The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Bam­sey

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.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

GO CRAZY: Alex Ni­cholls of Ex­eter City cel­e­brates mak­ing it 1-1

HEAD DOWN: Alex Ni­cholls lev­els the game for Ex­eter

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