Super Whelpdale sinks Morecambe with a hat-trick in seven-goal thriller
- Credit: Archant
Match report: Stevenage 4 Morecambe 3
Chris Whelpdale’s stunning hat-trick fired Stevenage to all three points in a thrilling team performance at home to Morecambe.
The winger followed up two edge-of-the box strikes with a close-range effort on the hour to make it five matches unbeaten for Teddy Sheringham’s men.
It was a feast of football from Boro, who had taken a seventh-minute lead through Dean Wells and also missed two first-half penalties.
The first, taken by Ben Kennedy, was at a good height for Barry Roche and he saved to his right, while the next, from Whelpdale, was low and too close to the keeper.
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Morecambe scored a couple of late goals to add to Kevin Ellison’s earlier effort, but Boro were able to hold on for a second win in the space of a week.
Just as they did at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday, Stevenage went ahead early in this game.
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The hosts had won a corner after Tom Pett’s low shot was kept out by Roche, but when the set piece came in the Morecambe goalkeeper dived full length to punch it clear – and missed. The ball dropped to Wells at the far post, and he had enough time to take a touch before blasting it into the roof of the net just as he had at Yeovil earlier this month.
Despite their strong start the hosts conceded to Kevin Ellison’s half-volley with 13 minutes gone. The midfielder’s initial effort had bounced back to him, and he made no mistake with the second as he fired past Day.
Boro then had two penalty shouts, but after the referee turned down Pett’s claims for the first he then gave one moments later for a foul on Kennedy.
Played into the box by Ronnie Henry with a superb ball, the teenager was tripped by Alan Goodall and stepped up to take himself only for Roche to parry it clear.
But then disappointment soon turned to joy for Stevenage fans when Whelpdale picked the ball up on the right, cut inside past a couple of defenders and buried his shot past Roche for 2-1 with 20 minutes gone.
The game eventually settled down with Boro looking comfortable in possession, but then on the stroke of half-time they were awarded their second penalty of the afternoon.
Pett was bundled over in the area in injury time with Whelpdale taking over penalty duties only to see Roche save his low drive.
Boro added to their goal tally early in the second half with Whelpdale’s second of the game.
Further out than his earlier goal, he smacked a shot inside the far post from 25 yards to give his side a two-goal cushion. It was a superb strike from a man in form.
Morecambe had the occasional shot at goal, as both Tom Barkhuizen and Aaron Wildig, fired off target, before Whelpdale capped a fine individual display with his hat-trick goal.
The winger started the move, passing out to Kennedy on the left, and he made a run for the far post. When the ball wasn’t dealt with by the Morecambe defence, he was there to turn it in and add gloss to what had been a terrific afternoon for both player and club.
There was still time for the visitors to fire home from the spot thanks to substitute Paul Mullin before Ellison struck home a superb third for his side, but Boro were organised enough to withstand the late pressure and hold on for a deserved three points.
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Ogilvie, Franks (Hughes 75), Wells, Whelpdale (Lee 81), Cox, Tonge, Kennedy, Pett, Matt. Subs: Crowe, McCombe, Gnanduillet, Conlon, Gorman.
Morecambe: Roche, Beeley, Edwards, Barkhuizen, Molyneux (Mullin 46), Goodall (Murphy 16) Ellison, Wildig, Miller (Forrester 73), Wilson, Parrish. Subs: Thompson, Dugdale, Devitt, Doyle.
Ref: Lee Collins