Carlos Mendes Gomes was the hero once more for Morecambe as they defied all the odds to clinch a much deserved promotion to Sky Bet League One for the first time in their 101-year history at Wembley as the Shrimps overcame a plucky Newport County side.
Derek Adams named an unchanged side for the club’s first ever EFL play-off final, with the Shrimps lining up with the same starting eleven which saw off Tranmere Rovers in the semi finals.
Whilst Michael Flynn made one change to his side’s team that saw off Forest Green Rovers, with skipper Joss Labadie coming into the midfield in place of AFC Wimbledon loanee Anthony Hartigan.
It was a baking hot day in the English capital and both sides headed into the game ready to make the step up to League One, with their respective fanbases descending on Wembley in their droves.
There was a slow start to the action on the field of play, with both sides mainly looking to knock the ball into the channels in order to gain territorial advantages.
It was Newport who fashioned the first chance of the game as Scot Bennett headed just wide from a long throw, with Morecambe keeper Kyle Letheren being caught in no mans land as he came for the ball.
Mendes Gomes was the bright spark in attack for Morecambe as he had been for much of the campaign and he was key in fashioning several half chances in the opening 20 minutes of the contest.
County goalkeeper Tom King showed great awareness to come racing off his line to punch a lofted ball behind for a corner just as Cole Stockton began to close in, as the scores remained level bang on the half hour mark.
Mendes Gomes then fashioned an opening well as we approached half time as he found the advancing Liam Gibson, whose scuffed shot was cleared well off the line after it went past King in the Newport goal.
It was then the Exiles who went mightily close to getting the breakthrough as Bennett drove forward well before seeing his driven shot deflected wide as it looked for a second like it would be sneaking in at the near post.
Heading into the second half under the famous arch and it was County who again fashioned a good opening through Lewis Collins, however his resulting shot in the area was kindly deflected into the hands of Letheren, who gathered at the second attempt.
Then came a decent effort from Josh Sheehan, with the midfielder some space well before arrowing in a low shot that was well held by Letheren once more.
It was then Morecambe’s turn to have a go, with Ryan Cooney taking on a shot from distance that King could only palm away awkwardly as the Shrimps grew more into the contest.
Letheren then made a stunning save for Morecambe as he sprung down brilliantly to his right to deny Liam Shepard what would have been a brilliant goal from distance after the Newport man cut in well from the right.
Skipper Sam Lavelle then headed well wide from a corner for the Shrimps as the man everyone had been talking about, 42-year-old striker Kevin Ellison, entered the field of play to a chorus of boos and applause from both ends of the ground.
Another brilliant save was then made by Letheren in added time at the end of the second period as he got down well to palm a Ryan Haynes freekick wide that looked to be sneaking into the bottom corner.
The game then headed into extra time, with the 9,000 or so inside Wembley being no closer to knowing which side would be heading to Sky Bet League One next season.
There was then a huge chance for Newport to take the lead as substitute Nicky Maynard did brilliantly to play the ball into the six yard box after beating his man, but the onrushing Labadie could only sky the ball over the bar from just yards out with the goal at his mercy.
We then had the breakthrough that this game longed for as Haynes appeared to trip the onrushing O’Sullivan as Morecambe came forward – on second inspection it appeared to be outside the area and possibly a dive – but Bobby Madley duly pointed to the penalty spot.
It was then left to that man Mendes Gomes who stepped up to stroke the ball home into the bottom left hand corner as he sent King the wrong way and the Morecambe masses into delirium behind the goal.
Adams barked out instructions from the touchline to his players till the very end as they eventually held out for what would have ordinarily been an unthinkable promotion to League One, with their playing budget being widely reported as one of the lowest in the entire Football League.
Make no mistake about it, this was an achievement for the ages in the strangest of seasons as Morecambe capped the perfect end to a marvellous story at Newport’s unfortunate expense.
FULL TIME (AET): Morecambe 1-0 Newport County
Congratulations to Morecambe from everyone at Football League World and commiserations to all of those connected with Newport County.