MORECAMBE 1-2 BURTON ALBIONHistory was made at the Globe Arena as a brace of Lucas Akins goals, coupled with Wycombe's failure to win, ensured that Burton Albion will be competing in Sky Bet League One next season for the first time ever.
On a bright sunny day on the Lancashire coast, Albion set about their task with verve and determination in the first half when they could and probably should have had more than one goal to show for their efforts, including Morecambe keeper Andreas Arestidou denying Damien McCrory from the penalty spot. Nerves could easily have set in for the Brewers but two minutes later Akins drilled in from inside the box and he doubled his tally from the penalty spot after Beavon had been felled by the Morecambe keeper on the hour mark to give Albion breathing space. A late Mark Hughes header briefly had Burton nerves on edge but they saw the job through to secure the points that mean Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's men are guaranteed a top three finish.
After the battle to get a late equaliser against Carlisle, Hasselbaink refreshed his side with three changes for the clash with Morecambe and a change to a 4-3-3 formation. Denny Johnstone. the goal hero against the Cumbrians, dropped to the bench as Stuart Beavon returned to the starting eleven. There was also a recall for Lucas Akins on the right side of the attack with Adam McGurk still nursing a nasty eye injury sustained early on in Wednesday's encounter. Liverpool loanee Kevin Stewart was also drafted in with Matty Palmer on the bench. Stewart's Liverpool colleague, Jack Dunn, made it onto the bench for the first time of his loan spell with the Brewers from the Premiership giants.
Just four minutes were on the clock when Albion carved open the Morecambe back line and really should have taken the lead. Tom Naylor found himself in space and as the chance opened up for a shot he instead tried to tee up Nasser El Khayati with Arestidou snuffing out the chance at the far post.
Even early on it was end to end stuff and from desperately defending their own penalty area a swift break down the left from El Khayati resulted in Arestidou having to smother a low shot from the Dutchman as he weaved his way into a shooting position inside the 'D'.
El Khayati was already proving to be a thorn in the side of the Morecambe defence and another typically tricky run along the bye line almost picked out Akins before Andy Parrish hacked the danger clear.
Morecambe were trying to play most of their productive football through the diminutive Jack Redshaw and the young striker linked well on the edge of the Burton box to set up a chance for Jamie Devitt whose shot looped up off a Burton leg for a corner that Albion were able to clear at the back post.
Akins forced a smart stop from Arestidou at his near post as the Shrimps failed to deal with a spell of Burton pressure and the lively winger won a free kick just outside the box as he drove purposely at the Morecambe box.
Laurence Wilson managed to win a tussle for the ball with Akins on the touchline and drove forward before driving a low cross towards Redshaw who drilled a right foot shot wide of the post, missing by inches.
Albion suddenly found themselves gifted a penalty by referee Keith Stroud on 28 minutes. Stuart Beavon tried to nip in ahead of Wilson on the edge of the box and once he was caught by the leg of the defender the referee had little choice but to point at the spot. McCrory stepped up after his miss on Wednesday but he was thwarted again, this time by Arestidou who pulled off an excellent save to deny the unlucky left back with his legs.
Moments later fears that it was not going to be Albion's day were eased when the stalemate was broken. More industrious work from Beavon played AKINS in on the right and he burst into the box finishing low beyond the keeper to the delight of the massed ranks of Burton fans behind the goal.
Some of Morecambe's defending was decidely dodgy at best and when Mark Hughes tried to pass his way out from the back his lob was easily intercepted by Akins who burst into the box but with the angle against him could not find another route past Arestidou.
Burton remained comfortable for the remainder of the half as the midfield and forwards hunted in packs to deny Morecambe any space in midfield or attack to seriously threaten McLaughlin in the Burton goal.
Half time: Morecambe 0-1 Burton Albion
Despite an initial burst of pressure at the start of the second half from the hosts it was Albion who almost grabbed a second on 49 minutes. An incisive ball through the back four from Naylor found Akins whose first time poke around the keeper took a touch off the big stopper before dribbling wide of the post.
Andy Fleming had an excellent chance to equalise on 52 minutes but inside the box he pounced on a loose ball only to drive it over the top from no more than ten yards out.
An El Khayati corner on 56 minutes was perfectly onto the head of Akins whose effort was on target until it deflected off a Morecambe head dropping wide as Arestidou flung himself across his goal in vain.
Yet more disastrous defending from Morecambe handed Albion another penalty on the hour mark. Arestidou resisted the chance to boot the ball clear and was robbed of the ball by Beavon. The Morecambe keeper tried to atone for his error but tripped the Albion striker to concede a penalty and was perhaps lucky to only get a yellow card although the ball had already come to Kevin Stewart who would surely have stroked the ball into the empty net had it not been for referee Stroud blowing for the penalty. AKINS strode up confidently to despatch the spot kick high to the keeper's left and double Albion's advantage.
Some of the Morecambe defending had to be seen to be believed and another failure to clear their lines allowed El Khayati to play in Stewart who saw his left foot shot blocked by the keeper.
Albion continued to look threatening every time they came forward and Akins fizzed a shot across the face of the goal, set up by Beavon as possession was won back all too easily in midfield.
A double change for the Shrimps on 69 minutes saw strikers Padraig Amond and Paul Mullin thrown on with Redshaw and left back Wilson the men to make way.
With eighteen minutes to go it was time for Albion to get their first glimpses of Jack Dunn. Nasser El Khayati was the man brought off by Hasselbaink so that the Liverpool loanee could grab his opportunity.
Amond almost threaded a ball through for Alex Kenyon only for Mousinho to avert the threat on the Burton goal as Morecambe rallied themselves for a late assault on the Burton goal before Albion made another attacking change. The hard working Beavon had more than earned his rest when it came with ten minutes to go, Johnstone adding fresh legs for the closing stages.
Dunn showed glimpses of why he is prized so highly by those in power at Liverpool with a darting run into the box and an angled shot across Arestidou that didnt miss the far post by much.
Shaun Beeley won the Shrimps a free kick 22 yards out with four minutes to go from a challenge that earned Phil Edwards a yellow card. Substitute Mullin was entrusted with the set piece but in the end it was neither a shot or a cross as the defensive wall did its job.
Morecambe eventually got a goal back when a left wing cross was hoisted into the box and skipper Mark HUGHES was able to thud a header beyond McLaughlin from inside the six yard box as Albion looked for an offside flag.
There was time for Albion to bring on Kelvin Maynard as four minutes of stoppage time began but it was Morecambe applying the late pressure in search of what would have been a late, late equaliser. Aaron Wildig hooked a shot wide from the edge of the box with the last real chance of the game and Albion were left to wait for news from Kingsmeadow that Wycombe's goalless draw had ensured Albion's rise to the highest point in their history......League One.