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Match Report


Posted Sat 02 Oct 10 at 16:53 PM

Report: Tranmere 1 Brighton 1

Debutant Scott Wootton's late header earned Tranmere a point against League 1 leaders Brighton & Hove Albion at Prenton Park. The result was the least Les Parry's side deserved but it looked in doubt until the final moments of the game. Glenn Murray's long range strike had given the visitors the lead and despite Rovers throwing everything at Brighton in the second half it took them until the 88th minute to level. Prior to that point Enoch Showunmi had hit both posts, a number of other shots were blocked or went just past the target and several decent penalty claims ignored as Tranmere put in an excellent second half display. Rovers made just one change to the side that defeated Bristol Rovers with Manchester United loanee Wootton replacing Jermaine Grandison at centre back after the latter's loan spell from Coventry City came to an end. Tranmere put pressure on Brighton's passing game early on, keeping the league leaders camped in their own half for the opening couple of minutes. Peter Gulacsi was quick off his line to gather the ball as a dangerous cross went over the head of Wootton and towards the run of Glenn Murray on four minutes while at the other end a cross from Dale Jennings found Lucas Akins but the striker's shot was blocked by Marcos Painter. Two headed clearances from Wootton kept Brighton out on eight minutes, the second a diving header that prevented Murray from having a free header on goal. Enoch Showunmi raced through on goal on 11 minutes after being put through by Joss Labadie only for Painter to rescue his side with a fine sliding tackle, while Showunmi laid the ball off for Labadie moments later but the midfielder's shot was struck straight at Casper Ankergren in the Brighton goal. Gulacsi got down well to hold on to Elliott Bennett's free kick which had found a gap in the Tranmere defensive wall on 12 minutes and as the action continued to swing from end to end Arnaud Mendy fired in a powerful 30 yard shot which Ankergren held on to at his near post. Rovers' pressing of Brighton caused Gus Poyet's side to give away possession cheaply inside their own half on a couple of occasions midway through the first half but they were unable to take advantage, with Max Blanchard's cross going over the head of Showunmi. The visitors took the lead on 35 minutes with a goal straight from one end of the pitch to the other. Ankergren launched a long clearance towards the Kop Stand, neither Ian Goodison nor Brighton's Ashley Barnes could control and the ball broke to Murray whose volleyed effort from 25 yards beat the dive of Gulacsi and found the bottom left corner. Brighton almost doubled their advantage four minutes later when Gulacsi could only parry Bennett's powerful effort back into play but Barnes fired the rebound over the bar from close range. John Welsh lost the ball in his own half on the stroke of half time, with possession falling to Bennett whose drilled shot was palmed away by Gulacsi and again Barnes sent his follow up effort high over the goal, while Bennett tested Gulacsi with the last kick of the half. Rovers were centimetres from being level eight minutes into the second half. Akins flicked the ball inside to Showunmi who took one touch before rifling the ball against the left hand post from outside the area, with the ball rebounding to safety. Moments later Showunmi went down under a challenge from Tommy Elphick but appeals for a penalty were turned down by referee Nigel Miller. Akins and Showunmi combined again on 55 minutes as Rovers continued to press forward, this time the latter shooting narrowly wide of Ankergren's near post, while Jennings skipped past a challenge before sending a long range shot over the bar a minute later. Jennings faked a shot before being seeing an effort blocked on 60 minutes with the rebound falling to Showunmi whose low attempt deflected wide of the target. Showunmi cut inside the right side of the area and saw his low cross deflect off Lewis Dunk and onto the post on 62 minutes. Three minutes later Jennings again beat his marker, ran into the area and whipped the ball goalwards. It was cleared as far as Welsh who knocked it past one defender only for his shot to go just over the top as Rovers continued their second half dominance. Brighton made a double change to try to alleviate the pressure but it wasn't long before Showunmi was back on the attack, kncking the ball past Ankergren but his shot lacked the power to beat Elphick and the Brighton defender cleared. Cresswell and Wootton produced vital blocks to keep out Brighton on 70 minutes and Fran Sandaza shot wide soon after as the visitors launched an attack of their own. However, it was soon back up the other end, with Akins rounding a defender before seeing two shots blocked. Goodison headed wide from a Cresswell corner on 75 minutes while appeals for a foul on Labadie and a penalty were turned down a few minutes later. Further appeals for a penalty when Dicker caught the feet of Showunmi were ignored on 78 minutes, with Ryan Fraughan replacing Mendy soon after. Rovers finally got their deserved equaliser with three minutes of normal time left. A foul on Showunmi gave the hosts a free kick wide on the right and Cresswell's excellent ball in was powered home by Wootton. Jennings almost put Rovers ahead with some neat tricks before shooting just over the bar from a tight angle on 89 minutes but it proved to be the final real chance of the match as both sides picked up a point. Tranmere: Gulacsi, Blanchard, Wootton, Goodison, Cresswell, Labadie, Welsh, Mendy (Fraughan 80), Akins, Showunmi, Jennings. Substitutes not used: Collister, Cathalina, Wood, Bakayogo, McLaren, Morrow. Brighton: Ankergren, Elphick, Bennett, Barnes (Sandaza 65), Calderon, Painter, Sparrow (Kishishev 65), Dicker, Murray (LuaLua 80), Bridcutt, Dunk. Substitutes not used: Brezovan, Smith, Battipiedi, Baz. Referee: Nigel Miller Yellow cards: Barnes (58), Goodison (67), Kishishev (77), Elphick (84) Follow Tranmere on Twitter at

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