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Match Report


Posted Tue 10 Aug 10 at 21:44 PM

Carling Cup: Walsall 0 Tranmere 1

A goal from Ian Goodison earned Tranmere a 1-0 win at Walsall and a place in the draw for the second round of the Carling Cup.

The victory, Rovers' first of the season, came with a performance that was a big improvement on that of the opening day.

There were further chances for Nick Wood, Ian Thomas-Moore and Joss Labadie while some strong defending, most notably from Goodison, limited the home side's opportunities.

Rovers made just one change to the side with Gunnar Nielsen on international duty for the Faroe Islands' European Championships qualifier against Estonia. Joe Collister took his place in goal with new goalkeeper coach Simon Miotto on the bench where he was joined by striker Adam McGurk after he joined the Club on a non-contract basis. The former Aston Villa and Northern Ireland under-21 player featured for Rovers in the pre-season friendly against Liverpool a week earlier.

The starting formation against Walsall

Richard Taundry fired past the top left corner from outside the area on three minutes for the home side, while Terry Gornell saw a shot deflect wide for Rovers a couple of minutes later.

Liam Darville raced back to head clear from the edge of the six yard box as Walsall counter attacked from Tranmere's corner while it needed a header from Darryl Westlake to deny Aaron Cresswell the chance of a volley from 18 yards at the other end.

The action continued to swing from one direction to another in a high tempo opening, with Walsall's Steve Jones forcing Collister into a save on six minutes.

The combination of John Welsh and captain Ian Thomas-Moore set up Cresswell on ten minutes but his angled drive was turned away for a corner, while Thomas-Moore recovered well to dispossess Taundry as Walsall broke from the resulting set piece.

After the initial glut of chances in the first ten minutes, the pace of the game dropped and the two sets of back fours began to control their opponents.

It wasn't until 35 minutes that either side registered another shot on goal, with Julian Gray testing Collister despite Nick Wood's persistent pressure on Darren Byfield wide on the left.

Manny Smith headed wide from a corner on 37 minutes but the next chance at either end brought the opening goal. A free kick from Paul McLaren was headed back across goal by Joss Labadie and Ian Goodison stretched out a leg to turn the ball past Jonny Brain from close range.

Matt Richards tried his luck with a low effort on 45 minutes as the hosts looked for a quick response, but the ball went wide of the target and the half time whistle was blown soon after.

A long range effort from Labadie deflected wide twenty seconds into the second half with Cresswell firing over the top from the resulting corner.

A misunderstanding between McLaren and Liam Darville gave Walsall a two on one counter attack on 48 minutes. While waiting to take a free kick McLaren made contact with the ball and referee Tony Bates waved Gray on as he raced away while the Rovers players protested the set piece had not been taken. With just Cresswell defending and John Welsh desperately trying to make up ground on Gray and Byfield, the ball was square to Byfield but Collister was quickly off his line to block the striker's shot.

At the other end Thomas-Moore almost converted a move he started after racing on to a cross from Terry Gornell but the ball was headed just out of his path before he could beat the keeper. From the corner that followed Tranmere should have gone two goals up, with Wood rising completely unmarked ten yards out only for his diving header to go over the bar.

Byfield fired over from the edge of the area on 60 minutes after a couple of breakaway attacks failed for Tranmere while Goodison blocked a shot from Jones after a pass through the middle of the Rovers evaded Wood and the Jamaican veteran denied Byfield with an excellent last ditch tackle on 72 minutes.

Showunmi couldn't turn fast enough after Brain dropped the ball on 77 minutes and Thomas-Moore was denied his second of the season two minutes later after he ran on to McLaren's quick free kick.

Collister got down well to claim Paul Marshall's powerful effort on 88 minutes after a stop in play for treatment for a head injury to Goodison and the keeper was off his line quickly to claim a cross soon after.

There were four minutes added on for injuries at the end of normal play but Rovers spent most of the time in the Walsall half as they successfully saw out the final moments for the win.

Walsall: Brain, Westlake (McDonald 90), Lescott, Lancashire, Smith, Jones, Richards, Byfield, Nicholls (Grigg 65), Taundry (Marshall 65), Gray. Substitutes not used: Bevan, Hickman, Paterson, Geddes.

Tranmere: Collister, Darville, Wood, Goodison, Cresswell, Labadie, McLaren, Welsh, Thomas-Moore, Showunmi, Gornell. Substitutes not used: Miotto, Blanchard, Bakayogo, Fraughan, Mackreth, Benson, McGurk.

Referee: Tony Bates

Yellow card: Wood (73)

Attendance: 2,253 (away: 300)


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