17th March 2018
Morecambe v Exeter City
Exeter City fell to their first defeat in four games in blustery conditions at Morecambe on Saturday.
by Simon Larkins
The Grecians, with the wind in their favour first half, started the match brightly and were deservedly in front when Pierce Sweeney found the bottom corner. However, they conceded a soft goal from a corner shortly after and then Michael Rose hit an effort home in the closing stages of the second half to give Jim Bentley's side a much-needed three points in their battle against the drop.
Manager Paul Tisdale made three changes to the side that had drawn 1-1 with Yeovil Town last time out. Troy Archibald-Henville, Kyle Edwards and Lloyd James all came back into the side at the expense of Jordan Tillson, Matt Jay and Craig Woodman.
City started the match strongly with Dean Moxey firing into the side netting before Edwards and Ryan Harley both fired efforts over the crossbar from promising positions.
The hosts, at this stage, were struggling to get out of their own half with goalkeeper Barry Roche not able to kick the ball over the halfway line due to the strong wind blowing back in his direction. However, the blustery conditions were not conducive for good football for either side and it needed a moment of brilliance from City to open the deadlock. James, on his recall to the starting XI, produced a good midfield-splitting pass forward for Jayden Stockley on the edge of the box and the striker, intelligently, dummied the ball into the path of the overlapping Pierce Sweeney.
And on St Patrick's Day the Dublin-born full-back showed all the calmness of a 20-goal-a-season centre-forward as he placed the ball past Roche and into the far corner of the net.
Crucially though, that lead would only last five minutes as Sam Lavelle was allowed a free header, from a Morecambe corner, to nod the hosts back on terms.
The game could have swung back in City's favour just before the break as Edwards jinked in from the left-wing and hit a 20-yard shot that Roche stopped from reaching the top corner of his net with a superb fingertip save.
With the wind in Morecambe's favour in second-half, the match was a more even affair with Adam McGurk twice going close to putting the hosts in front and Edwards firing into the side netting after working a yard of room in the box with a couple of stepovers.
However, it was the Shrimps - battling to avoid relegation from League Two - who got the all-important goal with 13 minutes remaining as Michael Rose hit a sweet strike from just outside the box that found its way into the far right-hand corner.
City responded, with Matt Jay and Robbie Simpson being sent on. City did have the ball in the back of the net through a Tillson header but the effort was ruled out for offside and they were made to rue giving the hosts a lifeline just before half-time as well as some wasteful finishing in the first half.
Morecambe: Roche, McGowan, Kenyon, Winnard, Thompson, Conlan, Lavelle, Wylde (Campbell, 80), Rose, McGurk (Oliver, 80), Lang (Wildig, 85). Subs (not used): Nizic, Brough, Fleming, Lund.
Exeter City: Pym; Sweeney, Brown, Archibald-Henville (Simpson, 83), Moxey; Boateng, James (Tillson, 60), Harley (Jay, 83); Taylor, Stockley, Edwards. Subs (not used): Jones, McAlinden, Wilson, Croll.
Attendance: 1,056 (155 away)