Tranmere Rovers maintained their unbeaten home league record and are yet to concede in the three games played at Prenton Park with a 1-0 win against Port Vale.
Rovers’ began the day a point behind their opponents but began on the front foot, with Jonny Smith almost capitalising on an early defensive mix up from the visitors. Smith was at it again before the five minute mark, bamboozling his marker with his trickery before whipping in a curling ball from the right which just evaded Connor Jennings at the back post.
Ollie Banks continued his promising start to the season since returning to the club from Oldham. His commanding performance saw him release a left footed effort from about 25 yards which produced the first real save of the game, from Port Vale keeper Scott Brown.
Port Vale’s long serving captain Tom Pope was kept quiet by Rovers defence for the majority of the first half, which seemed to reduce the potency of the visitors. However, Vale’s best chance of the half did fall to their danger man, receiving the ball in a congested penalty area from Luke Hannant although his effort was miscued and went high over the crossbar.
As the half looked to be petering out, Connor Jennings nearly broke the deadlock. He latched on to Cole Stockton’s lay off before bending a shot from the left of the D narrowly wide of Scott Browns near post.
Rovers started the second half in strong fashion, with left back Manny Monthe firing towards goal, but his driven effort was deflected straight at Brown. James Norwood then had a 25 yard free kick deflect just past the post.
Rovers then had their best chance of the game following a quick break away orchestrated by the impressive Banks. The midfielder charged into the Port Vale half before playing it through to Norwood, who then played a first time dinked pass across the face of goal for Stockton to latch onto but by the time he got his shot away Brown had done well enough to get his body in the way of it on the edge of his six yard box.
The game started to open up around the hour mark as Port Vale began asking more questions of the Rovers backline. The visitors almost had some luck when a ball flashed across the face of goal but no one was able to get on the end of it. Moments later, visitors’ centre back Leon Legge was left unmarked to fire a header just over from a corner.
At the other end, Rover’s substitute Dylan Mottley-Henry looked to make an immediate impact, using his pace down the right flank to find space and fire a couple low crossed into the box which almost provided an opening.
Finally, in the 77th minute of the game, Rovers found an opening. Banks found space in the box to fire it towards goal before Norwood stuck his leg out to divert it where it hit goalkeeper Brown only to spill under the Vale keeper where Norwood, quickest to react tapped in.
Vale then made changes in desperate attempt to draw level and substitute Scott Quigley almost rewarded his boss seconds after entering the field, but his low effort was well saved by Scott Davies.
The visitors went route one in the final minutes, throwing men forward in order to prise an equaliser.
As a result they were open at the back and Rovers exposed this on several occasions, where they almost scored a pretty much identical second from another driven ball by Ollie Banks, but this time the number 10 fired wide. Rovers substitute Paul Mullin then broke through on goal but his effort was saved by Brown, before deep into stoppage time, Norwood fired a left footed shot wide following yet another break away.
Tranmere will return to action next Saturday with a trip to Northampton Town. For full ticket and travel for the game, please CLICK HERE.
Report by Jake Mathot
Teams- ROVERS: Davies, Caprice, (capt.)McNulty, Ellis, Monthe, J.Smith(61 Mottley-Henry), Banks, McCullough, Jennings, Stockton(61 Mullin), Norwood NOT USED: George,Tollitt,Cole,Spellman,Long BOOKED: Mullin (85)
PORT VALE: Brown, Clark, N.Smith(77 Worrall), Legge, Rawlinson, Montano, Miller(77 Quigley), Kay, Joyce, Hannant, (capt.)Pope NOT USED: Gibbons,Hornby,Pugh,Dodds,Vassell BOOKED: Joyce (63), Clark (87)