We will begin this week’s delve into the archives in reverse order, beginning with earlier this season when a Billy Clifford corner was sufficient to take the points off Morecambe during a curious run of one goal in six matches, but four clean sheets in five.
The Reds emerged 3-2 winners over Morecambe at the Globe Arena at the end of September 2016 after one of the most exciting games of last season. All five goals in the extraordinary contest came in the final 18 minutes. Substitute Adi Yussuf got the scoring underway in the 72nd minute before he teed up James Collins ten minutes later to double Reds’ advantage. Michael Rose curled home an eye-catching free-kick to half the deficit only for Jimmy Smith to find the far corner to restore the two-goal lead.
There was still time for Cole Stockton to volley home on the half turn, but we held on for our first League win in five attempts over today’s opponents. In the rematch, we found ourselves 2-0 down inside the first ten minutes and three down by half-time as our home form began to suffer. Collins’ penalty late on continued his excellent home scoring record, but was no more than a consolation in a 3-1 defeat.
The previous season Rhys Murphy scored in a 3-1 defeat on a Tuesday night at the Globe Arena with the game at Crawley in March 2016 finishing 1-1, Matt Harrold on target for Reds as we picked up enough points in March to effectively secure our safety in League Two.
Our previous meetings were back in the 2011-12 season, our first in the Football League, when we endured a torrid September afternoon on the Lancashire coast, hammered 6-0 in the rain. We drew 1-1 in the return game six years ago next Wednesday, Scott Neilson our scorer that night.
There had been another lengthy gap prior to that, dating back to our days in the National League. We experienced contrasting fortunes in the 2006-07 season as the Shrimps enjoyed a first ever promotion to the League, while this was during a turbulent year that saw us in administration. That said, the first encounter here in October kicked off at noon due to international fixtures and the slightly surreal surroundings clearly affected the visitors as we ran out 4-0 victors, with a hat-trick from young striker Scott Rendell. The return clash in March saw Morecambe gain revenge en route to clinching their play-off spot, winning courtesy of a single goal at their old Christie Park home.
In the campaign before that, we were on the wrong end of the result in both matches. Firstly, in August 2005, our difficult and goalless start continued up at Christie Park when two Phil Smith errors gifted the hosts second-half goals for Michael Twiss and Garry Thompson, before Thompson added his second late on.
Back here in January 2006 a brace from Stuart Barlow put the visitors in charge. Darryl Clare pulled one back for us, but David Perkins sealed the points.
There were much happier times in our first ever season in the top tier of non-league football as the first meeting between the clubs saw us triumph 2-1 in Lancashire, Danny Davidson and Danny Marney on the mark in November 2004. The return match attracted the Sky Sports cameras on a famous night here. John Robinson scored on his debut to give us the lead before Neil Jenkins made it two before half-time. The second half had a bit of everything, including snow and a streaker, but only future Red Lee Elam’s strike gave the visitors some hope. Victory took us to second in the table, and although we eventually finished in 12th that night was the regarded by many as the best moment during the Duly family’s time in charge of the club.
Pictured: Reds celebrate Billy Clifford's winner at the Globe Arena earlier in the season. Photo by James Boardman