Goals from Danny Lloyd and James Vaughan ensured a 2-1 win for Tranmere Rovers against Bolton Wanderers at Prenton Park.
The visitors, who went down to ten men, halved the deficit through their captain, Antoni Sarcevic, but Rovers held on to a deserved three points and a league double for Keith Hill’s men over Bolton.
Tranmere kept an unchanged line up following the win against Forest Green for the clash against BWFC.
New signing Nya Kirby was on the bench, taking the place of youngster Kyle Hayde.
Rovers made a stunning start against the Greater Manchester outfit and were ahead within three minutes as a cross from former Bolton man Liam Feeney wasn’t dealt with and Lloyd was on hand to hit a first time strike from the edge of the box past Matt Gilks.
Tranmere were comfortable after Lloyd’s strike hit the back of the net, and next threatened in the 17th minute as Otis Khan struck from 20-yards over the cross bar.
Bolton first meaningful shot on goal came in the 22nd minute of play, captain Antoni Sarcevic was unable to test his former Fleetwood team mate, Scott Davies, from range.
Wanderers started to get more of a handle on the game, and started to test the Rovers defence, with a number of important blocks from white shirts. On the 30 minute mark, Eoin Doyle clipped a shot over the cross bar.
Into the second half, and a back post free-kick nearly got Tranmere a second, as Feeney whipped the ball in but Vaughan couldn’t get enough of a connection to test Gilks.
However, in the 52nd minute, dangerman Feeney broke into penalty box and as he shot, which forced Gilks into an excellent save, Ryan Delaney clattered into our number 19, giving referee Neil Hair a penalty kick.
Rovers doubled their advantage as Vaughan stepped up to the mark and netted his 12th league goal of the campaign, and his second penalty against Bolton this season.
On his 801st career appearance, Clarke nearly scored a stunning goal when he broke from the back to hit a thunderous effort, which was well stopped by Gilks.
But moments later, in the 66th minute, Bolton pulled one back as Sarcevic tapped home from close range after Rovers didn’t deal with a low cross.
An instant reaction saw Kirby come on for his debut, after replacing former Bolton youngster Woolery.
Bolton were putting the pressure on and a fabulous stop from Davies prevented an equaliser, saving from close range after a fierce shot from Wanderers sub Arthur Gnahoua.
Wanderers were pushing for that equaliser and Gnahoua again came within a whisker, striking wide from a Sarcevic pass.
Delaney’s afternoon went from bad to worse, after giving away the penalty, he elbowed Vaughan and was given a second yellow, so the centre half was giving his marching orders with 15 to play.
The second change for Rovers saw Keiron Morris come on for Lloyd, who grabbed the first goal of the match in the first three minutes. Morris’ introduction was in the 79th.
Stunning play from Feeney, as he won the ball, took on two players and travelled the length of the pitch to earn Rovers an opportunity, but Kirby hit over after a Vaughan knock down.
Davies was again the hero in goal, after a great display last Tuesday vs Forest Green, the captain was alert to save from BWFC sub Alex Baptiste.
Bolton were making Tranmere work for their three points with the ten men pilling on the pressure during the six minutes of added time but Rovers held on to seal the win.
Tranmere: Davies, Khan, Clarke, Monthe, MacDonald, Spearing, Lewis, Feeney, Woolery (Kirby 66), Lloyd (Morris 79), Vaughan. Unused subs: Murphy, Ray, Payne, Blackett-Taylor, Ferrier.
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The match report is sponsored by MAIN.