Morecambe 3, Tranmere Rovers 4

TRANMERE moved into the playoff positions for the first time this season after overcoming Morecambe in an incredible seven-goal thriller at the Global Arena.

Rhys Oates put the Shrimps in front before headers from Ollie Banks and Harvey Gilmour gave Rovers a 2-1 half-time lead.

Johnny Smith extended their advantage early in the second half but Vadaine Oliver and A-Jay Leitch-Smith drew the hosts level 10 minutes from time.

But in the 89th minute Gilmour struck the decisive blow to ensure Rovers reigned victorious in what was an incredible football match.

With James Norwood serving a once match suspension after picking up a red card mid-week and Cole Stockton injured, Micky Mellon was forced to shuffle his pack.

In came Paul Mullin and Gilmour – who impressed last time out against Lincoln – switching to a 4-3-3 formation.

The Super White Army arrived in numbers – officially, 1367 of them packing out the away end and creating a party vibe from the off.

Tranmere had a glorious chance to take the lead in the third minute when Connor Jennings found Mullin in the box, who turned and shot only to see Barry Roche tip the ball around the post for a corner.

Roche denied Mullin again moments later as the visitors dominated the early exchanges.

But it was Morecambe who took the lead in the 13th minute when Oates drove through the middle of park too easily and drilled a low shot beyond the reach of Scott Davies.

Rovers responded when Smith cut inside and tried his luck from the edge of the box but Roche easily held his left-footed effort.

Goal scorer Oates wanted a penalty just past the 20-minute mark when he appeared to be tumbled over in the box but to no avail.

Manny Monthe then blocked a shot from Leitch-Smith as the Shrimps started to grow in confidence.

But just before the half-hour mark Tranmere drew level, when Gilmour whipped in a free kick that was nodded home by Banks from close range.

Mullin was denied by a deflection with Roche beaten, as Rovers looked to build on their momentum.

And their endeavour paid off five minutes before the break when Bakayogo’s cross from the left was met by a beautiful diving header from Gilmour, giving the Whites a half time lead.

Davies was forced to tip a free kick from Andrew Tutte over after the break, as it threatened to dip under the crossbar.

On the turn again, Mullin was denied by Roche before the Shrimps countered, forcing Davies to save from Oliver moments later.

Tranmere were getting plenty of joy down the right with Smith tormentor-en-chief.

Jennings was denied by the legs of the over-worked Roche from close range but in the 54th minute Rovers extended their lead.

Causing havoc with every attack, Smith collected the ball on the right 25 yards out, cut inside and curled the ball with his left foot into the far corner, sending the travelling supporters wild.

The confidence on the pitch was replicated in the stands, with the huge Birkenhead following running through their full repertoire of songs.

Banks had a brilliant opportunity to grab a fourth on 68 minutes when Mullin pulled one back from the bi-line but to his frustration he couldn't keep it under the crossbar.

The Seasiders responded.

Davies dived to his right to save a low drive from Leitch-Smith and the Rovers stopper had to be alert to repel an in-swinging cross seconds later.

With 18 minutes to play Morecambe pulled one back when Oliver was allowed to head in a cross from the right unmarked.

Eight minutes later they were level.

A free-kick was knocked short to Tutte and his fired effort from the edge of the box took a nick off Leitch-Smith on its way past Davies.

Carrying a knock, Mullin was replaced seven minutes from time for debutant Franklin Akammadu.

Despite six minutes of injury time and some hairy moments, Tranmere held on for a brilliant victory on the road.

The end of the match was marred by a ruck involving all 22 players and management teams from both sides, but even that couldn’t dampen what had undeniably been an absolutely superb football match.

Micky Mellon said: "We've got to be pleased top be picking up three points away from home.

"They'll be things that I'm disappointed about, but that would be taking away from a proper game of football – blood and thunder.

"The important thing to say is that it was a great game of football – two teams going hell for leather for a victory.

"In some ways you've just got to take a step back as a coach and say, that was some game.

"If you comb over the whole game, we could've had a lot of goals – and we got a lot!

"It was one of those strange days with no real shape to it.

"We lose our top goal scorer (James Norwood) and score four and could have had more. That just about sums it up!

"All credit to both sets of players and both groups of fans for creating a brilliant atmosphere."

Match stats: 

Morecambe 3 (Oates 13, Oliver 73, Leitch-Smith 80)

Tranmere Rovers 4 (Banks 28, Gilmour 41, 89, Smith 54)

Half-time: 1-2

Attendance: 2793

Referee: Trevor Kettle 3/5

Star man: Harvey Gilmour (Tranmere midfielder)

Match rating: 5/5

Morecambe: Roche, Mills, Conlan, Tutte, Oliver (Oswell 86), Yarney, Wildig (Piggott 90), Lavelle, Oates (Ellison 77), Leitch-Smith Subs not used: Halstead, Jagne, Hedley, Cranston

Tranmere: Davies, Buxton, McNulty, Monthe, Bakayogo, McCulloch, Banks, Gilmour, Smith (Mottley-Henry 77), Mullin (Akammadu 84), Jennings (Ellis 90) Subs not used: Wharton, Tollitt, Caprice, Cole.