Tranmere Rovers winning run in League Two stretched to seven matches after a thrilling 3-0 victory against Carlisle United in front of more than 8,000 fans at Prenton Park.
Rovers took the lead through a late first half header from Ollie Banks. The second TRFC goal came through top scorer James Norwood, his 29th goal of the season before Manny Monthe sealed the victory with a header from a Banks corner to seal a memorable afternoon for the SWA.
Kieron Morris returned to the starting line-up for the first time since the victory against Notts County, replacing Ben Pringle who wasn’t included in the matchday squad.
The atmosphere was electric when the players walked out ahead of kick-off, showing from the get-go the SWA are right behind Micky Mellon’s men for the final run in.
Tranmere were forced into an early change in the ninth minute as midfielder Luke McCullough went down, with no one around him, and unfortunately, couldn’t continue. Fellow central midfielder Jay Harris came on in a like for like change.
Tranmere’s first chance fell to number 10 Norwood, his diving header just edged past the post after a good delivery from the right by Jake Caprice.
The visitors, who have one of the best away forms in the division, went close just after the quarter hour mark. A good team move resulted in Nathan Thomas playing the ball out to left side to Tom Parkes to direct a low shot wide of Scott Davies’ far post.
Carlisle took confidence from the chance, and Thomas tried his own effort on goal but failed to test Davies from range. At the other end, Norwood, hit an ambitious 30-yard free-kick straight at goalkeeper Adam Collin.
Midfield maestro Banks, in search of his second goal of 2019, hit a clever strike from 30 yards, which was destined to nestle in the bottom right hand corner, only for Collin to get a strong hand to the ball to push away for a corner.
Just before the half hour mark, Carlisle should have taken the lead as they rattled Davies’ crossbar. The Cumbrians won possession back on the half way line, resulting in Thomas crossing for an unmarked O’Hare in the penalty box to hit the Tranmere frame.
Carlisle United playmaker Jamie Devitt stung the palms of captain Davies from 25-yards, but our number one made a smart save, beating the ball far away from his goal to safety.
A quick passage of passing on the edge of the ‘D’ concluded in a half volley from Connor Jennings, which seemed to catch everyone off guard, as the ball crept wide.
Tranmere struck just before the half time whistle to take the lead. Banks, who had a sight on goal earlier in the match, directed an unstoppable bullet header from close range into the middle of the goal, giving keeper Collin no chance, after a powerful cross from the left by Perkins.
Into the second half, Carlisle got things started with a free-kick which flew over into the away end. At the other end of Prenton Park, Perkins strike from range was saved by the goalkeeper.
The SWA were really playing their part as the 12th man as they roared Tranmere on as Mellon’s men went in search of a second with Jennings only a fraction away from sliding a cross home.
It was a point of when rather than if the second goal was going to arrive and it did in the 63rd minute courtesy of Norwood. The striker bundled home a Caprice cross from the right hand side to send the SWA in the Essar KOP into raptures as a seventh win in a row looked a real possibility.
Tranmere were playing with real confidence and belief and continued to push forward in search of another goal against Play-Off chasers Carlisle United.
With just over 15 minutes to play, Mellon made his second change, Harvey Gilmour replacing Morris after a solid shift from the on-loan Walsall winger.
The third goal arrived in the 82nd minute as Banks’ corner to the back post was met by a powerful header from Monthe, his second of the season to wrap the game up for Rovers in front of the largest league crowd of the season at Prenton Park.
We need your support now at Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night. Tickets are still available to purchase on the day of the game at Boundary Park, 7.45pm kick-off.
Davies, Caprice, Ellis, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Perkins, McCullough (Harris 10), Banks (Smith 85), Morris (Gilmour), Jennings, Norwood. Unused subs: Pilling, Buxton, Mullin, Dagnall