Morecambe 1 Newport County AFC 1: Late goal pegs back the Shrimps and gives their visitors a play-off spot
Jamille Matt’s 87th minute goal dented Morecambe’s hopes of a fifth home league win in six and gave Newport their place in the end-of-season play-offs.
With time running out, the striker netted from close range to ensure a point apiece after Aaron Collins had given the Shrimps a first-half lead against one of his former clubs.
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley had made one change to the side which saw off Cambridge United a week earlier with Carlos Mendes Gomes starting in place of Piero Mingoia.
The visitors began well, albeit without creating a clear chance and the Shrimps took advantage by opening the scoring in the 20th minute.
Collins was first to Steve Old’s long clearance before holding off Regan Poole and firing beyond Joe Day for his eighth of the season.
Bentley’s players thought they should have had a penalty 10 minutes later when Vadaine Oliver was pushed to the floor when jumping for a free-kick.
Referee Neil Hair, however, saw nothing wrong and waved play on; one of several contentious decisions in a display which occasionally baffled both benches.
At the other end, Padraig Amond had a shot blocked by Sam Lavelle and Dan Butler fired horribly wide but they should have levelled with half-time approaching.
Josh Sheehan’s close-range effort was blocked by Mark Halstead’s legs before the same player somehow hit the back of the Morecambe keeper from six yards with the rebound.
Halstead preserved Morecambe’s lead by saving efforts from Butler and Amond early in the second half but it was his opposite number who kept Newport in the contest.
Midway through the second half and Collins got clear, only to see his shot blocked by the onrushing keeper.
Moments later and the same two players went head to head again, this time Day making a point-blank stop to deny Collins.
With Newport becoming increasingly anxious for an equaliser, Matt did the business with time running out as he tapped home after Butler’s ball in was sent back across goal.
Morecambe: Halstead, Sutton, Lavelle, Old, Conlan, Mendes Gomes (Mandeville 46), McKay (Mingoia 78), Fleming, Cranston, Collins, Oliver (Ellison 80). Subs not used: Roche, Kenyon, R Bennett, Hedley.
Newport County AFC: Day, Poole (McKirdy 74), O’Brien, Demetriou, Willmott, Dolan (Azeez 58), Sheehan (Marsh-Brown 86), S Bennett, Butler, Amond, Matt. Subs not used: Pipe, Bakinson, Crofts.
Referee: Neil Hair.