Walsall 0 Morecambe 2: Shrimps secure a play-off spot and maintain their hope of automatic promotion
Morecambe ensured their quest for an automatic promotion spot will go to the final day of the season following a gritty victory over Walsall.
Goals from Cole Stockton and Yann Songo’o earned the Shrimps a guaranteed play-off place, while defeats for Cambridge United and Bolton Wanderers mean Derek Adams’ side are still in the hunt for a top-three finish in League Two.
Adams was forced to make four changes from the 1-0 defeat against Bolton Wanderers with Kelvin Mellor’s suspension and injuries to Carlos Mendes Gomes, Liam Gibson and Aaron Wildig leading to starts for Stephen Hendrie, Liam McAlinden, Ryan Cooney and Freddie Price.
The Shrimps started the game on the back foot as Walsall enjoyed the greater share of possession but without creating too many clear chances.
The home side’s first effort of note came on 14 minutes when Aston Villa loanee Tyreik Wright picked up possession and ran at the Morecambe defence, only to be denied by a superb block from a combination of Nat Knight-Percival and Kyle Letheren.
The Saddlers continued to dominate the ball but their lack of a potent goal threat was evident as Emmanuel Osadebe swung in a superb free-kick but there was no home player on hand to take advantage.
Rod McDonald put in a similar low cross that was crying out for a touch before the home side created their best chance of the game on 39 minutes.
An attempted clearance ricocheted perfectly for Josh Gordon but he failed to find the target from 10 yards out.
After soaking up the pressure, the Shrimps took a shock lead in first-half injury time.
Letheren launched a free-kick deep into the Walsall half, the ball was flicked on and Stockton took advantage of a defensive slip from Dan Scarr to curl the ball past the stranded Jack Rose for his 14th goal of the season.
Walsall continued to pass the ball around neatly after the break and created an early chance for Gordon, who headed over from close range.
For all the home side’s possession, it was the Shrimps who looked the more likely to score.
Ben Pringle came on for Price just after the hour and almost made an immediate impression, teeing up Toumani Diagouraga but he curled just wide when he looked sure to score.
Pringle was involved as the Shrimps sealed the points with their second goal on 77 minutes.
The substitute delivered a dangerous corner that was met by Sam Lavelle, and although his header was superbly saved by Rose, Songo’o was on hand to head home the loose ball from close range.
Walsall continued to press but the Shrimps’ defence stayed firm to keep a valuable clean sheet and take victory in ensuring the promotion chase goes to the wire.
Walsall: Rose, Melbourne, Clarke, Scarr, Kinsella (Bates 82), Gordon (Lavery 65), McDonald, Perry, Osadebe, White, Wright. Subs not used: Roberts, Norman, Nolan, Leak, Willis.
Morecambe: Letheren, Hendrie, Knight-Percival (Davis 90), Lavelle, Diagouraga, Stockton, Lyons, McAlinden (Denny 88), Cooney, Price (Pringle 62), Songo’o (Kenyon 90). Sub not used: Halstead.
Referee: Lee Swabey.
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