For all their off-field problems, Morecambe arrived at the Keepmoat unbeaten in 2017 – as well as unpaid – and any hopes of them capitulating to a relentless Rovers juggernaut soon proved unfounded.
It was a nervous afternoon for the Rovers defence, outwitted by Morecambe’s set piece rituals on several occasions. Predictably, on 25 minutes it was a simple corner that found Peter Murphy in acres of space, allowing him ample time to give Morecambe the lead.
The rest of the match was a tale of Rovers frustrations; never really able to find their rhythm as Morecambe continually closed them down with an effective mix of highly organised defensive play and occasional thuggery. Kevin Ellison in particular seemed determined to stud-sign every Rovers shin he could find. Contrastingly, the Shrimpers treated every dead ball with the air of a beachfront stroll, making the eventual six minutes stoppage time feel somewhat insubstantial.
The officials – who also seemed to be daydreaming of seaside holidays – glibly waved on all such infractions, some incidents worse than James Coppinger’s three match ban-worthy fracas, not even deemed worth a talking to.
John Marquis did grab his 18th of the season on 55 minutes, a classy side-foot ensuring Rovers made it nine games unbeaten. And to Morecambe’s credit, what they lacked in finesse they more than made up for in teamwork and determination, whilst defensively they excelled in every department. Some may deem this two dropped points, but in reality it was a game Rovers could easily have lost.