GARRY Thompson had been the pre-match guest at the caravan park across the road from the Globe Arena.

Run by City fan Dan Thornton, Ocean Edge has been a popular venue down the years for supporters to mingle with former players.

Stuart McCall, Peter Jackson and Dean Windass have previously entertained the early arrivals the night before in “Bradford by the sea”.

The Bantams always descend on force to the seaside town that used to provide the annual holiday for mill staff. Another sell-out 1,675 following swelled Saturday’s attendance to nearly double Morecambe’s crowd most weeks.

But City teams down the years can vouch for the fact that Morecambe are not so welcoming on the pitch.

Thompson was a scorer for the home side when they beat Stuart McCall’s team in their first league encounter in 2007.

McCall suffered again the following season from an outrageous call against Peter Thorne as the promotion wheels came off.

And two years on, Phil Parkinson scrambled a last-gasp point in his first game in charge thanks to a last-gasp Ross Hannah leveller.

It may be one of the friendliest away grounds to visit but there have been no gimmes where City are concerned.

Not a lot changes around the club – Jim Bentley, the longest-serving manager in the top four divisions, goalkeeper Barry Roche and the ageless Kevin Ellison are part of the fixtures and fittings.

Gary Bowyer was glad to avoid the “banana skin” headlines that would have followed any defeat to a side without a home win since Easter Monday.

But equally, he knew there was no danger of “Shrimps pasted” being the post-match angle knowing the underdog mentality instilled down the years by Bentley.

Defeat sent Morecambe to the bottom but there were certainly not 21 places between the teams. The margins were much finer.

Talking to locals, their team’s performance was easily the best after the thin pickings previously. But then we all know that Morecambe always turn up for this particular fixture.

But Bowyer’s men are developing that knack of finding ways to win games.

This was their fifth in seven since the start of September as the team begin to hit their stride.

Bowyer, once again, acknowledged the improving league position with the hint of a smile and no more. He’s in it for the long haul and nothing, in his eyes, has been achieved so far.

That’s not technically true. The change in mentality as the players grow used to winning is such a welcome contrast from before.

The belief builds with each positive result.

A win over the club with just seven previous points may not mean much for anyone looking in from the outside.

But it was another traditionally tricky hurdle cleared and confidence levels edge that little bit higher.

“They were no better than us,” grumbled an elderly gent in Morecambe scarf as he stopped to catch his breath by the press box. “We just didn’t take our chances.”It was a fair assessment after the Shrimps had conjured up 26 attempts on City’s goal and struck the woodwork twice.

But Bowyer’s men have shown they are a resilient bunch and did not succumb to the Morecambe pressure until a stoppage-time consolation that came too late to threaten a headline re-write.

The City boss had kept faith with 10 of the 11 that had sparkled against Swindon. The only difference was enforced as a banged knee in training for Kelvin Mellor meant another chance at right back for Adam Henley.

James Vaughan made his comeback from last week’s ban off the bench as Bowyer reminded the rest that places are won on performance not reputation.

He might have been questioning the wisdom of holding back the captain when Clayton Donaldson missed another gilt-edged chance during a listless first half.

The catalogue of key misses for the target man continues to grow; his selfless work with back to goal watered down by a habit of wasting opportunities that look far easier to score.

Hope Akpan, whose Bantam redemption continues, was the instigator with a driving run forward. Zeli Ismail’s low cross into the goal-mouth was begging to be finished but Donaldson smuggled it wide.

The heaving away end groaned as the rest of the half drifted past with little to keep the interest.

Bowyer stirred the tempo at the break and City’s new-found intent earned a reward within 100 seconds of the resumption.

It was Akpan with the breakthrough again as it had been against Swindon, finishing a counter-attack he had begun by pickpocketing Adam Buxton inside his own half.

The ball was whisked out to Dylan Connolly who switched on the after-burners to attack a frantically retreating defence.

The winger looked to be caught in the box but as City looked for a possible penalty, Akpan was in support to steer home the loose ball.

City were “on their way” according to the lyrics of the travelling army as the promotion choruses were rolled out.

But chances to put Morecambe away were not taken. Zeli Ismail and Harry Pritchard were not far off before substitute Aramide Oteh headed down and over from a free position virtually right in front.

Morecambe had thrown on Ellison by that point and the wily veteran pepped them up as an attacking force.

With City’s advantage still slender, his header came back off the bar after Anthony O’Connor had cleared off the line.

Roche, a mere spring chicken compared to his team-mate at 37, defied O’Connor at the other end before the Bantams got that breathing space.

Pritchard fed Oteh in the box and the striker made up for his previous miss with a deadly finish across the keeper.

The away end had a new hero but even then Morecambe refused to take the hint.

Richard O’Donnell got a superb touch to turn Cole Stockton’s drive on to the post, the Morecambe sub dragging his follow-up across goal and wide, and Shaun Miller headed on to the top of the net from a couple of yards out.

Tom Brewitt did finally peg one back with virtually the final touch but it had no impact other than ripping up the clean sheet bonus for another week.

Sixteen points from the last seven games is an increasingly-impressive haul. In the words of the famous figure on Morecambe seafront, City continue to bring the sunshine.