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Match Report


Posted Fri 02 Apr 10 at 21:39 PM

Tranmere 3 Norwich 1

Tranmere climbed out of the bottom four with a 3-1 win over League One leaders Norwich City in an entertaining Good Friday clash at Prenton Park.

Two Thomas-Moore penalties and a Craig Curran strike put Rovers three up after half an hour with the visitors reduced to ten men following the sending off of their goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

Though Norwich pulled a goal back early in the second half, Tranmere defended strongly enough to keep them out for the rest of the game while still creating chances themselves.

It was an excellent all-round team performance and a result that lifted Rovers to 18th in the division.

There were two changes to the side that started at Brighton with the suspended Andy Robinson replaced by Ian Thomas-Moore in attack and Bas Savage dropping to the bench with Terry Gornell returning. Zoumana Bakayogo was named among the substitutes after completing his two match ban.

The starting formation against Norwich

Craig Curran had the game's first shot, with his 25 yard effort deflecting narrowly wide of goal on four minutes.

From the corner that followed Rovers were awarded a penalty when Curran's knock down struck the arm of Russell Martin. Play initially carried on as the referee ignored the appeals of the home fans and players, but his assistant on the Borough Road side was quick to raise his flag and the spot kick was awarded. There was plenty of pressure on Thomas-Moore but the captain curled his effort just inside the right hand post to give Tranmere the lead.

Just three minutes later Tranmere won another penalty. Thomas-Moore superbly ran on to an underhit back pass from Doherty, tried to round keeper Fraser Forster and was pulled down, with Forster shown a straight red card. Thomas-Moore again stepped up to take the penalty and this time he smashed it into the top left corner to double the advantage and grab his 12th goal of the season.

Stephen Hughes shot wide from 20 yards on 21 minutes with the visitors' first shot of the half and a minute later they were denied by an excellent goal line clearance from Ian Goodison who raced back to smash the ball away after Grant Holt had rounded Luke Daniels.

John Welsh volleyed wide on 25 minutes after teeing himself up from Thomas-Moore's cross field ball, while at the other end Daniels palmed a free kick away from his bar. The action was coming thick and fast, with Welsh sending a left foot shot wide from outside the area after Thomas-Moore had latched on to a Norwich clearance.

On 29 minutes Curran forced a save out of substitute keeper Declan Rudd after good work from McLaren and from the resulting corner Rovers scored their third. The ball fell to Curran on the right side of the area and despite appeals for handball from the Canaries, the striker volleyed high into the net.

A fourth goal wasn't far off on 31 minutes as Thomas-Moore raced into the Norwich half, side stepped past a challenge and drilled the ball low towards goal with Rudd spilling his effort and gathering at the second attempt.

After another goal line clearance from Goodison it was straight back into the Norwich half, with Rudd forced to race off his line and clear from McLaren who had broken into the area.

Rovers survived a goalmouth scramble on 36 minutes as the League One leaders searched for a way back into the game, while the home side quickly broke only to see Welsh given offside from a promising position.

Curran superbly dispossessed Adam Drury inside the Tranmere area on 41 minutes and Doherty shot inches wide a minute later, while Michael Nelson headed over from a corner a minute before the interval.

With the half in added time Thomas-Moore came close to a hat-trick but his curled effort from Gornell's lay off went just beyond Rudd's left hand post.

Norwich substitute Chris Martin hit a free kick against the wall three minutes into the second half and Goodison cleared the danger from a corner soon after.

Martin tested Daniels on 57 minutes with a low shot from the edge of the area, while Gornell poked just past the near post seconds later after excellent work from Curran.

A minute later the visitors pulled a goal back when Martin pulled the ball back for Holt to smash in from close range, with Daniels shown a yellow card for protesting that the ball had already gone out of play.

In what was quickly becoming the most frantic game seen at Prenton Park for some time, Norwich manager Paul Lambert was sent to the stand on 59 minutes for running on to the pitch to return the ball to his defender so they could take a quick free kick. The former Scotland international argued with the referee but eventually took up a seat in the Directors' Box.

On 60 minutes Gornell side stepped a challenge in the Norwich area and was unlucky to see his low shot saved by Rudd's legs.

The pace of the game was getting quicker and quicker, with counter attack after counter attack taking its toll on the players who all took the opportunity for a drink during a break in play following an injury to Gordon.

Curran flicked the ball wide from a Marlon Broomes cross on 69 minutes and the striker saw another shot deflect past the post four minutes later as Rovers looked to restore their three goal advantage.

Welsh headed just past the post from a well worked corner routine on 74 minutes and Taylor's shot deflected wide after excellent play from Thomas-Moore on the right wing.

Moments after Joss Labadie replaced McLaren in the centre of midfield Thomas-Moore was denied a hat-trick when Chris McCready couldn't get out of time to prevent his shot from smashing into the net.

Wes Hoolahan shot wide from six yards out on 82 minutes while Thomas-Moore curled the ball against the left hand post with the outside of his boot a minute later, the striker seemingly destined not to score his third.

Welsh shot wide from Curran's lay off two minutes into added time and Thomas-Moore saw his left foot curler saved by Rudd moments later.

The final shot of the game came from Curran who brought a save out of Rudd before the players and coaching staff were given a standing ovation at the final whistle.

Tranmere: Daniels, Broomes, McCready, Goodison, Gordon, Welsh, Taylor, McLaren (Labadie 80), Curran, Gornell, Thomas-Moore. Substitutes not used: Collister, Bakayogo, Edds, Shuker, Savage, Sordell.

Norwich: Forster, Drury, Nelson, Russell Martin, Hughes (McNamee 75), Holt, Elliott (Chris Martin 45 HT), Doherty, Hoolahan, Lappin (Rudd 12), Russell. Substitutes not used: Gill, Rose, Whitbread, Johnson.

Referee: Eddie Ilderton

Yellow cards: Russell Martin (6), McLaren (55), Daniels (58), Broomes (85)

Red card: Forster (10)

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