Exeter City fell to a first defeat of the season at the hands of Morecambe, who prospered 2-0 at the Globe Arena.
Kevin Ellison netted twice in the second half to give the Lancashire club all three points – and he might have had a hat-trick but for a goal-line clearance in added time.
With Pat Baldwin
expecting the birth of his first child, he didn’t travel up to Lancashire. Instead Scot Bennett
returned from injury to fill the void at centre-half.
also retained his place in the starting XI after the victory against AFC Wimbledon with Liam Sercombe
missing through injury.
The first chance of note came to Exeter City, after some bright pressing had earned the Grecians a lot of territory. The chance came as David Wheeler collected a great diagonal ball with a first-time trap and pulled back across the face of goal, but it just evaded the front two.
Wheeler again was the architect within the first quarter of an hour after a raking Oakley pass sent him clear down the right flank. With options to choose from, he picked out Sam Parkin with a perfect centre but his header ricocheted off a defender at the far post and Barry Roche collected.
The Shrimps were working their way into the match after a slow opening and Andrew Fleming opted to shoot from 20 yards when things opened up invitingly – it was missing at the far post until one of his teammates deflected it wide past the near stick.
And for the third week running, a goalline clearance kept City from conceding. It was a Ryan Williams corner that caused chaos in Exeter’s six-yard box and it needed hacking off the line by right-back Aaron Dawson
– and the protestations by the Morecambe players fell on deaf ears.
Despite the pendulum beginning to swing into the Shrimps’ favour, City gave a reminder of their danger with a quick counter. Oakley swung a ball from deep into the path of John O’Flynn
, whose first touch allowed him to shoot with his second – but a defender’s toe just intervened to divert the ball around the post.
Ryan Williams twice had chances to open the scoring for the home side in quick succession around the half-hour mark – the first was something of an optimistic volley from distance after controlling on his chest with missed the target, though the second was from a dead-ball when Bennett conceded a foul just outside the area. Ultimately however it hit the wall and was cleared.
Having scored twice against Wimbledon the previous weekend, O’Flynn had two chances to put the visitors ahead just before the break. He was unable to divert a header on target after latching onto his strike-partner’s flick-on, and then he ultimately went too wide and was tackled as he shaped to shoot when a ball by Oakley had released him.
Half-time: Morecambe 0 Exeter City 0
The second period was barely a minute old when the hosts took the lead. It was an inch-perfect delivery by Jack Sampson from the right flank that picked out the staggered run of Ellison, who headed home unchallenged from the edge of the six-yard box.
Morecambe certainly looked in the ascendency after the goal and one or two nerves were setting in at the back. A ball meant for Marcus Marshall in the centre ran beyond and it needed an outstretched toe by Arron Davies
to poke it out of reach of the opposing attackers arriving at the far post.
Down the other end, it was Davies who almost caught out Roche from a tight angle – shaping to cross, instead he drew a save as he angled a bouncing strike at the far post.
Midway through the second period, Alan Gow
and Jimmy Keohane
were introduced by the Grecians to try and work the ball a little more in the attacking third, with Tommy Doherty
and Parkin being withdrawn.
City then put together a slick passing move, and a bold run by Gow saw him pull a ball square for O’Flynn, but a defender’s leg hooked it clear at the last with the Irishman ready to pounce.
Another chance came in tow as a ball from Craig Woodman
, advanced from the full-back position, was met by the head of fellow defender Danny Coles
but it took a touch off a defender’s head before looping just over.
Much of the crowd thought that the Shrimps had doubled the lead when they saw the net ripple – but Ryan Williams’ free-kick had shaved the post and side-netting after a foul by Keohane on Ellison.
But soon enough it was 2-0 to Morecambe when Ellison improvised a good second goal. Sub Joe Mwasile instigated a quick counter-attack and the striker took a somewhat heavy first-touch when receiving a ball from the left, but looped an effort over the advancing figure of Artur Krysiak
and into the net.
The game opened up further as City looked to get back into the game and Mwasile had a chance of his own from 20 yards. It had plenty of velocity but was straight and Krysiak.
Straight down the other end, O’Flynn was granted another chance to score and showed great feet in close quarters in the box, but he was ultimately foiled by a great save from Roche.
The last chance of the game came to Ellison, who was a fraction away from netting from a tight angle after rounding Krysiak, but Woodman was back quickly to clear off the goal-line.
Full-time: Morecambe 2 Exeter City 0
Morecambe: Roche; Parrish, Hughes, McReady, Diagne; Williams (Drummond 83), Kenyon, Fleming; Marshall (Mwasile 73), Sampson (Amond 83), Ellison.
Subs (not used): Arestidou, Threlfall, McGee, Doyle.
Goals: Ellison (47, 81).
Exeter City: Krysiak, Dawson, Bennett, Coles, Woodman; Wheeler (Reid 83), Oakley, Doherty (Keohane 64), Davies; Parkin (Gow 64), O’Flynn.
Subs (not used): Pym, Moore-Taylor, Nichols, Grimes.
Referee: M. Brown