Goals come late as City conclude home campaignLine-Ups
Exeter City: Olejnik, Woodman (Noble 62’), Ribeiro, Holmes (Grant 82’), Moore-Taylor (capt), McCready, Tillson, Watkins (Reid 72’), Stockley, Taylor, Brown.
Subs: Davies, Nicholls, Oyeleke, Pym.
Goals: Stockley 89’ (pen)
Morecambe: Roche, McGowan, Kenyon, Dugdale (capt), Devitt, Ellison, Wildig, Miller (Stockton, 60’), Fleming (Mullin 72’), Parrish, Conlan (Molyneux, 25’).
Subs: O’Hara, Goodall, Doyle.
Goals: Ellison 86’
Referee: Darren Drysdale
A LATE PENALTY from Jayden Stockley salvaged Exeter City a point in the final home game of the 2015/16 Sky Bet League 2 season.
In a game that bore the hallmarks of an end of season encounter, Kevin Ellison looked to have secured all three points for the visitors in the eighty-sixth minute. But it was Stockley who had the final say, restoring parity from the spot in the dying stages as City rounded off the home campaign with a point.
There were two changes to the City side for the penultimate game of the Sky Bet League 2 season. Tom McCready slotted in at right-back, and Jordan Tillson came in to anchor an experimental midfield three alongside Jordan Moore-Taylor and Ollie Watkins. For the visitors, manager Jim Bentley decided to shuffle the pack following his side’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Stevenage last weekend, introducing five new faces in an attacking 4-3-3 formation.
Despite the changes to the Morecambe side, it was one of the Shrimps’ regular faces that registered the first shot of the game with three minutes played. After a foul from Tillson on the edge of the area it was Jamie Devitt that stepped up to take the resultant set-piece, but the former Hull City man blasted his effort well over the crossbar and into the Big Bank.
There was a good tempo to the game as the Grecians looked for a final home victory of the campaign. Jayden Stockley, who scored a debut goal in the corresponding fixture last January, had a header blocked on the line by Adam Dugdale in the tenth minute, before Lee Holmes curled one inches wide of Barry Roche’s right-hand post in the next phase of play. Stockley was at it again shortly after, shooting narrowly wide in what was a carbon copy of Holmes’ effort moments before.
The hosts were looking menacing by the mid-way point of the first period with Stockley, Holmes and Watkins all linking up well in the final third. In the twenty-eighth minute a one-two between Holmes and Watkins on the edge of the area had the Morecambe defence at sixes and sevens, but Roche got down well to deny the City winger a fourth goal of the campaign.
With the Grecians’ play-off hopes ended at the Memorial Stadium last weekend and Morecambe assured of their place in the fourth tier next season, there was a real end of season feeling to this one in the April sunshine. City ended the half the livelier with Tillson looping an inventive volley over the crossbar with four minutes of regulation time remaining, but the referee whistled shortly after to bring to an end a relatively uneventful first half.
HALF-TIME: EXETER CITY 0–0 MORECAMBE
The visitors made most of the early running after the interval as they looked to arrest a run of five league games without a win. Alex Kenyon came close seven minutes after the restart, bundling the ball narrowly wide following an in-swinging corner from the right-hand side.
After another long spell in the middle third, former Cardiff City man Aaron Wildig spurned the game’s first clear-cut chance on the hour mark. After connecting with a sweeping ball across the area the Welshman’s first touch saw him bearing down on goal, but he lifted his shot over just over the crossbar.
With just under twenty minutes remaining, Paul Tisdale replaced Watkins with Jamie Reid in a bid to inject some fresh attacking impetus. However, it was the other striker left on the pitch for City that should have put them in front shortly after Reid’s arrival. Jake Taylor did well to work the space for a cross from the left, but with the Big Bank looking on expectantly, Stockley nodded his header back across the face of goal and wide of the far-post.
In a game that looked destined for a goalless draw, it was the visitors who made a late change to the script. A drilled cross from the right alluded everyone but Kevin Ellison, and the experienced wide-man made no mistake in drilling home from close-range.
The Shrimps’ lead was short-lived, though, as City were back on level terms little more than four minutes after falling behind. After a Morecambe defender was adjudged to have handled the ball in his own area it was Stockley who stepped up to take the spot-kick, and the loanee marksman displayed a cool head to roll the ball into the bottom left in front of the Big Bank.
That was to be the last action of the game, as despite five minutes of stoppage time neither side came close to adding another. There’s just one game left for the Grecians now as they head to Kenilworth Road to face Luton Town in seven days time.
FULL-TIME: EXETER CITY 1–1 MORECAMBE
Attendance: 3,936 (114 away)
Man of the Match: Lee Holmes