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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 04 Jul 15 at 09:59 AM

Steve Jennings' goal was enough for Tranmere Rovers to beat Grimsby Town 1-0 at Prenton Park to close out the 2015/16 season.

Although Rovers took all three points on the final day, it was not enough to see the Whites leap into a play-off place as Braintree Town beat Altrincham 3-0, meaning Tranmere will face a second season in the National League.

Gary Brabin made two changes to the team which won 1-0 at Eastleigh with Martin Riley replacing Steve McNulty, who was missing with an eye injury, and Adam Mekki returning to the line-up at the expense of Jake Kirby, who dropped to the bench.

Mekki looked dangerous in the early stages and it was his slaloming run and shot which caused panic in the Grimsby defence. Top-scorer James Norwood collected the rebound but saw his effort cleared with Lois Maynard perhaps in a better position to have a clear shot on goal.

At the other end, Jon-Paul Pittman headed well over from Gregor Robertson's cross before Norwood saw a snapshot turned behind by Andy Warrington in the away goal.

Rovers were the better side and got the goal they deserved at the midway point of the first half.

Lee Vaughan's cross caused trouble for visiting captain Shaun Pearson who botched a clearance, sending the ball towards the bottom corner where Tranmere's captain pounced from two yards out for only his second strike of the season.

Norwood went close to taking his league tally for the 2015/16 to 20, but was denied as Warrington smothered a shot from the striker with the rebound being smashed wide.

Mekki took off on another dazzling run, bewitching Grimsby defenders but could not get his shot on target, curling a couple of yards past the post.

Riley showed the ugly side of being a central defender by taking a ball to the face from close range but little doubt that blocking Patrick Hoban's goalbound effort would have pleased the former Mansfield Town man.

At the start of the second half Vaughan saw a powerful volley was blocked by Robertson and Mekki was thwarted by a fine save from Warrington. The winger then headed wide from Liam Ridehalgh's cross.

Grimsby briefly threatened, though it was clear that their minds were on their upcoming play-off ties, as Ryan Jennings went close from 25 yards and Conor Henderson had a free-kick deflect narrowly wide off the wall.

Liam Hogan made a long-awaited return from injury, replacing Lee Vaughan shortly after the hour for his first appearance since November 28th.

Norwood saw another couple of chances come and go, prodding around the onrushing Warrington but the wrong side of the upright before bringing a fingertip stop from the veteran goalkeeper with a fierce drive from a tight angle.

With the final chance of the game, Grimsby's Craig Clay rifled wide from 25 yards as Tranmere won their last game of the season for the first time in six years.

Tranmere: Davies, Vaughan, Ihiekwe, Riley, Ridehalgh, Harris, Hughes, Jennings, Maynard, Mekki, Norwood. Substitutes: Turner, Hogan, Taylor-Fletcher, Mackreth, Kirby.

Grimsby: Warrington, Tait, Robertson, Pearson, Clay, Pittman (Venney 62), Arnold (Marshall 54), East, Henderson, Jennings, Hoban (Bogle 74). Substitutes: Clifton, Nsiala.

Referee: Adrian Holmes  

Yellow cards: Harris (35) 
Red cards:  
Goals: Jennings (23) 
Attendance:  6637 (555)

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