Another hard fought away win at relegation-threatened Cheltenham ensures City go into Saturday’s fixture aiming to complete an unbeaten March and with their playoff hopes very much alive. Paul Tisdale was forced into a couple of changes last week due to knocks to Alex Nicholls and Clinton Morrison (who was fit only for a cameo off the bench), both hope to be fit to return. Jamie McAllister returned from injury and gained his place back at the expense of the somewhat unfortunate Connor Riley-Lowe, but it was proved a wise decision as McAllister dealt consummately with the threat down Cheltenham’s right flank. With Liam Sercombe having limped off last week, Tom McCready could be poised to make his first start against his most recent former employers should he not have recovered.
Morecambe could be forgiven for thinking their season is over already. Jim Bentley’s side has made occasional flirtations with the playoff zone but with eight games to go they find themselves a surely insurmountable eight points off seventh place but also well clear of any relegation danger. Given the size of the club this must, however, be considered a successful season. Things might be so different now but for a run of just one win (albeit an eye-catching result away to Luton) in their last six matches. The main goal threat is likely to come from the diminutive 11 goal top scorer Jack Redshaw or the feisty veteran Kevin Ellison, who has ten. The Shrimps have gone through goalkeepers at a rate of knots this season, an injury to Scott Davies meant an emergency loan signing of Danny Ward from Liverpool in advance of last week’s 1-1 draw at Carlisle.
The reverse fixture this season saw City travel up for a Sunday lunchtime fixture at the end of October, where they delivered something of a roasting that the 2-0 scoreline perhaps doesn’t reflect thanks to an early own goal from Shaun Beeley and a late strike from Tom Nichols, although the big news of that match was the clean sheet, which was remarkably City’s first of the season.
Controversy abound at the Park last season, firstly the scheduled fixture being postponed after 2pm thanks to a downpour, then some very unsavoury events at the end of the 1-1 draw (Nichols for City, Amond with the equaliser), where the ex-Premiership referee Andy D’Urso adjudged David Wheeler to have been fouled for a penalty in the last minute of the match, only for the linesman, under heavy intimidation from the Morecambe players, convinced D’Urso to change his mind and he instead booked Wheeler for simulation – Wheeler, meanwhile, had been headbutted by Jamie Devitt, who was shown a red card. City have yet to record a home win against the Shrimps in the Football League although Tisdale’s side holds the overall head to head lead with six wins to Morecambe’s three (seven draws).
Match officials: http://www.exeweb.com/2015/03/24/match-officials-exeter-v-morecambe/
Last season’s highlights