football

Morecambe reach League One for the first time after beating Newport in final


Morecambe will play in the third tier of English football for the first time in their history after winning the League Two play-off final.

The Shrimps saw off Newport County 1-0 after extra-time in a nervy showpiece match at Wembley.

Carlos Mendes Gomes scored the only goal, via the penalty spot, in the 107th minute.

And that was enough to seal promotion for Derek Adams’ side after a superb season. Last year they finished third-bottom and they started the campaign 5-1 favourites to be relegated into the National League.

Now, they can look forward to taking on the likes of Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and Portsmouth as equals in League One next year.



It was a cagey affair in the Wembley heat

The first half was a cagey affair in the Wembley heat. As a result genuine goalscoring chances were few and far between.

Arguably the talking point to emerge from the first 45 minutes was the non-award of a penalty to Newport.

Scott Bennett got his head to the ball first during an aerial incident, with Morecambe goalkeeper Kyle Letheren appearing to punch Bennett instead of the ball.

Of course VAR isn’t in operation in the play-offs so Morecambe got away with one.

The second half started more brightly, and midway through the half Ryan Cooney’s dipping effort drew a fine save from Newport’s Tom King.

Liam Shephard then tried his luck from distance on 78 minutes but Letheren was equal to it as he tipped it behind for a corner.

Neither side could force the breakthrough inside 90 minutes so extra time beckoned.

County captain Joss Labadie looked destined to prod home from a yard out in the last action of the first half of extra time, but he inexplicably put over the bar.

And that miss did indeed prove costly when barely a minute after the restart, Morecambe were handed a golden chance from the penalty spot.



Carlos Mendes Gomes tucks away the penalty

John O’Sullivan went down in the box under a challenge from Ryan Haynes. Replays showed it looked a soft decision and maybe even took place outside the box.

Nevertheless, referee Bobby Madley pointed to the spot – and Gomes converted with confidence to send the Shrimps fans wild.

Newport, with 42-year-old Kevin Ellison on the pitch against his old club, couldn’t fashion an equaliser though, as Morecambe celebrated a memorable day in their history.

Speaking during the celebrations, match-winner Gomes said: “I feel like I’ve worked all my life for moments like this.

“It’s unbelievable because I know what it means for the whole football club.

“It’s my first professional club and they’ve treated me like family since I arrived. If I was writing a story, it’d probably be this way!

“It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

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