EVEN Morecambe’s mouth on the mic wanted in on the act.

“Well done to Derek Adams” boomed the PA announcer as the man in the spotlight could not resist a cheeky wave aimed in the direction of his West Yorkshire detractors.

The Scot’s divisive presence had been front and centre beforehand, during the game and now in the immediate aftermath.

So much for Mark Hughes’ pre-match words about “shrugging off” any sideshow.

Hughes himself snapped at one well-oiled patron in the hospitality seats who thought it would be funny to heckle his media interviews.

It was a wretched day for the Bantams boss who was serenaded with a lusty chorus of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” from the gloating Morecambe public.

This was as bad as it’s been for Hughes since he took the City reins from Adams 18 months ago.

Colchester away early in his first season was awful but that was from a largely scratch side slapped together as an experiment to make up his mind about the fringe players.

There were no such excuses for this debacle; a shambolic, half-hearted effort from a team whose minds never seemed on the job from the start.

Complacency writ large through the non-performance. Compared with their eager hosts, City were a good yard off it in body and mind.

They lacked any kind of tempo and please can anyone explain the game plan. Adams could not have dreamed of such a perfect outcome in his first encounter with the club since the axe fell.

Chief executive Ryan Sparks, the man who made that call in February last year, will have been squirming in his seat watching City’s feeble response to a Morecambe side who clearly wanted it more.

The Shrimps did not have to be world-beaters. They just worked hard, pressed hard, ran hard and took the chances presented their way by the opposition’s sloppiness.

This was not how it was meant to be for the packed 1,600-strong away terrace who had come to gloat and goad the figure in the home dug-out.

Every one of their songs in the early stages centred on Adams this, Adams that - that was until Morecambe’s lively start was rewarded with a breakthrough.

Cue the home voices coming to life with a chorus of support for their gaffer. It was not only in the nearby bay where the tide was turning.

City looked pretty much out of their depth all afternoon.

Sluggish from the start, they found little momentum about their play as Morecambe’s young, eager legs hustled them into frequent mistakes.

Moments like Ciaran Kelly allowing a goal kick to bounce under his swishing foot to send the dangerous Michael Mellon baring down on goal.

Or Daniel Oyegoke strangely deciding not to take a shot in the box at the end of City’s most fluent move of a dire first half, instead choosing to pass - with the ball barely dribbling off his foot.

It was not the introduction that Lewis Richards would have envisaged with the ink still wet on his two-year deal.

But the former Wolves man could not be blamed for what went wrong around him.

By the low bar of City’s general standard, he was arguably the best of a very poor bunch. At least he looked like he knew what he was doing in his natural left-wing back role.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: It was a much easier watch for Derek Adams than Mark HughesIt was a much easier watch for Derek Adams than Mark Hughes (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Three areas of the game let the Bantams down - defence, midfield and attack.

Fingers could be pointed for all the Morecambe goals while there was precious little going the other way.

Don’t be fooled by the stats suggesting City had the bulk of chances on target. Home keeper Stuart Moore had a very straight-forward afternoon.

Andy Cook is still looking for that elusive kick-start to his season. His fifth attempt to break the duck never looked like producing anything.

Barring one late effort straight at Moore, Cook was suffocated of any hint of goal by his constant shadow Jacob Bedeau.

And more often than not, the Morecambe centre half was assisted by one, sometimes two more red shirts to keep City’s number nine in the tightest shackles when it came to set-pieces or throw-ins.

The midfield failed to spark with even Alex Pattison, the scoring sensation of the early weeks, surprisingly muted as Morecambe’s extra energy held sway.

While at the back, the question marks still hover on the change of system with Michael Mellon stretching and exposing the lack of pace.

Hughes ditched the three for a flat back four at half-time but the damage had been done.

Morecambe led midway through the first half when Yann Songo’o turned too quickly for former team-mate Richie Smallwood who clipped him just outside the City box.

Harry Lewis lined up the wall for Mellon’s kick - and was then beaten inside the left-hand post that he should have had covered. The stopper’s sticky start to the campaign goes on.

Adams raged that Morecambe should have had a penalty - and Sam Stubbs should have had a red card - for a nudge on Mellon as he shot after bursting through on the stroke of half-time.

But any let-off made no difference for the out-of-sorts Bantams.

Kevin McDonald’s addition for Kelly to change the shape brought a bit more solidity. For a time, there was the suggestion of a rally as the fans roared them forward.

They were almost gifted an equaliser when Eli King's header from a Smallwood free-kick bounced past his own post.



The sight of Bobby Pointon lining up for his competitive debut as part of a triple sub raised the volume higher - but the “one of our own” anthem was instantly stifled by a Morecambe second goal while he waited to come on.

It was a shocker for Smallwood, the skipper miscuing a clearance straight up in the air and then failing to track back when JJ McKiernan hoovered it up.

Instead, the meandering Smallwood allowed McKiernan to exchange passes with Tom Bloxham and Mellon to work his way into the box and beat Lewis for his first EFL goal.

The pain was not over as Jake Taylor slipped in between Liam Ridehalgh and McDonald, who brought him down. Mellon gleefully sent Lewis the wrong way from the spot.

It was the first penalty Morecambe had converted since former Bantams loanee Dylan Connolly scored at Wigan in March 2022 and put the lid on the most miserable of trips to the seaside.

Two defeats in the opening four games, against two unfancied teams, have got the knives out early.

Adams will have recognised the signs as the boos rung out from the City end. Hughes has this spare week to conjure an instant and emphatic reaction when they return to Valley Parade.