The new era under Matt Taylor got off to the best possible start, a 3-1 win over Carlisle with all three goals coming from players signed by Taylor over the summer. City will look to build on the feelgood factor around the club with their first (long) away trip of the season to face a side that is tipped by many, as usual, to go down. At the time of writing, with a few hours left in the transfer window, Taylor has one more player to choose from for Saturday with the loan signing of West Brom youngster Dara O’Shea, who will hope to prove as popular with the City faithful as Baggies team mates Kane Wilson and Kyle Edwards did last season. O’Shea is likely to have to be patient, though, with City’s back line looking solid. It may indeed be that Taylor names an unchanged starting XI, given how well they performed last week, meaning the likes of Lee Martin and Tristan Abrahams will continue to press their case from the bench.
If City’s opening day went like clockwork, the opposite can be said for Saturday’s hosts. Morecambe, despite off-field issues finally appearing to resolve themselves leading to a raft of new signings, travelled to Crewe and were soundly beaten 6-0. The Shrimps also announced a new signing yesterday (Wednesday) with AJ Leitch-Smith arriving to try to arrest an alarming run in front of goal stretching back to last season after his release by Shrewsbury. Jim Bentley, since Tisdale’s departure from City now the longest serving manager in the Football League, will no doubt throw Leitch-Smith straight in alongside Doncaster loanee Liam Mandeville or Vadaine Oliver, while veterans Barry Roche (53) and pantomime villain Kevin Ellison (64) will also expect to feature.
Last season it was honours even, with the home sides victorious on both occasions. City romped to a 4-1 win at the Park, with goals from Brown, Stockley (2) and Moxey – Oliver pulling one back for the visitors. It was a game of two halves at the Globe Arena due to extreme weather conditions – City failed to take advantage despite taking the lead through Sweeney as Lavelle defied the wind to equalise before half time before Michael Rose settled it in the second half – that win for Morecambe in March was the last time they’ve tasted victory. City have the overall head-to-head lead with nine wins to Morecambe’s four, but there have been ten draws in this fixture. Details of those 23 games can be found at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9082
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Thomas Bramall
Assistant Referees: Wade Smith and Helen Byrne
Fourth Official : Mark Cunliffe
This is Thomas’s first season as a referee in the English Football League, having been promoted from the National League List.