Tranmere Rovers earned a 1-0 home victory against Macclesfield Town to secure a third consecutive League Two win as Friday night football returned to Prenton Park.
Harvey Gilmour’s second half strike proved to be the difference between the two sides under the floodlights on a night that threatened to be a frustrating one battling against the bottom side in the division.
Micky Mellon made two changes from the victory against Morecambe in the last league game, with top scorer James Norwood and defender Jake Caprice replacing Paul Mullin and Zoumana Bakayogo respectively.
It was an uneventful opening to the encounter with Rovers attacking towards their favoured Essar Kop Stand, as both sides struggled to maintain meaningful possession to create opportunities.
It was the hosts who conjured up the first chance of the match. Ollie Banks’ powerful driving run through the midfield in the 12th minute earned a free kick for his side 30 yards from goal. Adam Buxton playing in an unaccustomed left back role curled his effort through the Macclesfield wall, but was agonisingly denied by the woodwork.
There was a scare for Mellon’s troops soon later, when a delivery from deep was inadvertently headed into his own net by Banks. Fortunately for the Tranmere central midfielder was saved by the assistants flag; who adjudged the Silkmen player to be standing in an off side position.
Set pieces looked to be Rovers best chance to open the scoring as a Gilmour corner found the unmarked Connor Jennings at the near post, but his glanced header sailed wide of Rhys Taylor’s goal. Jonny Smith had the next half chance for Rovers on the half hour mark; he cut in from the right flank, however his long range strike was fired over Taylor’s crossbar.
The Cheshire outfit who have failed to register a League Two triumph this season showed a threat to Scott Davies goal five minutes before the break, when winger Malachi Napa’s left foot shot tested the Rovers keeper who held on comfortably.
A worrying moment for both teams in the 43rd minute as Buxton and the lively Napa clashed heads in an aerial challenge. Luckily both players were fit to continue in a game that had so far failed to spring to life.
The second half started brightly for Rovers with Jennings trying his luck from distance to no avail, seeing his effort fly into the Macclesfield away supporters.
Ten minutes past without much action in either box, before Norwood’s clean strike 20 yards out in the 57th minute appeared to be heading into the top left corner, only to be denied by a finger tip save by Taylor.
A golden opportunity was missed by Norwood just past the hour mark. A perfectly waited through ball by Banks found the run of the number ‘10’; one-on-one with Taylor, the striker failed to convert.
Mellon made his first substitution of the game in the 68th minute with Smith being replaced by Larnell Cole.
Caretaker managerial duo Danny Whitaker and Neil Howarth nearly saw their side take the lead. A free kick from the left foot of Michael Rose in the 69th minute rattled the post.
But just five minutes later, Rovers broke the deadlock when coming in off the right wing; Gilmour curled the ball into the bottom corner past the helpless Taylor, carrying on his impressive recent form.
Rovers almost nurtured a chance to double their lead in the 83rd minute, when delightful interplay between Norwood and Gilmour almost resulted in a shooting opportunity. Mellon’s men went close again when Norwood’s clever pass found Jennings, but his effort rolled narrowly past the post.
Rovers will be hoping they can continue their winning run when they travel to Yeovil Town next weekend.
Tranmere Rovers: Davies, Buxton, McNulty, Monthe, Norwood, Jennings, McCullough, Caprice, Smith (Cole 68’), Gilmour, Banks
Unused Subs: George, Harris, Mullin, Ellis, Mottley-Henry,
Report by Joe Sargent