TISDALE’S NOT GIVING UP YET
EXETER City manager Paul Tisdale believes his side can still gatecrash the play-offs despite blowing a chance to put pressure on the top seven.
Aaron McGowan, 18, scored his first professional goal to fire Morecambe into a 17th-minute lead.
But Alex Nicholls came off the bench to keep Exeter’s slim playoff hopes alive with his sixth goal of the season.
Exeter ended the game with ten men after leading goalscorer Tom Nichols saw red for kicking out at an opponent in stoppage time.
The point means Exeter are now five points adrift of the play-off places, but Tisdale remains optimistic.
He said: “There is still a long way to go. We have got to play a lot of the teams above us and every game is winnable.
“We came back to get a point so let’s not be too disappointed.
“I still thought at 1-0 at half-time we had a good chance of winning the game.We have often conceded again in the second half in the past, that has been one of my criticisms previously, but we played well, we found space, got the ball to feet and got the goal.
“I thought we could have got the second and gone on and won the game.”
Exeter started brightly and striker Nichols was inches away from converting Lee Holmes’ cross at the far post.
Christian Ribeiro was unable to keep his header down after Tom McCready’s corner eluded the Morecambe defence.
Morecambe soaked up the Exeter pressure and made the breakthrough with a slick move. Andrew Fleming swept the ball out to McGowan and he fired low into the bottom corner.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of Exeter and Clinton Morrison’s 14-month search for a goal continues after he stabbed Ryan Harley’s cross wide.
Exeter hearts were in their mouths when Kevin Ellison charged down James Hamon’s clearance only for Jordan Moore-Taylor to atone for his sloppy back pass with a crucial clearance.
Exeter had the ball in the net after the break but David Wheeler’s close-range finish was ruled out for off-side.
Wheeler then rose highest to meet Holmes’ cross with a glancing header that flashed past the post as Exeter started to commit more bodies forward.
The Grecians snatched an equaliser on 80 minutes when Nichols sent over a cross for Nicholls to swivel and lash a shot into the bottom corner from six yards out.
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley said: “We played some great stuff in the first half and scored a superb goal.
“Unfortunately we ended up conceding a goal and the players feel like they have lost the game.
“But I have told them to be proud because they have held one of the form sides in the division.
“We have got to the 50-point mark with a few games to spare and we move on. We are five unbeaten on the road and hopefully we can translate our good away form into home form.”
GO CRAZY: Alex Nicholls of Exeter City celebrates making it 1-1
HEAD DOWN: Alex Nicholls levels the game for Exeter