Morecambe resist Tranmere fightback to reach League Two play-off final
Morecambe are one victory away from reaching the third tier for the first time after making it through to the Sky Bet League Two play-off final with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Tranmere.
The Shrimps, who missed out on automatic promotion by one point on the final day of the season, took a vital lead through Aaron Wildig in only the ninth minute of the game and held on to that advantage until James Vaughan pulled a goal back early in the second half to make it 1-1 on the day.
Tranmere went close to taking the lead after eight minutes when Vaughan made space for himself in the box and headed a pinpoint cross from Liam Ridehalgh against the top of the Morecambe crossbar.
But Morecambe’s Liam McAlinden soon threaded a perfect pass through to Wildig, who took the ball in his stride and fired into the bottom right hand corner from 12 yards out.
The home side looked dangerous on the counter-attack throughout and Tranmere skipper Peter Clarke made a goal-saving clearance to stop a Carlos Mendes Gomes cross from finding Stockton in the six-yard box.
Morecambe skipper Sam Lavelle headed a corner onto the roof of the net and Mendes Gomes tested Murphy from distance before Tranmere hit back towards the end of the half when Paul Lewis forced Kyle Letheren into a fine save low to his right with a smartly struck volley.
The second half saw Tranmere caretaker boss Ian Dawes change his tactics, with the experienced David Nugent coming off the bench and making an immediate impression as he played a part in Tranmere’s leveller in the 53rd minute.
The former England striker headed down a Liam Feeney corner into the path of Vaughan, who bundled the ball home from close range.
The visitors maintained the pressure from there and were denied a second when Manny Monthe’s close-range header was superbly saved by Letheren to his left-hand side.
The home keeper was then involved again with another fine late save from Kayne Woolery’s long-range effort to ensure Derek Adams’s side reached their first ever Football League play-off final.