Morecambe 1 Rochdale 1

Morecambe and Rochdale fought out a tough 1-1 draw in a game where the referee took centre stage.

The performance of Kevin Friend left both managers fuming at the end with Morecambe boss Sammy McIlroy angered by his decision to send off striker Michael Twiss in the second half for a high, but hardly malicious, challenge on Dale's Kelvin Lomax.

Visiting boss Keith Hill backed Twiss but was left annoyed himself after a late goal from Glenn Murray was ruled out after he latched on to Steven Drench's fumble.

In the end it was a game that could have gone either way with both sides feeling they could have snatched the three points.

After a bright start from Rochdale it was Morecambe that took the lead in the 17th minute when central defender David Artell headed home Michael Howard's free-kick from close range.

Rochdale came back with Murray firing wide on two occasions and shooting straight at Drench when Scott Taylor was better placed before Adam Rundle also drilled an effort wide of the upright.

The visitors started the second half brightly with Murray seeing the first of two disallowed efforts and Gary Jones volleying inches wide of the right-hand post.

Rochdale's pressure paid off when they equalised on 55 minutes with a goal that was a replica of Morecambe's effort when Ben Muirhead's left-wing free-kick was headed home by the promising Rory McArdle.

That goal saw Morecambe spark into life with Matty Blinkhorn denied his first goal of the season by a superb James Spencer save before the Twiss sending off halted their charge.

Dale should have won the game 20 minutes from time when McArdle headed wide from six yards out with Drench stranded, but the Morecambe keeper made amends in the closing stages with a fine save from Lomax's long-range shot that was destined for the bottom right-hand corner.

Gary Thompson hit back for the Shrimps with two long-range efforts that sizzled past the upright but both sides had to settle for a draw.