Morecambe 2 Newport County AFC 1: Second-half turnaround gives the Shrimps victory
Derek Adams claimed his first league win as Morecambe manager after the proverbial game of two halves at the Globe Arena.
A truly awful first-half display had seen the Shrimps trail to Joss Labadie’s contentious 14th-minute opener.
However, a revitalised Morecambe side roared back in the second period with Cole Stockton equalising before a stunning team move ended with John O’Sullivan netting the winner.
Adams had made one change from the side beaten at Plymouth Argyle a week earlier.
Ritchie Sutton’s red card meant a one-match suspension, meaning Alex Kenyon dropped into the back four.
Aaron Wildig was back in the starting XI, having recovered from the illness which saw him miss the trip to Home Park.
It was almost the worst possible start for the Shrimps as their visitors had a decent opportunity after only 22 seconds.
Lewis Alessandra lost possession, allowing Newport to break with Padraig Amond’s cross headed wide by Jamille Matt.
Another error in possession saw Wildig dispossessed by Josh Sheehan, who was allowed to run at the defence before his effort was blocked.
The deadlock was broken when Labadie received possession and curled an effort against the underside of the bar with the ball deemed over the line by assistant referee Anthony Moore.
If that decision went in their favour, the visitors felt one went against them when Matt went down inside the area following a challenge with Kenyon, only for play to be waved on.
Matt had another opportunity just past the half-hour following a poor clearance from Carlos Mendes-Gomes, only for Mark Halstead to advance quickly and block his shot.
At the other end, Tom Brewitt and Wildig both sent headers off target but that was as good as it got for the Shrimps in the opening 45 minutes.
Enough was clearly enough for Adams at half-time with Stockton and Kevin Ellison introduced in place of Alessandra and Wildig.
Those changes certainly woke up Morecambe as a busy start to the second half set the tone.
Three minutes in and A-Jay Leitch-Smith headed straight at keeper Nik Townsend from close range before seeing another effort beaten out moments later.
Townsend pushed Mendes-Gomes’ cross-cum-shot onto the top of the bar as the Shrimps finally established a foothold.
The keeper was at it again on the hour, tipping over another Leitch-Smith shot, while a clearance off the line kept out Steve Old’s header.
However, Townsend was finally beaten midway through the second half when Leitch-Smith and Mendes-Gomes combined for Stockton to turn and fire home a deserved leveller.
Newport had switched to three at the back during the second half but there was nothing they could do to stop Morecambe from taking the lead on 80 minutes.
Having won possession on the edge of their area, some wonderful passing play at speed from back to front culminated in O’Sullivan firing home from the edge of the area.
Though Newport huffed and puffed in search of a late equaliser, the Shrimps held out to start their Christmas celebrations early.
Morecambe: Halstead, Tanner, Kenyon, Old, Conlan, Brewitt, O’Sullivan, Mendes-Gomes (Cranston 90), Alessandra (Stockton 46), Wildig (Ellison 46), Leitch-Smith. Subs not used: Da Silva Mendes, Buxton, Brownsword, Miller.
Newport County AFC: Townsend, McNamara, O’Brien (Inniss 70), Demetriou, Haynes, Sheehan, Maloney (Bennett 66), Labadie, Nurse (Abrahams 71), Amond, Matt. Subs not used: King, Dolan, Collins, Poleon.
Referee: Paul Marsden.