Western Morning News

Flat Exeter pay price for their poor show

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EXETER City turned in a poor performanc­e as they went down to a disappoint­ing 2-0 defeat to promotion rivals Morecambe at St James Park.

The Grecians were flat from the off and paid the price for a poor start when Adam Phillips scored from the penalty spot to give Morecambe a half-time lead.

City did at least come out fighting at the start of the second half, but they were done on the counteratt­ack as Cole Stockton grabbed a second to claim a deserved win for Derek Adams’ side.

For Exeter, it was a blow to their promotion hopes as they again failed to build on a good win only a few days earlier. And their lacklustre performanc­e highlighte­d a clear need for some reinforcem­ents up front.

Exeter made three changes to the side that beat Stevenage 3-1 at the weekend. Manager Matt Taylor freshened things up by swapping his wing-backs, Lewis Page and Josh Key coming in, with Jack Sparkes and Jake Caprice dropping to the bench.

There was also a change at the top end of the pitch where Ben Seymour was given a start alongside Ryan Bowman with Nicky Law also on the bench. Captain Jake Taylor was also among the substitute­s with Harry Kite dropping out altogether.

Morecambe gave a start to former City loanee Jokull Andresson in goal, but there were some questions asked with the Reading man joining the Shrimps on an emergency loan and their new signing, Kyle Letheren, who signed on permanent terms earlier in the day, named on the bench.

City were upset early on when a long ball forward led to Andresson colliding with a defender and as Ryan Bowman battled with the goalkeeper to reach the loose ball, the referee blew. Incredibly, Craig Hicks deemed Bowman fouled the Icelandic shot-stopper, who was fortunate to get the decision.

Adam Phillips then fired just over the crossbar for Morecambe before a ball over the top by Carlos Mendes Gomes caught City out and Jonny Maxted was deemed to have brought down Adam Phillips.

Phillips dusted himself down and smashed the spot kick home as Maxted, who collected a yellow card, went the wrong way.

Exeter were struggling to have any impact on the match whatsoever, but they did fashion a chance when Seymour did really well to win the ball on the right, cut inside and fire goalwards. Andresson saved his shot and Jay headed the rebound into the goalkeeper’s arms.

Matt Taylor was clearly unimpresse­d with what he was seeing, though, and made a double change with just 21 minutes on the clock. Caprice and Lew came on for Seymour and a bloody and battered Alex Hartridge, who had come off worse in a tangle with the lively Phillips.

Still Morecambe were on top, though. Phillips dragged a shot wide from 18 yards, although Andresson did spill a Caprice cross, but it was scrambled behind for an Exeter corner.

The Grecians did apply some pressure towards the end of the half, winning several corner kicks, but they came to nothing.

Taylor tried shaking it up again at the break, introducin­g Sparkes for Key, but it was Phillips who was first to go close for Morecambe, heading over from 15 yards.

A further frustratio­n for the Grecians was Morecambe’s time wasting, which started pretty soon after their goal, but was not clamped on by a rather hopeless official, Craig Hicks.

Page stung the palms of Andresson with a shot from distance and Jay took too long to get a shot away after being picked out by Bowman, but it was much better from City now.

Jake Taylor replaced Atangana on the hour mark but the Grecians fell further behind on 66 minutes when Stockton latched onto a long ball over the top and he was too quick for the City defence, who could only watch in horror as he got his shot away and it went under the outstretch­ed hand of Maxted and into the net.

Taylor side-footed a decent chance straight at Andresson, Tom Parkes headed wide from a Sparkes corner as Exeter gamely battled on, and Sweeney was denied by Andresson clawing his header away. But try as they might, the damage had long been done.

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 ?? Phil Mingo/PPAUK ?? > Cole Stockton of Morecambe beats Exeter goalkeeper Jonny Maxted to make it 2-0. Below: Lewis Page battles for the ball
Phil Mingo/PPAUK > Cole Stockton of Morecambe beats Exeter goalkeeper Jonny Maxted to make it 2-0. Below: Lewis Page battles for the ball

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