Exeter City fell to a 3-2 defeat against Macclesfield Town in Sky Bet League Two.
Despite Ryan Bowman notching his first and second goal for the Grecians, two strikes from Harry Smith and a Michael Rose penalty meant that City were unable to take advantage of their game in hand in the race for the play-offs.
Manager Matt Taylor made three changes to the side that started the draw at Cheltenham Town last time out, with Lee Martin making his first start since early February following injury. James Hamon also replaced the suspended Christy Pym, whilst Hiram Boateng came into the centre of midfield.
The Grecians started brightly and dominated possession in the early stages and they had the first chance of the game when Jake Taylor’s shot deflected off a Macclesfield defender and looped up for Lee Martin to volley but Kieran O’Hara collected in the Town goal.
Elliott Durrell then had the ball in the net in the 10th minute after he peeled away behind the City back line, and despite finishing into the bottom corner, the winger was adjudged to have been offside.
Both sides continued to get into positive positions on the field, but neither were able to create too many clear-cut chances at goal. Moxey had a sight at goal when a corner broke to him on the edge of the box, bit his curled effort edged over.
But it was City who churned out the first moment of real quality when Lee Martin combined with Boateng before getting in down the left and crossing to the far post for Bowman to head home from close range to register his first goal in a City shirt.
The Grecians weren’t ahead for long though as just a few minutes later the hosts levelled through Smith. A cross from the left-hand side managed to evade Moxey and Hamon before the Town striker headed in.
In an entertaining period, City then went ahead for the second time when Bowman got his second of the night after latching onto a long ball forward from Hamon, and despite O’Hara rushing out, the forward thumped an effort home from the edge of the box.
Just a couple of minutes before half-time Troy Brown went inches from giving City a 3-1 lead when he found himself unmarked at the far post, but despite a dangerous ball from Boateng, the City defender was unable to connect.
The game then took another twist in stoppage time during the first half when a long free-kick came into the City box and Moxey fouled Nathan Cameron. Rose then stepped up to convert past Hamon to make the score 2-2 going into the break.
Reece Cole was the first to have an attempt in the second half when he found some space around 30-yards from the City goal, and despite a vicious effort, Hamon tipped over. From the resulting corner Cameron headed towards goal but the City keeper did well to collect as the ball creeped towards the line.
Moxey had the Grecians’ first real chance of the second period on 65 minutes when he managed to escape his marker and rise to meet substitute Matt Jay’s corner, but the defender was unable to keep his glancing header down.
Smith had an excellent chance to put the home side in front when they managed to get in behind the City defence when the ball was played through to the forward, but he was unable to keep his effort on target as he sent the ball over.
It was Macclesfield who would get the all-important fifth goal of the game on 85 minutes when the home side won the ball back high up the pitch before Durrell crossed for Smith to score his second of the night from close range with a header.
Late chances in injury time fell for Nicky Law, who couldn’t get a clean shot away, before Pierce Sweeney saw a low effort drift just wide of goal meaning the Grecians returned to Devon unable to take advantage of their game in hand.
Macclesfield Town: O’Hara, Fitzpatrick, Kelleher, Durrell, Smith, Stephens, Pearson (Welch-Hayes, 82), Rose (Whitaker, 70), Cameron, Cole, Jules
Subs not used: Idem, Marsh, Wilson, Evans, Martis
Booked: Rose, Durrell
Exeter City: Hamon, Sweeney, Woodman (Law, 70), L. Martin (Jay, 45), Bowman, K. Wilson, Moxey, Taylor, Collins, Brown, Boateng (Forte, 82)
Subs not used: Weale, O’Shea, Holmes, D. Wilson
Booked: Brown, Moxey
Attendance: 1,588 (In, 204, away)