Keith Hill oversaw an ‘important’ victory as Tranmere Rovers defeated Brackley Town to secure a place in the Emirates FA Cup third-round for the third successive season.
Matched by the non-league visitors for much of the contest, a moment of individual quality settled the tie in the 66th minute of the match.
Kaiyne Woolery’s curling effort on the edge of the Brackley box struck the post before getting the better of keeper Daniel Lewis, clinching Rovers’ progression to the next stage of the competition.
Detailing how Tranmere went about finding a winning goal, Hill said: “It was tough for the players. As a manger, you expect that type of game. The tactics of the opponent were very good: they allowed us to have the ball in deep areas of the pitch but they had a solid bank of six, with two defensive midfield players. We spent too much time in the centre of the pitch, trying to find passes through the midfield. We changed it at half-time so we could have a little bit more of an attacking threat, and it worked for us.
“It was a bit too negative, the possession in the first-half. We had to move them about a lot quicker, so we decided it was best to get it in wide areas of the pitch. In a strange way, it gave us a little bit more control in the centre of the pitch by getting it wide.”
Two second-half substitutions changed the contest, with the Whites swiftly finding the breakthrough following the arrivals of Paul Lewis and Woolery on the hour mark.
“I think we’ve got to tap into our attacking fortunes,” said Hill. “There is good competition for places and the players are supporting one another superbly, as substitutes and starters. We know what we’ve got, from an attacking sense, and we’ve got opportunities to win games if we defend well.
“He’s [Woolery] a good player. He’s not happy 100 per cent because he’s not starting games, so we have to keep him hungry. He’s got to have that motivation, and he’s got it. I’m happy to have these problems regarding team selection, they are good problems when you’re winning matches.”
An FA Cup third-round tie now awaits Tranmere, which the players are ready to attack once their fate is discovered.
“It’s important because we want to test ourselves against our next opponents. We’re in the draw and, whether it be Championship or non-league, we just see it as an opportunity to improve and it gives us an ambition. We all want to play football and we can’t be moaning about the games. We want more success and the players are enjoying playing,” concluded the Whites’ boss.