Tranmere Rovers Futsal eased to a 4-1 home victory against Wigan in the FA Futsal Cup.
A brace from Wheeler and goals from Saunders and Sandham saw Rovers lead by four goals. A late strike from Wigan provided some consolation for the visitors, but it was too little too late.
The opening five minutes of the contest went by without much goal-mouth action. Jackson engineered the first opportunity for TRFC, but his effort nestled into the side netting. Captain Bryers then went close, stinging the palms of the Wigan stopper who parried the ball out of play.
As the first half continued, the high intensity, possession football being played by Rovers began to take its toll on the Wigan rearguard. Sandham forced Wigan’s stopper into producing an eye catching save.
Just a minute later, with 17 minutes on the clock, Wheeler broke the deadlock. He latched onto a clever cross by Saunders to tap in from two yards.
On the stroke of half time, the lead was doubled when Best’s initial shot rebounded off the woodwork and found the alert Saunders, who placed expertly into the net.
The balance of play in the second half continued in the vain of the first, with Rovers maintaining pressure and playing on the front foot, as Wheeler saw his effort bounce off the crossbar in the 25th minute.
Four minutes later, Best dribbled through the Wigan backline but his strike was dragged wide of the far post.
There was a scare for Rovers, as Bickerstaffe was called into action making an outstanding save, but soon later Rovers had their third, when Sandham’s left foot hit trickled into the bottom corner.
With three minutes remaining, Wheeler had his second of the match, capitalising on the Wigan stopper being out of his goal, and curling into the empty net from inside his own half. This looked to be the last of the scoring, until with seconds remaining Wigan got a goal back to prevent Rovers a clean sheet.
Rovers now progress into the next round of the Cup, as they started their first fixture of the New Year with an impressive display.
By Joe Sargent