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Match Report


Posted Sat 12 Sep 09 at 16:58 PM

Tranmere 2 Walsall 3

Goals from Chris Shuker and Kithson Bain weren't enough for Rovers as they went down to a 3-2 home defeat against Walsall.

It was a harsh result on Rovers who were ahead until just before half time but found themselves 2-1 down a minute into the second half. The home side battled only to be caught out on the break when going in search of a winner.

There were three changes to the side that started at Carlisle. Ian Thomas-Moore missed out through injury, Shaleum Logan served a one match suspension and Gavin Gunning's loan spell had ended. Coming into the side were Craig Curran,Michael Ricketts and Marlon Broomes, with Ricketts and Broomes making their first league starts for Rovers. New signing Kithson Bain was named on the substitutes' bench.

The starting formation against Walsall

Rovers started the match at a high pace, closing down Walsall and showing the desire that had been demanded by manager John Barnes. On nine minutes the home side had the game's first chance, with Chris Shuker's pass for Curran deflecting into the path of Ricketts but his 25 yard right foot curler went over the bar.

The next chance brought the goal Tranmere had been waiting for. Shuker beat the offside trap to run on to Curran's pass, side stepped a defender on his way into the area and cleverly chipped the ball over the advancing Rene Gilmartin.

Tranmere continued to battle and a number of strong challenges drew a great reaction from the crowd. On 22 minutes a pass out wide from Ricketts found Mahon in space and his cross was well met by Curran on the edge of the six yard box. However, the striker's shot was saved by Gilmartin and the offside flag brought the move to an end.

Walsall came close to leveling a minute later when Alex Nicholls raced into the right side of the Tranmere area and crossed to the far post from where Darren Byfield headed narrowly wide.

Nicholls volleyed wide from the edge of the area on 26 minutes, but Tranmere tightened up in midfield and Walsall's spell of dominance came to an end.

On 37 minutes Curran shot at Gilmartin after a slip from Darryl Westlake gave possession to Mahon on the left and Ricketts was caught marginally offside three minutes later as Tranmere looked for a second goal before the interval.

However, on the stroke of half time Walsall equalised. Richard Taundry's shot from 20 yards was parried by Daniels allowing Byfield to pounce and poke in from just outside the six yard box.

A minute into injury time Daniels saved well at the feet of Troy Deeney but the momentum of the striker's challenge for the ball took him into the keeper and he required a long spell of treatment.

Daniels had to be replaced at the start of the second half with Joe Collister making his first team debut in his place. Also going off was Marlon Broomes, with Ash Taylor his replacement.



Collister had been on the pitch less than a minute when Walsall went ahead. Taylor's clearance only went as far as Deeney eight yards out and he powered a shot into the bottom left corner.

Three minutes later Collister made a fine save to keep out Deeney's header from a corner with Goodison following up to clear.

Nicholls sliced well wide of goal on 52 minutes as Walsall continued their early second half dominance, while Curran's attempted lob was caught by Gilmartin soon after.


Rovers' final change saw Bain come on for his debut, replacing Shuker as Curran moved to the right wing.

The Grenada international made an immediate impact with powerful running and some neat touches, and he was in the right time at the right place on 61 minutes as Mahon's long range shot struck him in the back and deflected over Gilmartin into the top corner.

Collister was quick off his line to head clear and prevent Deeney a one on one shooting opportunity on 78 minutes but the striker got his chance on 83 minutes. Walsall attacked quickly on the break and Nicholls' cross went through the six yard box allowing Deeney to turn in at the far post.

At the other end Ricketts looked set to shoot from six yards out only for a Walsall defender to get a last ditch clearance while a long range Mahon effort deflected just over the bar on 87 minutes as Rovers piled forward in search of an equaliser.

Bain almost knocked the ball through the legs of Gilmartin from a corner a minute later, while Collister saved well from Deeney as the Saddlers counter attacked.

Rovers pressed forward but were unable to create any more chances as Walsall took all three points.

Tranmere: Daniels (Collister 45 HT), Edds, Broomes (Taylor 45 HT), Goodison, Cresswell, Shuker, Welsh, McLaren, Curran, Ricketts. Substitutes not used: Fraughan, Barnett, Bain, Gornell.

Walsall: Gilmartin, Smith, Mattis, Deeney, Taundry (O'Keefe 72), Nicholls, Westlake, Vincent, Richards, Byfield, McDonald. Substitutes not used: Ince, Weston, Sansara, Bradley, Jones, Hughes.

Referee: Mark Haywood

Yellow cards: Vincent (41), Westlake (76), Nicholls (88)

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