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Match Report


Posted Wed 17 Jul 13 at 11:23 AM

Tranmere were denied by the woodwork twice as they were held to a goalless draw by Stevenage at Prenton Park.
Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Evan Horwood both struck the post on a frustrating afternoon for the dominant hosts. 
Ronnie Moore made five changes to the side that was beaten by Fleetwood on Tuesday, in came Jason Mooney, Danny Holmes, Adam Dugdale, Joe Thompson and Akpa Akpro, in place of Owain Fon Williams, Andrai Jones, Ash Taylor, Akpo Sodje and Cole Stockton. 
After an even start to the game, in which Rovers employed a 4-3-3 formation, Thompson had the first attempt, heading Horwood’s deep cross wide. 
It was Jimmy Smith who had Stevenage’s first real chance, heading into the ground, making it a comfortable save for Mooney, on his first appearance of the season. 
Smith was at it again from the next corner, heading wide, before Ryan Lowe appeared to be brought down in the Stevenage area, only for the referee to wave away the protests. 
At the other end Luke Freeman volleyed high and wide for the visitors. 
On 25 minutes came the best chance so far, Lowe did well down the right and squared for James Rowe, but his effort was blocked by some brave defending. 
Lowe was looking bright and the former-MK Dons man tested Chris Day with a powerful drive from range, but the goalkeeper held on. 
Moments later and Rovers were inches away from taking the lead, Akpa Akpro fashioned a chance for himself inside the area, and bent an effort against the post.
The hosts now had the momentum, and with the crowd behind them Holmes burst forward, but his left-footed effort rolled harmlessly wide.
Stevenage remained a threat on the break however, and Freeman fired narrowly wide of Mooney’s goal.
Rovers were still on top though, and Chris Atkinson was next to test Day with a stinging drive that the goalkeeper claimed at the second attempt.
The same man then bent a strike just wide of the target, after Horwood had set him up nicely. 
Then the left-back, with the last chance of the first half, struck a free-kick inches of the target, which much of Prenton Park thinking it was in. 
After the break Rovers continued with they left off, with Akpa Akpro’s overhead kick flew over the Stevenage goal. 
The pressure was continuous from Rovers and when Horwood picked up on a loose clearance, his rasping low strike cannoned off the post and away from danger.
Akpa Akpro was the next to come close, but his looping header from Thompson’s cross sailed over the bar.
Moore was forced into his first change with Ian Goodison struggling, he was replaced by Taylor. 
Horwood then bent another free-kick over the bar, as the game started to become slightly scrappy. 
Taylor’s first real contribution came around the 75th minute, when he headed Atkinson’s corner off target.
Despite the Tranmere pressure, Stevenage remained in the game, and when Freeman turned Holmes inside the area he fired an effort just wide.
With less than ten minutes remaining Moore twisted again, Sodje replacing Thompson. 
The change did little to situation however, Akpa Akpro’s bullet header at the death went just over, and with that went Tranmere hopes, despite late Rovers pressure, it would ultimately end all square.
The result left Tranmere in 18th on five points, with Stevenage two places higher on the same total.

Tranmere: Mooney, Holmes, Dugdale, Goodison (Taylor 60), Horwood, Thompson (Sodje 82), Power, Atkinson, Rowe, Lowe, Akpa Akpro. Unused substitutes: Ramsbottom, Jones, Taylor, Stockton.

Stevenage: Day, Ashton, Heslop, Freeman, Tansey (Burrows 60), Smith (Tounkara 57), Gray, Doughty (Wedgbury 87), Hartley, Shroot, Deacon. Unused substitutes: Arnold, Hills, Jones, Lopez.  
Referee: Craig Pawson

Yellow cards: Thompson (14), Tansey (45), Power (80), Doughty (81), Heslop (89), Tounkara (90+1)

by Mark Ridgway

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