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Morecambe 1 (Ellison 78) Oxford United 1 (Worley 88)
HARRY Worley came off the bench to grab a valuable late equaliser as Oxford United salvaged a point from a tight game.
Morecambe looked like they had pinched all three points when Kevin Ellison opened the scoring at a corner 12 minutes from time.
Worley was thrown on as a makeshift centre forward and the defender took his chance superbly by steering in Alfie Potter's cross.
United had dominated the opening exchanges, but were unable to convert their chances into a goal.
Morecambe fought back into the game, which for a long time hung in the balance.
The late goals gave the contest much-needed drama and Worley's cool finish saw United extend their unbeaten run to six games.
Tom Craddock returned to the starting line-up in the only change from the 1-1 draw against Aldershot Town a week earlier.
Liam Davis made way, so Sean Rigg switched back to the left flank as the top scorer joined James Constable up front.
Craddock had looked rusty in his previous appearance, but an extra week's training looked to have done him the world of good.
A chance fell his way after only 12 seconds when a clearance was charged down. It allowed the striker to get a shot away, which flew just wide.
Morecambe's defence looked vulnerable early on, as United worked hard to press them high up the pitch.
Another panicked ricochet fell to Constable, but he slipped while shooting and the chance disappeared.
It set the tone for a dominant opening 25 minutes from the U's, which caused plenty of discontent among the Shrimps fans.
Their best chance came on eight minutes, when Potter slipped a clever ball into Craddock.
The striker should have scored 12 yards out, but he appeared to hesitate - possibly waiting for an offside flag - and his shot was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Barry Roche.
The stopper was busy and could only parry a stinging effort from Damian Batt after a quarter of an hour. From the resulting corner, Rigg headed straight into his arms.
Eventually Morecambe gained a foothold in the game, as United's pressing game began to fade.
Their first chance of the game was also the best of the half, on 25 minutes.
Rigg was caught dawdling in the left back area and when the cross came in Richard Brodie teed up Jack Redshaw. The diminutive striker looked odds-on to score six yards out, but Ryan Clarke produced a fantastic reflex save to turn the header over the bar.
Morecambe shaded the final 20 minutes of the half, although United's defence looked up for the battle and stood firm.
They were only opened up once before the break.
Redshaw's flick sent in Ellison, but Batt read the danger and timed his slide tackle superbly to snuff out the chance.
The second half began with a scrappy spell, with a well-timed block from Jake Wright on Brodie the only opening of note in the first ten minutes.
The game began to open up after the hour mark.
Potter fired one chance into the side netting and blasted another shot over after good work from Constable.
But it took some desperate defending at the other end to keep the game scoreless on 65 minutes.
Gary McDonald burst through the back four, but his shot was kept out by Clarke. The goal was gaping as the rebound fell to Redshaw, who held his head in his hands after Batt thwarted him with an outstanding block.
McDonald came close again shortly afterwards, but his shot hit Ellison and flew just over.
With 12 minutes remaining the deadlock was broken.
Andrew Wright swung in a corner which Ellison bundled over the line from close range.
United's response was to bring on Worley, normally a centre back, as a target man.
It looked a desperate gamble, but two minutes from time it came off.
Potter used Batt as a decoy to run into the box and his cross-shot was expertly steered in by Worley.
It was the final clear chance of the game, as the spoils were shared.
Oxford Utd (4-4-2): Clarke, Batt, Raynes, Wright, Capaldi (Worley 83), Potter, Chapman, Leven, Rigg (Davis 67), Constable, Craddock (Forster-Caskey 90).
Unused subs: Brown, O'Brien, Marsh, Cox.
Morecambe (4-3-3):Roche, Wright, McCready, Fenton (Haining ht), Mustoe (Parrish 88), Drummond, McDonald, Fleming, Brodie, Redshaw (Alessandra 68), Ellison.
Unused subs: Arestidou, Reid, Parkinson, McGee.
Referee: Scott Duncan.