Morecambe manager Ged Brannan admitted his players were “devastated” after clawing their way back to parity before shipping two late goals to lose 5-3 to Newport in a chaotic clash at Rodney Parade.

Aaron Wildig opened the scoring for the hosts in the 12th minute when he slotted in Lewis Payne’s cross against his former club.

Adam Lewis made it 2-0 six minutes later with a sublime volley to convert Bryn Morris’ chipped cross to the far post.

But Welshman Gwion Edwards waltzed through the home defence and confidently swept the ball past Exiles goalkeeper Nick Townsend to half the deficit.

Wildig then re-established a two-goal cushion for his side as he diverted in Lewis’ cross on the volley nine minutes into the second half.

But play-off chasing Morecambe stunned the Welsh side with a quickfire double as defender Chris Stokes rolled one in off the post and Edwards nodded in his second to level in the 74th minute.

Edwards then missed a big chance to complete his hat-trick as he blazed wide from close range.

That proved costly as Harry Charsley curled in County’s fourth with 12 minutes remaining, and Seb Palmer-Houlden had the final say in the seventh minute of added time.

“The players are devastated,” said Brannan.

“I thought at times we were breathtaking on the ball, but we can’t defend crosses like that. We all know. We can’t come away from home and create eight or nine chances and get beat like that.

“We started the game really well, we had a good chance and they had one break and they had a tap-in.

“If we want to get to the play-offs we’ve got to shore up at the back, we’ve just got to.

“Gwion was unplayable at times, going through their defence like a knife through butter.

“We got it back to 3-3 but conceded straight away. We had the better chances, we really did, but you can’t concede goals like that.”

The win lifted Newport to 12th, two points below Morecambe and five adrift of seventh-placed AFC Wimbledon – where they go on Saturday – with a game in hand.

Exiles boss Graham Coughlan has always insisted that the usual safety mark of 50 points was the first goal for his team and he was delighted to reach that target.

“I don’t know where to start,” said the Irishman. “I thought it was a brilliant advert for League Two football.

“That was Morecambe chucking everything at us, but we could have scored 10.

“We’ve got to 52 points now and that’s magnificent and a brilliant achievement, but this group of lads want more, I want more, and I am sure the fans will want more.”