Morecambe reached the third level in English football for the first time in its 101-year history, beating Newport 1-0 after extra time in the Ligue 2 play-off final.
Carlos Mendes Gomes scored the game’s only goal from the penalty spot in the 107th minute – albeit via a slightly questionable decision to award it – to send the Shrimps to victory at Wembley and League One.
It wraps up a remarkable season for Derek Adams’ side, especially considering how far they’ve come from fighting for promotion lately. Morecambe had spent the past 14 years in League Two, with more than one tight relegation beating along the way.
For Newport, it’s a second final play-off loss in three years at this level. Their 34-year wait for promotion to the third level will continue into the next season.
Morecambe triumphs at Wembley to make history
It was a first half of a few chances at either end. The main point of discussion was whether or not Newport should have secured a penalty after 12 minutes as Kyle Letheren caught Scot Bennett’s face as he attempted to clear a long throw, but nothing was given by the ‘arbitrator.
Liam Gibson came close in the 42nd minute for Morecambe on the other end, played by Mendes Gomes before throwing a shot past Tom King which was then cleared by Liam Shephard, while on the other end Bennett had saw an effort deviate a few inches from the Shrimps’ goal. in downtime.
It wasn’t until the 78th minute that either goalkeeper was forced to make a proper save, as Shephard’s fierce weak 20-yard drive was ruled out of Morecambe’s goal by Letheren, and ultimately, the game unfolded in the inevitable extra 30 minutes.
Finally, after 104 minutes, the game produced its first real opening when substitute Nicky Maynard ran into Joss Labadie, but the Newport captain put the ball over the bar at six yards.
It turned out to be a costly failure as soon after the break the stalemate was finally broken. John O’Sullivan was knocked down by Ryan Haynes and, although he appeared to have been outside the box when the challenge was taken up, referee Bobby Madley pointed to the spot, and Mendes Gomes made the rest from 12 meters.
What the managers said …
Morecambe Derek adams: “It was a tough game and there wasn’t a lot of good play. We changed formation several times in the game, tried to change and finally we got in the box and got a penalty. am just delighted for all of the supporters today.
“Football soccer. We had a good group of players at the start of the season and thought we could get a promotion. It’s a fabulous day for all of Lancashire. I’ve never been nervous about it. of the game and I’m sorry, but it was written in the stars. It was Morecambe’s day. “
Newport Michael Flynn: “First of all I want to congratulate Morecambe. They have had an exceptional season. Derek Adams has done a fantastic job and they have a very good group of players who never know when they are beaten. important thing to say up to the minute.
“Where it went wrong two very, very bad refereeing decisions, once again, cost us at Wembley. [the penalty decision that led to the winner] was a terrible decision. If there was contact, it was off the beaten track and he made the most of it. How we were not given the one for the first half, where the goalkeeper hit our player in the head …
“I want to focus on [giving my] Congratulations to Morecambe and how proud I am of my players and staff for the season they have had this year and the way they have conducted themselves. I’m just emptied for those fans who must have seen their team on the wrong side of bad decisions at Wembley. “
Analysis: a story of two penalties at Wembley
There is no doubt that the two talking points will surround the penalty which was not given early to Newport, and the one which was awarded in overtime to Morecambe …
Jobi McAnuff on Sky Sports Football:
“[Newport’s] was an absolute sanction. We see how much protection goalkeepers get when the shoe is on the other foot. He has nothing on the ball and it looks like two hands. Zero contact with the ball – that’s a clear penalty for me.
“It’s all about decisions and key moments. It could have been different for Newport if they had made that decision in the first half and they will feel Morecambe’s penalty was soft.”
Michael Duff on Sky Sports Football:
“It’s not intentional he came in late and caught up with him but I think it’s a penalty. You have to give Morecambe credit but Newport will feel like they’ve been on the wrong side of two. key decisions. “
Lee Hendrie on Sky Sports Football:
“It was a dive for me [by O’Sullivan for Morecambe]. Certainly no penalty! You look at the pain that should have been [for Newport] and then this incident. It’s heartbreaking for Newport, sickening. “
Man of the match: Yann Songo’o
Morecambe was on the defensive for large parts of the game at Wembley, and without Songo’o’s tenacity, organization and leadership, it’s hard to see how they would have crossed the line.
Yann Songo’o on Sky Sports Football:
“At the start of the season, nobody believed in us. The manager has managed to create a brilliant team and I am proud of each of them.
“When he arrived he said he wanted to change the mentality of the club. To be promoted this way is amazing. I dreamed of a day like this.”
Mendes Gomes: from Atletico Madrid to Morecambe
What a moment it was for Carlos Mendes Gomes. The man who started his Atletico career at the age of 15 and now finds himself at Morecambe via England’s 10th overall.
“We had to move to England and at first I didn’t want to because I had my football at home, but I was like, ‘If it’s for me to be a footballer, so be it in Spain or in England, I will make it. succeed ”, he said. Sky Sports’ Adam Goodwin in a fascinating interview earlier this season.
Talk to Sky Sports after his team’s triumph at Wembley he said: “I know what it means for Morecambe. They are my first professional club and have treated me like family since I’ve been here.
“If I wrote a story it would be like this. It was an amazing feeling and I knew this pen would mean so much if I put it on.”
- Morecambe made his very first promotion to the Football League after 14 consecutive seasons in League Two.
- Newport have lost each of their two play-off finals, losing to Tranmere in 2019 and Morecambe today (both ranked fourth).
- Morecambe has won all three games he has played at Wembley Stadium (1974 FA Trophy final against Dartford, 2007 Conference play-offs final and today’s Ligue 2 play-offs final) – the only one club team to have played more matches at the stadium winning 100% of those matches are in Barcelona (4/4).
- Newport have lost four of their five appearances at Wembley Stadium, failing to score in those four losses.
- Morecambe are the first team to finish fourth in the Ligue 2 table and gain promotion via play-offs from Fleetwood Town in 2014.
- Morecambe manager Derek Adams got his second promotion from League Two, after leading Plymouth Argyle to an automatic promotion in 2016-17.
- Carlos Mendes Gomes’ winner for Morecambe was his 18th goal for the Shrimps in all competitions and his first from the penalty spot.
Morecambe will play in Sky Bet League One for the 2021/22 season, while Newport will remain in League Two. The two divisions leave on Saturday August 7.