Rovers triumph in five-goal thriller in the Cup
Tranmere Rovers Futsal fought back from two goals down to defeat Liverpool Futsal in the FA Futsal Cup.
The fixture marked Tranmere legend Kenny Irons’ first official match as Manager of the side. Rovers found themselves two-nil down in the first half before a strike in either half from Gomez and a late hit by Wheeler clutched victory in a game fitting of its ‘Derby Match’ title.
The triumph confirmed Tranmere’s name in the hat for the next round as they secured a third consecutive victory across all competitions.
The 5pm kick off started well for TRFC, with lots of sustained periods of possession and goal scoring chances. It took just two minutes for Rovers to create the first opportunity when Best struck well, but his effort was saved onto the post by the Liverpool stopper and out of play.
Captain Bryers then went close to breaking the deadlock, unleashing one of his trademark thunderous strikes from range, which whistled past the goal.
There was a warning for Rovers as Bickerstaffe was called into action seven minutes in and responded with a great stop from point blank range.
And just minutes later, the visitors had the breakthrough with a calmly slotted finish into the bottom corner.
The lead was then doubled almost immediately after the restart. An initial smart save by Bickerstaffe was parried straight into the path of the Liverpool forward, who tapped into the empty net.
The Cup tie looked to be getting away from Rovers with both sides struggling to manufacture any meaningful chances. However, soon after Tranmere found their stride again, as Bryers stepped up midway through the half to sting the palms of the stopper.
Sandham then rattled the outside of the post as Rovers applied the pressure. Persistence finally told as Gomez halved the deficit, after a well worked set piece found him unmarked and he fired the ball into the top corner on the verge of the break.
The second half saw Rovers race out of the blocks as they searched for an equaliser, Best almost levelled the scoring when he found himself one-on-one but could only strike straight at the keeper.
It looked like the goals were not going to come for Tranmere when a deflection looked to be trickling into the net but went agonisingly wide.
There was nearly a sucker punch for Rovers when Liverpool hit on the counter attack with five minutes remaining, but the woodwork came to the rescue for Irons’ side.
This close scare seemed to spark TRFC into life as Rovers surged forward with wave after wave of attack, and eventually the rewards arrived when Gomez followed up the play to be in the right place at the right time in the 36th minute, to secure his brace and set up a grandstand finale.
With the momentum with Rovers, it all seemed destined for a winning goal. This strike came when Wheeler latched onto a cut back and side footed into the net in the 37th minute, to complete a great comeback.
Despite some nervy last ditch defending at the end, Rovers held on to earn a second win of the campaign over closest rivals Liverpool.
Rovers return to league action next, in two weeks, with a home fixture against Cheshire Futsal.
By Joe Sargent