Match 53
7th May 2023
Morecambe (h)

Match Report:
Exeter City 3 Morecambe 2

A Jay Stansfield hat-trick ensured that Exeter City ended the Sky Bet League One season with a win, as they beat Morecambe 3-2 at St James Park.

The Grecians came alive in the second half, with the City striker ending his loan spell on the perfect note, as he fired City to a 14th placed finish in League One.

Gary Caldwell responded to last weekend’s defeat by making five changes to the starting line-up, with Jake Caprice, Harry Kite, Pierce Sweeney, Gary Woods and Josh Coley dropping out for Jonathan Grounds, Sam Nombe, Archie Collins, Jamal Blackman and Stansfield.

The visitors had the first chance of the game, as Dan Crowley picked the ball up outside the Grecian 18-yard box and took aim, but his shot was wide of Blackman’s goal.

Exeter struggled to get going in the early exchanges, with small mistakes costing them attacks against a pumped-up Morecambe side, who knew a result could see them secure League One safety.

Pedro Borges had the Grecians first shot on goal, as a Key corner was floated into the back post and into the young midfielder’s path, but his header was wide.

Corners seemed to be City’s best weapon in the first half, as Demetri Mitchell found Grounds who chested the ball into Will Aimson, and the captain volleyed over the bar.

The hosts put their best chance of the first half together with five minutes to go, as they put six passes together outside the Morecambe box, leading Borges to drive an effort just wide of Connor Ripley.

City got out of the blocks much faster in the second half, with Mitchell drilling the ball across goal, which caught the foot of Jacob Bedeau and forced Ripley into an uncomfortable save.

Exeter continued to cause the away side problems as Stansfield drove in from the right flank, but his shot was blocked by a Morecambe defender.

However, Stansfield was not to be denied a final Grecian goal, as Nombe found the striker in plenty of space, and he got free of his man before slotting home to put Exeter ahead.

It wouldn’t take long for Morecambe to level, as a long ball found its way into the Exeter box, and was met by Cole Stockton, who beat Blackman to the ball.

The game had come alive in the second half, as Nombe did excellently to keep the ball in, and squared it to an onrushing Key, but he could not keep his effort down.

Stansfield remained determined to end his City spell on the winning side, and he put City back in front as a Key shot was blocked into the path of the Fulham loanee, and he fired past Ripley.

The Grecians were not done there, as Stansfield met a Key cross, and placed the ball into the back of the net to secure his hat-trick and put Exeter further ahead, in what was a beautiful moment at St James Park.

Morecambe, who were clearly knocked by City’s third, forced a save from Blackman, as they shot from the edge of the box.

Cole Stockton could have pulled one back for the Shrimps, but his header from close range failed to find the target.

There was an extraordinary 14 minutes added onto the end of the game, as the away side made the most of it to pull a goal back, as Stockton scored his second to give his side a slight hope.

However, it was not enough for the visitors and City emerged victorious to end a successful return campaign on a high.

EXETER CITY: Blackman, Hartridge (Sweeney, 34), Mitchell (Sparkes, 63), Collins, Stansfield (Cox, 73), Nombe (Scott, 86), Key, Aimson, Chuake (Kite, 63), Grounds, Borges (Caprice, 73).

Subs not used: Coley

MORECAMBE: Ripley, Gibson, Rawson (Shaw, 64), Taylor (Delaney, 44), Crowley (Hunter, 55), Stockton, Gnahoua (Niasse, 45), Weir, Bedeau, Cooney (Mayor, 55), Austerfield (Simeu, 84).

Subs not used: Smith

Referee: Carl Brook

Attendance: 7,386 (658)



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