Kevin Ellison: The man standing between Newport and a play-off place

Kevin Ellison
Morecambe's Kevin Ellison reminds Newport County's supporters what the score was after a match between the two sides

Around the city of Newport, Morecambe's Kevin Ellison is basically Lord Voldemort - he who must not be named.

A force so powerful it has produced internet memes, social media banter between player and rival supporters and a record to make every County fan weep.

Now, with the Exiles on the verge of the League Two play-offs, fate has intervened as Newport play Morecambe on the last day of the season.

Ellison, jokingly called a "clown" by Newport boss Michael Flynn, has the chance to haunt the Exiles again.

Ellison, Newport County's kryptonite, could yet seal a play-off berth for Exeter, Colchester, Stevenage or Carlisle.

"Kevin Ellison being Kevin Ellison, I am going to do my part," he warns.

Kevin Ellison's Voldermort Tweet

The origin story

Every conflict needs an origin story and for Ellison and Newport County, it goes back to 14 September, 2013, and the 'Tom Naylor game'.

A contest never to be forgotten by Exiles fans, then Newport defender Naylor scored two own goals and conceded a penalty. Ellison assisted one of the own goals and won the hotly-disputed penalty. But that was just the beginning.

In the reverse fixture Naylor nodded Newport ahead as redemption loomed, but then it all went Ellison for Newport.

Ellison won another penalty, Naylor was shown a straight red card and four minutes after they converted to level, Newport's nemesis put the hosts ahead in a game they eventually won 4-1.

Naylor was named in third position that season as player of the year in Morecambe's supporter of the year awards. He now plays for Portsmouth.

Kevin Ellison Yoda tweet

The record

Morecambe and Newport have played 11 times since the Exiles returned to the Football League and 40-year old Ellison, a former, Altrincham, Stockport County, Chester City, Hull City, Tranmere, Bradford and Rotherham player, has played in all 11.

His record? Six goals and six assists - not bad for a player who is not an out-and-out striker. Not only that, but Ellison has won three penalties against the south Wales side.

He scored in the first game between the sides in 2013 and he scored in the last, a 1-1 draw in Newport in October. Whatever the age, Ellison seems to have an ability to hurt Newport and he knows it.

"They are all a bit worried because of my previous CV against them, scoring goals, assisting and getting people sent off and penalties," Ellison told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"They are worried about coming here, they need a win for the play-offs.

"I will do my utmost, not for the other teams fans who are tweeting me, but for our club."

Newport County's Star Wars tweet depicting a fight between Darth Vader (with Kevin Ellison's face) versus a Jedi with the Newport badge as a face

All in good fun

While the war between Ellison and Newport fans has raged for days on social media, Ellison insists it has all been a friendly rivalry.

"The banter is all friendly," he said. "My little boy was off school sick so I was stuck in the house yesterday. Someone tweeted me and then eight hours down the line I was still on it having a laugh and a joke!

"It is good for a footballer to still be interacting with fans who give you a bit of stick and you can give it back.

"It is all in good humour and good fun though."

Newport boss Flynn says he has known Ellison for years and is full of respect for him.

"I know Kevin really well, he's brilliant," Flynn told BBC Sport Wales. "At his age, his fitness levels, he is still scoring goals and making a big impact.

"He has had a fantastic career and I just hope he has a quiet one on Saturday.

"We have had our little exchange of words, I will keep that between us! He wants to be the pantomime villain, he is what he is, we just have to stop him."

With a play-off place to play for, Newport could never pick a better time to finally keep Ellison quiet, though County's League Two rivals will hope the curse continues.

Kevin Ellison

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