide, but there was a let off on 37 as Morecambe’s Stewart Drummond powered in a header from a corner which was going in until Scott Davies cleared from on the line. That would have been harsh on United who had bossed the opening 45 minutes without finding a breakthrough.
They really should have done so on 55 after yet more patient build up allowed Batt to tee up Craddock with a chance ten yards out. The striker went for power rather than placement and the ball cleared the bar by some distance. Having had so much possession a goal was coming and on the hour it was Potter who had that little bit of magic to produce it. Yet more good play from Rigg on the left allowed him to cross for his fellow winger, who turned his man superbly then hammered in a shot from a difficult angle. Keeper Barry Roche got something on it but only succeeded in parrying the ball into the net to give United a deserved lead.
They might have doubled it four minutes later as Rigg’s low shot was very well saved by Roche but the game opened up after the first goal and United's front men were finding more space. The ever reliable Wright and Raynes had mostly had the measure of the Morecambe forwards and that allowed full backs Damian Batt and Liam Davis to get forward; Batt had two shots from the edge of the area whistle over the bar while Davis was a constant outlet on the left.
Kevin Ellison, who always seems to do well against the U's flashed a shot just over on 80, Andrew Wright was off target from distance on 82, but Morecambe had never truly tested Luke McCormick until a 94th minute corner was swung in and Redshaw thumped his header home.
Very hard on United but chances had come and gone once again and they paid a final heartbreaking price by dropping two priceless points in the cruellest of fashions.
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Report by Chris Williams, photography by Steve Daniels, stats by PA Sports