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Match Reports

Tranmere 2-0 Stevenage

9 February 2019

Tranmere Rovers returned to winning ways in dominant fashion, comfortably seeing off Stevenage at Prenton Park by two goals to nil.

A first goal for Kieron Morris at the end of the first half, and a cool finish from James Norwood with just over ten minutes to go, sealed the win for Rovers.

Stevenage had Ben Nugent and Elijah Adebayp dismissed during the second half for bad challenges as the visitors finished with nine men.

Manager Micky Mellon named the same team that faced Northampton on Tuesday, but notable changes were made on the bench as Ollie Banks and Mark Ellis returned.

Lining up in a 4-4-2 formation, winger Kieron Morris was proving to be a handful for the visiting defence, having a shot inside the penalty area blocked in the tenth minute, and just five later, stinging the palms of Paul Farman in the Stevenage goal from 20-yards.

Striker James Norwood was also having sight on goal, and he hit a low free-kick from 25-yards which was saved by the keeper.

Tranmere were creating the goal scoring opportunities, Norwood’s strike partner Connor Jennings, raced through after a clever through ball from TRFC’s number ten, but his shot was from a tight angle and well saved.

Unfortunately for Sid Nelson, his game was cut short and he was taken off with an injury, Ellis coming on in his place.

Tranmere were certainly the team in the ascendency and on the stroke of half time, Morris, the dangerman throughout the opening 45, put Rovers ahead with a back-post header from a Jennings cross.

The home side were looking strong at the start of the second period too. Jennings, provider for the first goal, nearly rounded off a perfect team move, but his close-range effort went over the cross bar after a low delivery from Ben Pringle.

The Preston North End loan man tried his luck moments later, cutting in from the left, Pringle curled an effort looking for the top right-hand corner, just creeping over.

Jennings’ performance now was only missing a goal, and he was determined to get his name on the score sheet, whistling a 25-yard strike over.

Stevenage, who were putting in strong challenges all game, were reduced to ten men with 16 minutes to go, as Nugent was dismissed for a second yellow card, his last yellow coming for a late tackle on Jennings.

Tranmere capitalised on their man advantage and doubled their lead in the 79th minute, as Norwood rounded off a fantastic team. Pringle released team mate Jennings to thread a pass into the box for Norwood, the league’s top goal scorer then did what he does best, slamming the ball into the back of the net to all but seal three points for Mellon’s men.

In the 83rd minute, Morris, who left the pitch to a standing ovation, came off for Jonny Smith in a straight swap out wide. The third change came one minute later, Jennings departed for Chris Dagnall.

Norwood nearly rounded off a perfect afternoon with a second after Man of the Match Pringle stormed through, laying the ball off for the striker to shoot but he was denied by a good save from Farman.

Smith had two late opportunities for Tranmere before Adebayp was given a straight red for Stevenage as they went down to nine men, for a high elbow on Ellis.

But Stevenage’s two sending offs shouldn’t overshadow a great Tranmere performance and we finished the game strong to secure an important 2-0 win.

TRFC team: Davies, Caprice, Nelson (Ellis 33), Monthe, Ridehalgh, Morris (Smith 83), McCullough, Perkins, Pringle, Jennings (Dagnall 84), Norwood. Unused subs: Pilling, Buxton Gilmour, Banks.

 


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