Match report: Morecambe 0 Exeter City 3

Morecambe's Alex Whitmore headed against the bar in stoppage time
Morecambe's Alex Whitmore headed against the bar in stoppage time

An early Halloween horror show saw the Shrimps lose their sixth consecutive league game at the Globe Arena.

First-half goals from David Wheeler, Joel Grant and Lee Holmes saw the visitors depart with three points.

With Monday’s ‘fright night’ in mind, a sign in the club reception read: ‘Enter if you dare.’

Not only did Exeter dare but they effectively had the match wrapped up inside 35 minutes with Morecambe’s first-half display as gloomy as the weather.

Shrimps’ boss Jim Bentley had made one change from the side which drew at Colchester United seven days earlier.

Lee Molyneux was back in the starting XI, replacing Andy Fleming who had picked up his fifth booking of the season the week before.

While the Shrimps’ home difficulties have been well documented, their visitors came into today’s game hoping to continue their impressive results on the road.

Second-bottom of the League Two table at kick-off, 12 of their 13 points had been earned away from home.

The carnage began in the fourth minute when an unchallenged Holmes was allowed to run 30 yards at the Shrimps’ defence before finding Wheeler, who finished clinically.

Lloyd James was off target from 20 yards and a last-ditch tackle thwarted Reuben Reid as Bentley’s players could not come to terms with their opponents.

It was 2-0 on 16 minutes as Exeter were allowed to pass the ball around before Grant created a yard of space and beat Barry Roche to his right-hand side.

Morecambe’s chances were few and far between early on with Molyneux twice seeing shots deflected behind and City keeper Christy Pym keeping out efforts from Cole Stockton and Tom Barkhuizen.

Pym’s afternoon was to end moments later when he came off second best in a challenge with Kevin Ellison when competing for Molyneux’s through ball.

If City were affected by that, they didn’t show it and promptly went 3-0 up as Holmes was given all the time he needed to slot past Roche.

Michael Rose curled a free kick straight at City’s substitute keeper, Bobby Olejnik, while Reid lashed off target at the other end as the first half came to a blessed conclusion for the home side.

The second half was much improved from the home perspective with Jack Dunn, an early replacement for Ellison, a welcome addition with his willingness to run at defenders and cause problems.

Stockton had a shot blocked and fired over after turning a defender, while Olejnik was out quickly and bravely to get the better of Barkhuizen.

Dunn fired straight at the keeper from 20 yards and Stockton volleyed over from Rose’s corner as Bentley’s players showed some belated attacking threat.

Olejnik pushed Molyneux’s effort behind for a corner, which ended with Ryan Edwards’ shot cleared from a yard out by Pierce Sweeney.

James Jennings also found the side-netting before Alex Whitmore headed against the top of the bar in added time; it was that sort of frustrating afternoon.

Morecambe: Roche, McGowan, Edwards, Whitmore, Jennings, Barkhuizen, Murphy, Rose, Molyneux (Massanka 77), Stockton, Ellison (Dunn 52).

Substitutes: Nizic, Wakefield, Winnard, Mullin, Conlan.

Exeter City: Pym (Olejnik 34), Sweeney, Moore-Taylor, Croll, Woodman, Wheeler, Taylor, James, Holmes, Reid (Simpson 73), Grant.

Substitutes: Watkins, Jay, Riley-Lowe, Ampadu, Stacey.

Referee: David Webb.

Attendance: 1,302.