Underdogs Morecambe win Wembley final and show Stags the way to go says Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough said Morecambe's unexpected success in winning Monday's League Two play-off final at Wembley should give Stags heart for next season.
After two years of struggle at the One Call Stadium, Clough said the determination the Shrimps showed after so many years of fighting relegation was a great example of how clubs can turn things around.
A late penalty in extra-time proved the difference for a resolute Morecambe to pip Newport County and reach football's third tier for the first time in their history.
“It was incredible really,” said Clough.
“Newport were obviously favourites going into the game, but Morecambe performed unbelievably well.
“I think that game summed up their season. They were solid, difficult to break down and got a break when they needed one.
“They seem to have been fighting at the bottom end of the table for the vast majority of the last few years and that shows that teams can turn it around.
“Of course that's what we're looking to do and go from looking over our shoulder to looking up and trying to challenge for promotion.
“It gives us a lot of optimism that it can be done.”
Newport’s defeat was mde even worse by two penalty decisions going against them with no VAR on offer.
Morecambe’s Welsh goalkeeper Kyle Letheren missed his punch and hit Newport's Scot Bennett in the first half but nothing was given.
Morecambe were awarded a late penalty though replays suggested contact was made outside the box. But a spot kick was given and Carlos Mendes Gomes made no mistake.
Seeking to emulate Morecambe, Stags will hopefully be lifted by the return of supporters after the Covid pandemic next season and Clough is delighted with chairman John Radford's decision to offer cut-price season tickets to existing holders for their loyalty and backing during such a difficult time.
“I think it's a brilliant gesture,” he said.
“I think all clubs should be encouraged to do something to give something back to the supporters and the existing season ticket holders.”