Morecambe relegated after Jay Stansfield fires Exeter to victory with hat-trick
Morecambe were relegated from League One after Jay Stansfield signed off from his loan spell at Exeter with a brilliant hat-trick to seal a 3-2 win at St James Park.
Derek Adams’ side had to better the result of MK Dons to stand a chance of staying up, but they drop back into League Two after two years in the third tier.
However, the day belonged to Stansfield, whose loan back at his boyhood club from Fulham ended in the best possible way.
After a dire first half, where chances were few and far between, Exeter went in front after 49 minutes when Sam Nombe laid the ball off to Stansfield, his first touch took him past a defender and he drilled the ball beyond Connor Ripley in the Shrimps goal.
However, the equaliser came almost immediately with a calamitous mix-up in the Exeter penalty box between Will Aimson and goalkeeper Jamal Blackman allowed Cole Stockton to nod the ball into an empty net.
Exeter were back in front again after 57 minutes when a cross into the box bounced around and Stansfield lashed the ball into the net from 10 yards.
It was written in the stars for the young striker to sign off with a hat-trick and that is exactly what happened when, in the 70th minute, Josh Key laid the ball on a plate and he scuffed the ball into the corner before pointing to the name on the stand that bears his late father’s name.
That was to be Stansfield’s final contribution as he was taken off to the most emotional of standing ovations.
Plucky Morecambe fought to the end, and Stockton smashed home his second during 14 minutes of stoppage time, but it was not enough as they dropped into League Two.