A Will Smith own goal with less than a minute on the clock was enough to condemn Town to defeat this afternoon at The EnviroVent Stadium.
Following the early setback Town struggled to find their back into the game, which was a largely scrappy affair that saw little in the way of chances being created.
Simon Weaver made three changes from the 2-1 defeat last weekend at Forest Green with Connor Hall, Simon Power and Aaron Martin coming back into the side. Warren Burrell, Ed Francis and Mark Beck all dropped down to the bench.
For the visitors, who came into the game positioned in the final playoff spot, there were two changes with Nathaniel Knight-Percival and Alex Kenyon coming in for Kelvin Lavelle and Yann Songo’o.
Town headed into the game eight points behind the visitors and eyeing the win that would put them five points behind.
Their hopes were dealt a blow less than a minute into the game though when the Shrimps grabbed the lead, a fast break down the left from Carlos Mendes Gomes resulted in his shot deflecting off Smith past James Belshaw.
The early setback shook Town and the visitors had a great chance to double their lead minutes later but after Belshaw had stopped John O’Sulivan’s strike they were grateful that Mendes Gomes’s rebounded effort rocketed back off the post to safety.
On 16 minutes Morecambe again threatened when the lively Cole Stockton was played through with Belshaw at full strength to tip away the danger.
After spending the early stages on the ropes Town finally began to find their feet, primarily thanks to the presence in attack of Martin.
His header on the half-hour mark from Simon Power’s hooked cross was not far off target and signalled Town’s intent.
After Power’s electric run won Town a free-kick on the edge of the area Connor Hall hit his half-chance well over.
And right on the stroke of half-time Town almost snatched an equaliser when from Thomson’s deep free-kick
Martin’s header flashed narrowly wide.
With the change of ends at the break Town had the strong wind behind them but despite needing to get an early foothold back into the game were struggling to maintain possession and create the opportunities needed.
The most meaningful chance of the early stages of the half fell to the visitors when Harry Davis headed over a free-kick at the far post.
With Town eyes increasingly moving towards the clock and time running out they got a boost when Nathaniel Knight-Percival was shown his second yellow card to reduce the Shrimps to ten men.
Mark Beck was immediately thrown into the fray by Weaver in place of Martin and Town almost profited when the ten-men of Morecambe somehow scrambled away not once, but twice from a corner.
This would be the last action in the opposition penalty area as despite the numerical disadvantage Town failed to test Kyle Letheren in the Morecambe goal.
Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Jones, Smith, Hall, Power, Falkingham, Thomson, McPake (Kiernan, 87), Martin (Beck, 75), Muldoon.
Subs not used: Minter, Burrell, Francis, Williams.
Booked: (Jones 72)
Morecambe: Letheren, Mellor, Knight-Percival, Davis, Diagouraga, Stockton (Cooney, 79), Wildig, Mendes Gomes (McAlinden, 82), Kenon, O’Sullivan.
Subs not used: Halstead, Pringle, Denny, Price.
Goals: Smith OG (1),
Booked: Knight-Percival (39), Stockton (44), Gibson (89), O’Sullivan (90).
Sent off: Knight-Percival (75)
Referee: Joshua Smith.