The season Morecambe finally made it into the Football League

Sammy McIlroy celebrates Morecambe's play-off successSammy McIlroy celebrates Morecambe's play-off success
Sammy McIlroy celebrates Morecambe's play-off success
With Morecambe having celebrated their centenary this year, we have told the story of the club’s origins, the move to Christie Park, league and cup wins during three decades and their FA Trophy success at Wembley.

This week, club historian LAWRENCE BLAND offers up his memories of the 2006/07 season when the Shrimps finally reached the promised land...

The 2006/07 season was a marvellous one, which finally saw Morecambe making it to the Football League.

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I felt confident all season, Sammy McIlroy having previously taken Macclesfield Town into the League – and even gaining promotion to the next division in their first season up.

I thought we may be able to repeat that success as more experienced players came in; Craig Stanley (Hereford United), Adam Yates (Leek Town), Danny Adams (Huddersfield Town) and Neil Sorvel (Shrewsbury Town).

We were perhaps still depressed by the play-off defeat the previous May and started the season badly.

Jim Bentley missed the first 13 games, the last a 4-0 defeat at Crawley Town on October 7 which saw Morecambe down in 11th place.

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By the next defeat, on New Year’s Day, Morecambe were sixth before finishing third overall with the away form slightly better than at home.

After injuries to some of the forwards, Matty Blinkhorn came on loan from Blackpool for two months and his eight goals in 12 games were vital in the promotion push.

However, Blackpool would not let him play in the play-offs, so Danny Carlton would lead the attack.

The promotion play-offs with York City saw a battling 0-0 away draw with the return seeing Steven Drench carried off after conceding a penalty.

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Young Scott Davies took over but two second-half goals from Wayne Curtis secured a 2-1 aggregate win and a visit to the new Wembley.

Morecambe took 11,000 supporters but they were lost in the 40,043 crowd.

The final against Exeter City was always going to be a close game with goals at a premium.

After conceding an early goal, the Shrimps stormed back and had a penalty saved before Garry Thompson’s deserved equaliser with half-time looming.

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To avoid the dreaded penalties, it would take a super goal to win or lose the game; fortunately Danny Carlton produced a classic goal, his and Morecambe’s greatest.

The Wembley triumph rather overshadowed everything else which happened at the club that season.

The club also reached the second round of the FA Cup after winning at Moor Green and seeing off Kidderminster Harriers at home, only to lose 1-0 at Swindon Town thanks to a controversial penalty in stoppage time.

Drench was named as player of the year, while Stanley and Adam Yates were capped for the England National Game XI.

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Also joining the club over the course of the season were Jamie Burns, Matthew Shaw (both Blackpool), Drench (Blackburn Rovers), Fraser McLachlan (Mansfield Town), David McNiven (Scarborough), Danny Meadowcroft (Mossley) and Jason Walker (Morton).

Out went Lee Dodgson, Shaun Gray, David Hardiker (all Fleetwood Town), Stuart Barlow (Southport), Jimmy Kelly (Lancaster City), Darren Kempson (Crewe Alexandra), Dave Perkins (Rochdale), Adriano Rigoglioso (Forest Green Rovers) and Michael Stringfellow (Barrow).

At the end of the season, Ged Brannan retired and Carlton made the move to Carlisle United.

Also departing were Chris Blackburn (Swindon Town), David McNiven (Stafford Rangers), Meadowcroft (Mossley), Keiron Walmsley (Fleetwood Town) and Jonathan Smith (Forest Green Rovers).