Kendal Town...0, Morecambe 1

A GIVE-AWAY goal eight minutes into the match took the gloss off an otherwise workmanlike performance by Town, who held their own against their Conference League visitors, writes Dennis Aris.

In the seventh minute Town keeper Mark Thornley dived well to save a sharp low drive from Michael Stringfellow, but hero turned villain moments later when Thornley raced off his line and brought down onrushing Danny Carlton.

From the penalty spot highly-rated Wayne Curtis made no mistake, driving the ball low to Thornley's right.

Morecambe created the majority of first half chances. Paul Lloyd headed just over in the 16th minute and on 24 minutes the ever-dangerous Carlton cut in towards the Town goal only for Thornley to spread himself well to beat out the shot from four yards.

Without injured playmaker Lee Ashcroft and prolific scorer Kenny Mayers, Town had only David Foster as front-runner for long periods, but he looked threatening. In the 27th minute the striker did well to pull down a cross from new boy Paul Osbourne, turn and lash a volley just outside the right-hand post.

Two minutes later, in Kendal's best attacking spell of the game right back Paul Rigby made a rare foray into the Morecambe box and his gliding shot across the goal just skimmed the left upright with keeper Scott Davies beaten.

Foster saw another effort go over the bar before the balance of play swung back to Morecambe when Carlton should have doubled their advantage. Jamie Davies hoofed a long lob into the Kendal box and Carlton controlled it immaculately before slipping the ball under Thornley only to see it slide inches wide.

Although Morecambe had shaded the half, Town's back four of Rigby, Ricky Mercer Nigel Taylor and Russ McKenna had done enough to show that they will be capable off dealing with most other outfits in the UniBond League First Division.

The second half was barely two minutes old when Foster appeared to be hauled down from behind in the penalty area, but the referee waved away shouts for a penalty.

Manager Tony Hesketh rang the changes on 50 minutes with Dene Whitall-Williams and David Burrow replacing Rigby and Taylor in defence. John Osbourne, who had a promising home debut on the right wing, was withdrawn in favour of midfielder Dave Woodruffe with Ian Kilford going e wide out right.

Later Paul McMenemy came in at left back, with McKenna going forward to replace left-winger Ged Smith who had a quiet game.

Hard-tackling Mercer, who was the pick of the defence, gave way to Phil Blackwell for the last 10 minutes and, although Morecambe enjoyed the lion's share of possession, their neat passing moves generally floundered on the gritty Town defence.

The nearest the visitors came to scoring was in the 82nd minute when Kendal- born Gary Thompson stooped low to meet a cross, but directed his header inches over the bar.