MORECAMBE legend Kevin Ellison put the boot into his old team to seal a huge win in Newport County AFC’s League Two promotion bid.

The Exiles followed up their victories against Colchester and Bradford with a 3-1 success in Lancashire, the first time they had hit three in the league since October.

A point would have been a solid return against a Shrimps side who have upset the odd all season but County took all three to leapfrog their hosts and Tranmere into fourth.

The Exiles got a dream start when awarded a penalty that allowed cool Matty Dolan to score his sixth of the season, five of them from the spot.

South Wales Argus:

However, Morecambe were back on level terms after 19 minutes when Yann Songo’o smashed past Nick Townsend from distance.

County then had the chance to push for victory when Sam Lavelle, who had given away the penalty by handling, was sent off for dragging down Ryan Taylor as he closed in on goal.

The Exiles earned the lead for the second time on the stroke of half-time when Josh Sheehan, who had grown in influence, fired home from just inside the box.

It needed a superb Nick Townsend save to keep the 2-1 lead and then came Ellison’s magic moment, the 42-year-old coming off the bench to slam home.

Showing an incredible turn of pace for a veteran, the Scouser ran for the Shrimps’ bench and let out a huge roar in the face of Morecambe boss Derek Adams, who had frozen him out.

His delight was shared by all Exiles – the win was important in the race for the play-offs but also keeps the heat on the top three.

Michael Flynn made just one change to the side that edged out Bradford at Cardiff City Stadium with Taylor in to provide a more physical presence up front.

That meant Nicky Maynard was given the job of impact sub for the first time since heading to Newport from Mansfield; the veteran striker’s last Stags start had been on November 24 but he made nine on the spin for the Exiles.

Aaron Lewis continued to deputise for the injured Ryan Haynes down the left with County once again playing three at the back.

Morecambe, who had taken 13 points from their last six games, were on the front foot early on yet County hit the front after a Scot Bennett cross was handled by defender Lavelle.

Just like he did against Bradford, Dolan fired low to his left into the corner. Just like he had against Bradford, Dolan had scored penalties home and away against Morecambe.

County had their dream start and were moving the ball well against a Shrimps side who were also playing some nice stuff in possession.

South Wales Argus:

They enjoyed a spell of pressure that was rewarded in the 19th minute through Songo’o, who was given a little too much time to line up a drive from 25 metres that flew past Nick Townsend.

The 1-1 scoreline was probably a fair reflection of a good contest and it was County that had the next chance on 32 minutes only for Dolan to fail to match his superb long-range free-kick against the Bantams.

Then the afternoon that started badly for Lavelle got worse, the centre-back hauling down Taylor after he was put through by Padraig Amond’s flick on.

County had a chance to push for a huge three points against promotion rivals and Sheehan took responsibility for leading the charge from the heart of midfield.

A wonderful cross-field pass by the Wales international led to a half-chance for Joss Labadie but he couldn’t hit the target from Liam Shephard’s cut-back.

However, County got their 2-1 lead in time added on when a defensive header led to Sheehan winning possession and then cutting in on his right to fire home from inside the box.

The Exiles, playing into a strong wind, struggled to get going at the start of the second half despite their numerical advantage.

County needed to avoid giving Morecambe set-piece opportunities and looked for Dolan to add an extra attacking option when stepping further forward.

They were bossing possession and stretching their hosts; patience was the key.

Maynard was called into action after 68 minutes for Amond while Morecambe legend Kevin Ellison came on against his old side, an attacking change for Bennett.

Yet the Exiles were hailing their keeper after 74 minutes after Townsend reacted superbly to tip over an acrobatic overhead effort by Harry Davies.

Ellison then provided some breathing space with a fine finish from Maynard’s lay-off but it wasn’t quite job done.

Townsend had performed heroics at 2-1 but needed the help of the excellent Lewis, who reacted quickly to clear after the keeper let a weak shot slip out of his grasp after 84 minutes.

Thankfully that was the last scare as the Exiles recorded a huge win in their push for promotion.

Morecambe: Letheren, Mellor, Lavelle (captain), Davis, Diagouraga, Stockton, Wildig, Mendes Gomes, O'Sullivan, Gibson, Songo'o.
Substitutes: Halstead, Hendrie, Pringle, McAlinden, Denny, Cooney, Price.
Goals: Songo’o

County: Townsend, Farquharson (Longe-King 84), Dolan, Demetriou, Shephard, Lewis, Sheehan, Bennett (Ellison 68), Labadie (captain, Amond (Maynard 68), Taylor (Telford 86).
Substitutes: King, Hartigan, Scrimshaw.
Goals: Dolan (penalty), Sheehan, Ellison

Referee: Andy Haines