Match Report: Morecambe 1-1 Exeter City
THE Shrimps extended their unbeaten run to three games with a battling draw against Exeter at the Globe Arena.
In their first home game since December 1, Shaun Miller gave The Shrimps the lead from the penalty spot with his 10th of the season early in the second half.
But the lead last just five minutes with Jayden Stockley scoring his second goal of the season against Morecambe on debut, the Bournemouth loanee having netted a last-gasp equaliser for Portsmouth at Fratton Park earlier in the campaign.
Shrimps' boss Jim Bentley made just one change from the side that beat Wycombe 2-0 last time out with Alan Goodall back in the starting line up in place of the injured Peter Murphy with new loan keeper Kieran O'Hara on the bench after signing today.
After a poor first period it set up a fascinating finale with both sides having chances but neither was able to find a winner.
The hosts were the first to go close with Bobby Olejnik producing a fine full-stretch save to his right to keep out Andy Fleming’s volley from 20 yards 11 minutes in.
But the game had a low-key feel despite both sides playing some decent football with attempts on goal rare.
The visitors did have a goal ruled out shortly before the half hour with Tom Nicholls adjudged to be offside as he challenged Barry Roche for a Jordan Tillson header that found its way into the net.
Roche showed his fine form at the end of the first period as held onto Matt Oakleys well-struck cross-cum-shot before an outstretched right arm helped Troy Browns close-range header round the post in stoppage time.
The game got the goal it desperately needed after the break as The Shrimps took the lead from the penalty spot four minutes into the second half.
After Kevin Ellison had flicked on a corner Adam Dugdale fired the ball goalwards with his effort striking a hand.
Referee Andy Haines took an age to award the spot kick but Miller made no mistake despite Olejnik getting a hand to the ball diving to his left.
Exeter hit straight back though with Stockley seeing a header go wide before levelling things up on 54 minutes.
The striker produced a fine finish as he volleyed home a cross from the left with the outside of his foot, the ball looping beyond Roche and into the net.
The game had transformed since the break with Exeter immediately looking for a second but it was The Shrimps who were next to go close.
Devitt twice had sights of goal, first curling a shot narrowly wide before forcing Olejnik to beat away his free-kick from a narrow angle.
At the other end former Shrimp Tom McCready fired in a carbon copy set piece on 67 minutes with Roche helping it over the bar.
Chances dried up during a nervy finale with Exeter coming closest to sealing all three points with Stockleys looping header coming back off the bar late on.
Paul Tisdale's side, who have an FA Cup replay against Liverpool to look forward to, did however end a run a four straight defeats in League 2.
Morecambe finished the game with 10 men with Tom Barkhuizen being stretchered off after coming off worse in a clash with Roche, Jim Bentley already having made all three subs.
Morecambe: Roche, Beeley (capt) (Wildig 79), Dugdale, Parrish, Wilson, Fleming, Goodall, Barkhuizen, Devitt (Molyneux 82), Ellison, Miller (Mullin 79). Subs not used: O’Hara, Kenyon, Edwards, Doyle.
Exeter: Olejnik, McAllister, Moore-Taylor (capt), Brown, Grant (Noble 75), Tillson, McCready (Nicholls 81), Oakley, Woodman, Nichols (Hoskins 86), Stockley. Subs not used: Hamon, Butterfield, Ribeiro, Morrison.
Attendance: 1,040 (62 away)
Referee: Andy Haines