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Fixture News

In opposition: Morecambe - ones to watch

1 January 2022

Goals come from two sources on the Morecambe Football Club squad – that being Cole Stockton and Adam Phillips.

Stockton leads Sky Bet League One with 16 goals scored and setting up two more goals, while the services of Phillips have supplied the Shrimps with six goals and two assists.

After that, three players are on two goals each: striker Jonah Ayunga, defender Anthony O’Connor and forward Arthur Gnahoua.

Phillips is set to miss a second spell this season with injury, while illness has ravaged the Morecambe squad in recent weeks. However, despite these recent rash of injuries and illness, Morecambe are just two points off safety from possible securing a second consecutive season in League One, after earning promotion last season.

 

Jonah Ayunga 

Born in Beaminster, Jonah Ayunga signed a two-year deal to join Morecambe in July 2021, arriving at the Mazuma Stadium after spending a season with Bristol Rovers, who were relegated following the 2020/21 season. The striker represents Kenya internationally as his father is Kenyan. Beginning his youth career at Bridport Youth in 2007, Ayunga signed his first professional contract in 2015, joining Dorchester Town.

After scoring eight goals in 24 appearances for the club in 2015/16, he moved to Brighton & Hove Albion in summer of 2016. Though he never played a game for the first team, he was loaned to Burgess Hill Town, Sligo Rovers, Galway United and Poole Town until the end of his Seagulls contract in 2018. At that time, he signed to play with Sutton United. At Sutton, Ayunga scored four goals in 28 appearances for the club, also making a loan transition that would eventually become permanent with Havant & Waterlooville.

At Bristol Rovers in 2020/21, Ayunga scored three goals in 30 games, including a brace against Portsmouth in February 2021. This season for Morecambe, Ayunga has scored two goals and netted an assist – with the goals coming against Plymouth Argyle and Wycombe, respectfully. He has a 0.69 shots on target average for the season, as well as a 33.3% shots on target ratio. He is scoring at a 0.22 goals per shots on target.

 

Anthony O’Connor

A veteran defender with plenty of EFL experience, Anthony O’Connor joined Morecambe in June 2021, signing a two-year deal with the Shrimps.

He arrived at the Mazuma Stadium after spending three seasons with Bradford City. At Bradford City, the Republic of Ireland international appeared in more than 125 games for the club, scoring eight goals in the process. He served as club captain during a portion of the 2018/19 season. He spent two successful seasons at Aberdeen (2016-18), as manager Derek McInnes said he could become a star. He scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 victory away from home to Partick Thistle in November 2016, going on to complete the 2016/17 season with three goals en route to helping Aberdeen to the Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup final. The squad finished second in the Scottish Premiership that season behind Celtic. During the 2017/18 season, he helped Aberdeen during the Europa League qualifiers.

Born in Cork, O’Connor has represented his home country on the international level with each of the U17, U19 and U21 teams, respectively. This season, O’Connor has been a mainstay on the team sheet in the Shrimps defence, winning a team-best 44 interceptions to go along with a team second-most 27 tackles won.

 

Cole Stockton

Since arriving at the Mazuma Stadium in 2019, Huyton-born Cole Stockton has been firing on all cylinders. Stockton inked a two-year deal with the club, which was, in fact, his third time joining the Shrimps. Previously, he served two different loan spells at the club in 2016 and 2017, respectively, from his parent club Tranmere Rovers, where he spent seven seasons across two spells (2011-17, 2018-19).

Already this season, Stockton has been awarded the EFL League One Player of the Month award for August, scoring four goals in five matches for the Shrimps and for September when he scored five goals in six games. Additionally, he was awarded the Goal of the Month award in each month with his stunning opening-day goal against Ipswich Town, followed by his strike from 40 yards out against AFC Wimbledon in September.

Across all competitions this season, Stockton leads Sky Bet League One with 16 goals, averaging 0.64 goals per contest. This includes an average of 0.72 goals plus assists per game for the Shrimps. His 16 goals have come from 34 shots on target this season, giving him a team-leading 40% shots on target average. Stockton is also averaging 3.40 shots per game.

Stockton was a doubt earlier this week, but manager Robinson said he was hopeful the striker would feature on Sunday.

 

Jonathan Obika

Another first-year striker for the Shrimps, Jonathan Obika joined Morecambe in June 2021, after spending the two previous seasons at St. Mirren in the Scottish Premiership.

In his two seasons (2019-21) with St. Mirren, Obika scored 13 goals in 64 appearances for the club – eight of these goals came in the league.

His career began in the youth system with Tottenham Hotspur, where he spent two years (2006-08), until signing his first professional contract with the club in 2008. Failing to appear in the first team in six years at Spurs, Obika served numerous loan spells until 2014, playing for the likes of Yeovil Town, Crystal Palace, Millwall, Brighton & Hove Albion and Charlton Athletic. In 2014, Obika moved to Swindon Town, scoring 25 goals in 94 appearances for the club across three seasons, until his departure in 2017. Upon leaving Swindon Town, he spent the next two years (2017-19) with Oxford United.

Internationally, Obika has played for the England U19 and U20 squads, being capped three times.

In his first season with the Shrimps, thus far Obika has picked up increasingly more playing time across the last two games. He has started in three of the last four games overall for the Shrimps, but is still waiting to score his first goal for the club. He has registered two shots, including one in Morecambe’s last game against Crewe Alexandra.

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