Pompey denied win as Shrimps keeper scores at the death

Gareth Evans, left, is congratualted by his team-mates after his first-half goal Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans, left, is congratualted by his team-mates after his first-half goal Picture: Joe Pepler
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Pompey were left shattered by a last-ditch leveller from Morecambe keeper Barry Roche tonight.

Roche sensationally headed his side to a 1-1 draw in a sickener for Paul Cook’s troops.

The keeper delivered the dagger blow from a corner in the 95th minute to deny the Blues a win they desperately needed.

Ryan Fulton had just made what appeared to be a match-winning stop to keep out substitute Lee Molyneux.

But then Roche made his dramatic intervention to cancel out Gareth Evans’ first-half opener. It was the last action of the game.

The conditions were going to be a big factor in the match with strong winds in the north west.

That was seen as that man Roche nearly scored from a goal-kick after 16 minutes – but quick foot work from Fulton averted the danger.

Adam Webster looked to have broken the deadlock after 28 minutes from a corner, but Kevin Ellison cleared his left-footed drive off the line.

New-boy Michael Smith offered a tantalising glimpse of his talent after 38 minutes when he beat two Morecambe players before his 25-yarder was deflected for a corner.

Pompey made the breakthrough, however, two minutes later – and the goal was all about Kal Naismith’s surging run.

The Scot charged half the length of the pitch before a perfectly-weighted ball to Evans, who made no mistake.

After a relatively even opening, Pompey were well on top after the goal and the challenge was to capitalise on Morecambe’s brittle confidence after three defeats on the spin.

It looked as if Ben Close had scored direct from a corner seven minutes after the restart, but a combination of a surprised Roche and the bar kept the ball out.

That was moments after Jason Parrish had cleared the danger as Marc McNulty cut back from the byline.

The second half was proving short of chances, though, although Morecambe left-back Luke Conlan produced a lethal cross which no red and black shirt could reach.

Jamie Devitt’s curler gave Pompey concern with nine minutes left but his effort landed on the top off the net after going just over.

Then Fulton kept out sub Molyneux’s drive deep into stoppage-time.

That appeared to be a crucial stop – but then Roche stepped up to head home in bizarre, dramatic and gut-wrenching fashion for the Blues.