Morecambe’s Play-off Final Winners – Where Are They Now?

Following the news that Derek Adams has departed Morecambe for a second time, we think we should take a look back at the Shrimps’ biggest triumph under the Scot.

Adams has left the pastures of Lancashire for his homeland to take charge of Scottish Premiership strugglers Ross County, who sit joint-bottom of the table following the sacking of Malky Mackay.

Shrimps fans will always remember the Glaswegian for his League Two Play-off Final victory over Newport County in 2021, taking the club to the third tier for the first time ever. Below are the players that featured in that 1-0 win at Wembley.

Kyle Letheren

Goalkeeper Letheren started his footballing life at Swansea City, including going on loan at the club he would end up beating in May 2021. Spending time at Barnsley, Plymouth and Doncaster, the Llanelli-born keeper found first-team football in Scotland, playing for Kilmarnock and Dundee FC over five years.

He returned to England with Blackpool but had his contract terminated one year later to join York City in the National League. He started in the Minstermen’s FA Trophy final victory over Macclesfield in 2017.

Letheren returned to Plymouth, also playing for Salford and Chesterfield before arriving in Morecambe, where he made 38 appearances. He had a great day at Wembley, keeping a clean sheet and making five saves. He retired at the end of last season at 35 years old and is currently a goalkeeper coach for Doncaster Rovers.

Ryan Cooney

Morecambe‘s number 21 that day was a product of the Bury academy, joining the Gigg Lane club at the age of nine. He made 29 appearances before departing the club as their financial perils continued to grow. He joined Burnley’s under-23 side and was sent out on loan to the Mazuma Mobile Stadium in January 2020. The Manchester-born defender’s start to life was disrupted by the pandemic, departing the club in March following the first lockdown.

Adams brought Cooney back on loan upon the return to football in August 2020, making 57 appearances for the Shrimps during his time on loan, including the play-off final victory. He joined the club permanently in June 2021 but was released upon the club’s relegation to League Two last season.

The 23-year-old was picked up by Crewe Alexandra upon his release, already making 17 appearances for the Railwaymen this season so far.

Sam Lavelle

Captain that day, Lavelle started his career in Blackburn, before joining Bolton in 2016. He failed to make an appearance for the Trotters, being released in 2017-18 during the club’s transfer embargo. The Scot joined Morecambe, a club his father had played for under the leadership of Jim Bentley.

Lavelle would ultimately make 165 appearances for the Shrimps, scoring six goals during his time there. He was appointed captain in his final season, capped off with the trophy lift following their play-off win. He joined Charlton Athletic on Deadline Day in August 2021, playing for two years at The Valley.

Struggling for first-team starts, he was sent on loan to Burton Albion in January 2023. The loan was cut short by a shoulder injury, only making two appearances. The 27-year-old currently plays for Carlisle United, making 14 appearances so far.

Nat Knight-Percival

One of the goalscorers in the semi-final victory over Tranmere Rovers, Knight-Percival started his career at Histon, before progressing to Wrexham, Peterborough and Shrewsbury. The defender joined Bradford City in 2016, reaching the League One play-off final with the Bantams in his debut season.

The Enfield-born Knight-Percival made 135 appearances in West Yorkshire and was released by Gary Bowyer in 2019. Following a brief spell in Carlisle, he joined Adams’ Morecambe in August 2020, and had an outstanding performance, making six recoveries, three interceptions as well as a 100% tackle win rate.

The 36-year-old joined Tranmere the next season and joined National League North side Kidderminster Harriers in July 2022, where he still plays today.

Liam Gibson

Gibson came through at Newcastle United’s academy, making loan appearances for Gateshead, Accrington Stanley and Grimsby Town. The 26-year-old departed the club in September 2020, joining the Shrimps.

He made 111 appearances in Morecambe red, playing 105 minutes of the Newport game before being substituted for Kelvin Mellor. The left-back was rewarded with a two-year contract after the promotion. Gibson saw out that contract in Lancashire, eventually signing for Harrogate Town this summer.

Yann Songo’o

In what has quickly become a running joke, Songo’o’s career has paralleled Derek Adams’ in recent years. But before linking up with the Scottish manager, Yann started his career on the continent, playing in Spain and France. He got his big break in America, joining Sporting Kansas City before being sent on loan to Orlando City in the US third tier.

He got a trial at Blackburn Rovers and met Adams for the first time when he arrived at Ross County in 2014. The Cameroonian followed him to Plymouth, making 121 appearances there. He joined Scunthorpe for a short time before Adams brought him to Morecambe for the first time. It was this first spell where he achieved the play-off victory.

For the third time, the Glaswegian came calling for Songo’o, joining him at Bradford before being loaned out to Walsall by new boss Mark Hughes. The 32-year-old returned to the Mazuma Stadium in the summer, taking the number six shirt.

Liam McAlinden

The Irish international began his life at Wolves, making limited appearances and went on multiple loans to Shrewsbury, Fleetwood and Crawley. He left Molineux for Exeter City, spending two years there and notching up 11 goals in 72 games.

McAlinden joined Cheltenham Town in 2018, and once more struggled for playing time, being loaned out to Brackley and Kidderminster. The Cannock-born winger joined FC Halifax Town and Stockport County in the coming seasons, before being signed by Adams in 2020, getting two assists across both semi-final legs against Tranmere.

He was released following the win, and currently is at Wrexham, joining the Reds in 2021, but is mainly a bench and rotation option for Phil Parkinson at 30 years old.

Aaron Wildig

The Hereford-born midfielder started his life at Cardiff City, making 13 appearances for the Bluebirds and playing on loan for Shrewsbury and Hamilton Academical. Wildig impressed Graham Turner, who offered him a contract following his spell in Shropshire, joining the club following their promotion to League One.

But Wildig could not get going once joining permanently, falling down the pecking order and going out on loan to Kidderminster and Morecambe. He joined the Shrimps after his Salop contract expired, and scored the decisive goal to get Morecambe to Wembley. The 31-year-old joined the Exiles in 2022, where he remains after 50 appearances at Rodney Parade.

Toumani Diagouraga

The French midfielder’s career began in Hertfordshire, playing for Watford mainly in cup competitions. He was loaned out to Rotherham and Hereford, joining the Edgar Street team in 2008. Diagouraga then moved to Peterborough a year later, before joining Brentford, where he spent much of his career.

The Parisian racked up 210 appearances for the Bees as they gained promotion to the Championship, before spells at Leeds United, Ipswich Town, Plymouth Argyle, Fleetwood Town and Swindon Town before joining Morecambe. He played all 120 minutes of the Play-Off Final, completing the most dribbles in the game.

He joined Rochdale as they were relegated from League Two in 2022-23, before hanging up his boots at that age. He joined Middlesborough as an academy coach this season.

Carlos Mendes Gomes

The man who scored the winning goal, Carlos Mendes Gomes enjoyed four years in Morecambe, joining from West Didsbury and Chorlton. He started out playing in Spain, playing in the Atletico Madrid youth team before his family relocated to England.

Mendes was voted the Supporter’s Player of the Year in 2021 and dispatched his penalty to send the Shrimps to League One in the 107th minute. The club activated a contract extension, but Gomes was scooped up by Luton Town, where he found limited game time, and was loaned out to Fleetwood.

Today he features in Bolton Wanderers‘ squad, having joined the club in July. The 25-year-old currently wears the number 7 at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.

Cole Stockton

The last man on the team sheet was Cole Stockton, with the number nine joining Morecambe from Tranmere Rovers twice. The Huyton-born striker came through the Birkenhead club’s academy, making 97 appearances at Prenton Park alongside loans to Vauxhall Motors, Southport and two spells at Morecambe.

He moved to Hearts in 2017, with quick moves to Carlisle and a loan to Wrexham before returning to Tranmere. Jim Bentley signed Stockton in 2019, with Stockton making 153 appearances for the club, scoring 52 goals. Today he plays in League One for Burton Albion.

1 of 15

Who is this nineties footballer?


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.