Super sub Zico fires Shrimps into play-offs

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A SPOT of Black magic took Morecambe into the Conference play-offs.

Substitute Ryan-Zico Black was the Shrimps' hero with two second half goals, the second an absolute gem, to help his side earn the three points they needed to book their place in the first ever Conference play-offs.

Black, who has found it difficult to get into the side in recent weeks, replaced Lee Collins on 69 minutes and soon made his presence felt.

With the game standing at 1-1 he gave the Shrimps the lead for the second time on 72 minutes with a neat volley from 12 yards out that sneaked into the goal despite the best efforts of keeper Tony Pennock.

Joy turned to despair 10 minutes later when Ken Charlery drew Farnborough level for a second time with a neat finish though he looked yards offside.

It seemed as though Morecambe's play-off champagne would have to be put on ice for another week but then Black produced a moment of magic.

Taking the ball on the right hand side he came infield, a clever run away from goal by Wayne Curtis created a gap down the centre and Black took full advantage to produce an excellent finish past the stranded Pennock.

The look on the Northern Ireland Under 21 star's face said it all and the celebrations could begin.

In the end there were a few nerves jangling among the Morecambe officials but there looked to be no worries at the start of the game as Morecambe quite simply tore the home side apart.

The first five minutes saw Pennock make a superb save from Adriano Rigoglioso's 30-yard lob and the Shrimps force a string of corners.

From one of these Morecambe took the lead. Jim Rodwell's header fell perfectly for Lee Elam whose volley deflected past Pennock.

A second goal then looked a certainty as the Shrimps piled forward at every opportunity revelling in the space they were being given by a ragged Farnborough outfit.

Rigoglioso had the best of the chances, forcing Pennock into a fine save with his feet after connecting with Curtis's low cross and then firing straight at the keeper when he should have done better.

Rigoglioso, Stewart Drummond and Elam all fired over as the Shrimps dominated although they were rocked when Farnborough came close to levelling the scores on 19 minutes.

The home side produced one of the best moves of the game as the ball was swung out wide to Chris Piper whose cross was hammered against the crossbar by his brother Lenny from just inside the box.

Only in the second half did Farnborough produce anything of that quality again.

They regrouped after the break and began to cause the Shrimps a number of problems and grabbed an equaliser six minutes into the half.

Craig Mawson only half cleared a left wing corner with a punch and as the ball came back into the box Joff Vansittart bundled home from close range.

Farnborough's next attack almost produced a second goal with Tony Taggart flashing a shot across the Shrimps' goal.

Morecambe survived that scare and soon settled back into their first half rhythm.

Rigoglioso tested Pennock again with a curling free kick from the edge of the area that was floating into the top right hand corner before the keeper made an excellent save to deny Curtis.

The Shrimps' top scorer was to be denied again moments after when brought down by Rodwell as he looked set to break free and the Farnborough defender was lucky to escape with only a yellow card.

The Shrimps finally made their dominance pay when Black volleyed home a second only for Charlery to hit back moments later.

But Jim Harvey's side showed their mettle once again as they battled to the end with Black scoring a memorable goal to cap a memorable afternoon.