Morecambe’s revival came to a crushing end with a heavy defeat against play-off chasing Exeter.
Jim Bentley’s side lost at home for the first time since the end of September as their failure to take the chances that came their way proved vital.
Kevin Ellison and Lewis Alessandra both missed golden opportunities and once veteran striker Jamie Cureton scored with the Grecians’ first opportunity of the game the Shrimps never looked like fighting their way back into the game.
Bentley’s side started well enough and former North End striker Chris Holroyd drilled a shot just wide of the right hand post with just 50 seconds on the clock.
From there both teams cancelled each other out, with both defences very much on top as both sides struggled to find any fluidity.
The only chance of any note in the first half came when Holroyd turned provider with a perfect cross for Ellison but from six yards out he missed the target with his poor header when he should have scored.
Exeter threatened briefly when left back Craig Woodman found space in the box but lashed his shot well wide of the left hand post.
Barry Roche then had to be alert to race from his goal to deny Jamie Cureton a shot on goal.
After a first half lacking in incident and quality the second period was a more lively affair.
Exeter had the first effort on goal when captain Danny Coles curled an effort wide of the target from a good position.
The Shrimps hit back and should have opened the scoring. Lewis Alessandra was put through on goal after Holroyd’s excellent ball caught the Exeter defence out but after rounding the Grecians’ keeper Artur Krysiak the Morecambe striker somehow failed to find the open goal and he slashes his final effort wide.
He was made to pay as Cureton showed him how it should be done just after the hour when he was teed up by Tommy Doherty’s perfect pass and stroked the ball perfectly past Roche into the bottom right hand corner of the Morecambe goal.
The Shrimps hit back with Ryan Williams finally forcing Krysiak into a decent save with a well struck free kick and substitute Jordan Burrow heading over from an Andy Parrish cross.
But as the Shrimps pushed for an equaliser they left gaps at the back and Exeter exploited them fully as they doubled their advantage four minutes from time as Jimmy Keohane crossed from the right and Arron Davies produced a cool finish to beat Roche from the left hand side of the box.
Exeter added a third two minutes into injury time when Cureton arrowed a shot into the top right hand corner as the Shrimps were caught short of numbers at the back.