WHAT a difference a year makes!
Twelve months ago Morecambe boss Jim Bentley was left with a sinking feeling after his first game as a manager in the Football League ended in a 1-0 defeat against Barnet.
Move the clock forward to last Saturday and Bentley was left beaming after his side produced the result of the day in League 2 to shock fancied Exeter 3-0 with a superb display to leave them sitting pretty at the top of the table on day one.
It was a fact that did not go unnoticed by Bentley who was full of praise for his side.
He said: “It is an outstanding start and I have to be pleased with that. The lads were absolutely superb.
“At the same time I remember when we lost against Barnet last season Ken McKenna told me that you shouldn’t get too down when you lose or too confident when you win and that advice has stuck with me all this time.
“It’s a great win but we won’t get too carried away. The first point and the first win is always a milestone in any season however and we have got that now and will look to move on and get our first home win this week as well.”
Looking at the performance he said: “The lads were absolutely superb. We were disciplined and organised when they had the ball and when we had it we always looked a threat. We had three chances in the first half and we took them all and that was fantastic.
“Andy Fleming will quite rightly grab the headlines for his two goals but there were massive performances all over the park and I am delighted for the players and the fans.”
Fleming continued his excellent start to the season with two goals to add to the one he scored at Bloomfield Road in the Capital One Cup victory over Blackpool while Izak Reid added a third with his first goal of the season.
Fleming opened the scoring on 14 minutes with a clean strike from the edge of the area after the ball broke free.
The midfielder then scored a superb second on 25 minutes. Exeter keeper Artur Krysiak raced out of his goal to make a clearance but could only succeed in diverting the ball into the path of the former Wrexham man who showed great skill to find the back of the empty net from 40 yards.
The home defence was breached for a third time just after the half hour when Kevin Ellison hooked a ball over the top and Reid was alert enough to nip in and beat Krysiak to the ball and score from the edge of the area.
Exeter’s biggest threat was Alan Gow who forced Barry Roche into a great save from a 25-yard free-kick and the midfielder was controversially denied the chance to score in the second half when he wrestled clear of several chances to stroke the ball into the net only to see his effort chalked off for an earlier foul.
Substitutes Guillem Bouza and John O’Flynn tested Roche with second half headers but it was the Shrimps who came closest to scoring again when Jordan Burrow forced a good save from Krysiak in injury time with a near post flick.
Exeter: Krysiak, Amankwaah, Bennett (Bouza 46), Baldwin, Woodman (Frear 66), Coles, Sercombe, Oakley, Davies, Cureton (O’Flynn 66), Gow. Subs not used: Evans, Keohane, Moore-Taylor.
Booked: Woodman, Sercombe.
Morecambe: Roche 8, Parrish 8, Haining 8, McCready 8, Threlfall 8, Reid 8 (Burrow 73), Drummond 8, McDonald 8, Fleming 9, Ellison 8 (Redshaw 84), Brodie 8 (Carlton 58). Subs not used: Arestidou, Fenton, McGee.
Booked: Ellison, Haining.
Referee: A Davies.
Star man: Andy Fleming: The midfielder continued his excellent start to the season with two fine goals and a great all round display.