J ayden Stockley secured the equaliser for Exeter with a controversial last minute penalty in a tight game.
The match was Exeter’s last home game of the season. However, the play-offs were beyond reach and Morecambe had already escaped relegation meaning there was relatively little to play for. The importance of the game was perhaps evident in the lack of urgency shown by both teams. At times, the sunny weather inside St James’ Park outshone the quality on the pitch – although it was a decent game.
The first half was fairly end to end with a few good chances for both teams. It looked like Morecambe should have had a penalty in the 17th minute – a risky sliding tackle inside the box by a City defender went unpunished by referee Darren Drysdale. Morecambe made their first sub, in the 25th minute, after Conlan went off injured. There were a few chances for both teams and Lee Holmes made a couple of close curled shots from the edge of the area. Exeter just about edged the first half, creating more opportunities but overall it was relatively even and uneventful. The first half ended goalless at 0-0.
Morecambe were the brighter side after the break and on the 60th minute Aaron Wildig hit a great chance over the bar. Ellison blasted home the first goal of the match in the 85th but Morecambe’s lead only lasted four minutes after Exeter were given a late controversial penalty. The referee, Darren Drysdale, took a very long time to make the decision, given for a handball in the box against Morecambe defender Lee Molyneux. The referee gave the penalty to Exeter to Morecambe’s frustration after much deliberation and only after consulting his linesman. Stockley converted the penalty in the 89th minute with a calm finish to the bottom left hand corner of the goal. Subsequently, the atmosphere went up a notch and for the last few minutes it seemed Exeter might just clinch the game.
The final few minutes of the game after Stockley’s penalty were exciting after Exeter had the momentum but came to nothing. Although scrappy at times it was a fairly clean game with the referee, Darren Drysdale, giving four yellow cards. The only City player to get booked was Tom McCready for a bad early foul.
The goalscorer Jayden Stockley, on loan from Bournemouth, converted the penalty but missed a couple of excellent chances earlier in the game. One golden missed chance in the 78th minute especially comes to mind, where Stockley missed a free header, inside the penalty box, heading it wide of the goal.
My man of the match was Exeter’s number 10 Lee Holmes who created some good chances and made a couple of close curled shots from the edge of the box. He went off in the 83rd minute after a minor head injury but overall was Exeter’s best player. He also won Exeter’s player of the season award for 2015/16 according to the official Exeter City Twitter page. The pacy Ollie Watkins was also quite bright, without much end result, until he was substituted in the 73rd minute.
The match ended after five minutes extra time after a couple of minor delays in the second half as well as the lengthy delay and controversy surrounding Exeter’s penalty. The result left Morecambe 21st in the League Two table and Exeter 11th. Exeter finish the season next Saturday away at Luton.