The third and final play-off decider of the 2020/21 season takes place on Monday at Wembley as Morecambe and Newport County battle for a place in League One.
Morecambe have enjoyed a wonderful season and defied expectations under boss Derek Adams to finish fourth in the regular season, and they were only one point away from automatic promotion.
Newport enjoyed another strong campaign under Michael Flynn and an impressive ending to the season saw them finish in fifth place.
Morecambe’s Attack to Shine
One of the reasons for Morecambe’s outstanding season has been the form of their forward players – only three other teams in the division had a better goalscoring record.
Centre forward Cole Stockton has never had a goalscoring season quite like this, netting 15 goals in 48 appearances – with six of those coming in his last ten matches.
Carlos Mendes Gomes has also shone and been the Shrimps’ talisman this season. Like Stockton, Gomes has registered 15 goals this season, which is a remarkable record for a player who had only scored twice in the past two campaigns.
With two players capable of goalscoring like that, expect Morecambe to be among the goals – they are available at
23/4 to score over 2.5 goals.
Newport To Utilise Set-Pieces
One of the reasons why Newport have taken so many cup scalps over the past few years is because they very awkward to play against.
It isn’t quite as pronounced in League Two, where many teams have a similar approach, but Newport are still regarded as one of the most physical sides in the division.
Up front, they like to play the ball quickly up to Tristan Abrahams and Padraig Amond, while Joss Labadie is a powerful, all-action central midfielder.
They also possess a long-throw specialist in Mickey Demetriou, which can cause mayhem in any defence.
With that in mind, the corner count could be high at Wembley, and Newport can be backed at
5/8 to have over 4.5 corners in the match, which looks a solid bet.
Shrimps to be Just Too Strong
All play-off encounters are expected to be close, and this match is no different.
Only five points separated the two sides in the regular season, and Newport have actually won both meetings this season by an aggregate scoreline of 5-2.
There is a tasty sideshow as well in the form of the duel between Newport forward and former Morecambe stalwart Kevin Ellison and current Morecambe boss Adams.
Ellison was frozen out by Adams before his departure from the Lancashire coast and responded by celebrating in front of the Scot when scoring against Morecambe in March for his new club.
That might set the tone for a tough match at Wembley.
Newport, though, might be scarred by their extra-time loss against Tranmere two years ago, and Morecambe’s extra quality in attack should see them over the line and the Shrimps to win by a one-goal margin can be backed at
*All odds correct at time of writing