Simon Grayson admitted Morecambe’s stoppage-time goal, to give them a 2-1 win, was a real hammer blow to his Fleetwood side.
The Cod Army had looked like rescuing a point when Callum Johnson’s header 10 minutes from time cancelled out Callum Jones’ first-half goal for the Shrimps.
But Cole Stockton hit a fantastic winner after 94 minutes, spotting keeper Alex Cairns off his line and beating him from the centre circle to give Morecambe bragging rights in a hard-fought Lancashire derby.
And Grayson, whose side are on a seven-game winless run, could not hide his disappointment.
“We got the goal and all of a sudden we’re asking questions of them and it looked like we were going to get the next goal, it looked like we were going to win it,” said the Fleetwood boss.
“We went close, and then you see what a cruel sport football is.
“You think it’s going to be a 1-1 draw, which we’d probably have taken given where we had been. Then their lad scores from where he does, a great goal from his point of view, disappointing from our perspective, and it’s a big hammer blow to us.
“When you see it you hope it’s going to miss the target or sail over the bar but the way it’s going for us at the moment it flies in, so full credit to the player, but it’s a hard pill for us to take. That dressing room is really hurt, I’m really hurt.
“I’m hugely disappointed to lose that game, it’s a derby and to lose it in that manner really disappoints us.”
The aftermath of Stockton’s dramatic winner saw Fleetwood substitute Anthony Pilkington receive his second yellow card for dissent, and Grayson added: “Luck isn’t going our way at this moment in time, we just need a break to get us out of this tough time.
“As you can imagine they’re pretty downbeat in there. Two yellow cards for Pilks (Pilkington) for dissent isn’t great. That’s another massive disappointment for us as well.”
While Grayson licked his wounds, Morecambe manager Stephen Robinson was quick to praise his matchwinner for a memorable strike, which came moments after a goalscoring chance for the hosts and prompted him into a rarely-seen moment of joy on the touchline.
“I thought we deserved the win,” he said.
“We had total control of the game, we had more possession in the bottom third of the pitch and we hit them on the counter-attack lots of times.
“We had a shout for a stonewall penalty moments before they went up the pitch to score. We came back again after their goal and Cole’s goal was stunning, an absolute stunner.
“I keep joking with Cole about what a player he’d be if he had a left foot. Maybe he doesn’t need one if he keeps scoring goals like that, though. It certainly wasn’t luck, that goal, he has led us all season, he’s scored a lot and his hold-up play today was very good as well.
“It’s not often I celebrate goals too much but it’s hard not to celebrate that kind of goal. You tend to think ‘here we go again’ when we had control of the game and we let them have possession and then score but we have a group of boys that never say die, they just don’t give up and I think they got their just rewards today.”
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