Steve Chettle opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Keston Davies at right back, Dan Jones at left back and Elliott Ward partnering Jamie Turley in the heart of defence. Rob Milsom and Elliott Hewitt shielded the back four, with Enzio Boldewijn, Will Patching and Nathan Thomas playing behind Dennis.
Boldewijn’s afternoon proved to be short-lived, however, as he hobbled off the field with only 10 minutes on the clock. Noor Husin, who represented Afghanistan for the first time earlier in the week, replaced him. It was proving to be a first half of few opportunities, although Notts were looking the more likely side to take the lead. On 25 minutes, Thomas saw an effort deflect off a defender and loop a few yards wide of the post. Following the resultant corner, Ward curled an effort over from the edge of the area. Thomas was having a bright first half and was off-target with a long-range effort shortly before the Magpies had the best chance of the opening 45. It came courtesy of tenacious work from Turley, who won a crunching tackle high up the pitch before rolling the ball into the area for Dennis. For a moment it looked like the forward’s finish had beaten Mark Halstead but the keeper did well to keep it out.
There were no changes for either side at half-time and Morecambe had their first opportunity of the match shortly after the restart, A-Jay Leitch-Smith guiding the ball wide under pressure from Ward. Liam Mandeville followed up with an effort of his own, curling the ball goalwards only for Ross Fitzsimons to tip it wide on the stretch. Any fears of the hosts gaining a grip on the game were extinguished soon afterwards, however, as the Magpies took a deserved lead. It came after a patient spell of passing resulted in Hewitt swinging an excellent cross to the near post, where Dennis stooped bravely to nod the ball home despite Halstead’s best efforts. Patching nearly carved himself an opportunity to make it two shortly afterwards, taking the ball into the area before stumbling at the vital moment. Morecambe’s response came from Ellison, who fired a free-kick comfortably over the bar shortly before Husin was shown yellow for blocking the taking of a Shrimps set piece. Thomas fired a fierce shot over from a narrow angle and Luke Conlan blazed the ball over the bar at the other end as the game entered its final throes. But, cruelly, with two minutes of normal time remaining Ellison was in the right place at the right time to turn the ball home from a corner, drawing the hosts level. Five minutes were added on at the end, during which Kion Etete replaced Dennis. But there was to be no more action as both sides had to settle for a point.
Morecambe: Halstead, Yarney (Thompson 53), Lavelle, Old, Conlan, Kenyon (Oswell 82), Tutte, Cranston, Leitch-Smith, Mandeville (Ellison 53), Oliver.
Notts County: Fitzsimon, Jones, Turley, Ward, Davies, Thomas, Milsom, Hewitt, Patching, Dennis (Etete 95), Boldewijn (Husin 10).