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Match Reports

Tranmere Rovers 1-2 Hearts

13 July 2022

Micky Mellon’s Tranmere got another worthwhile run out on Wednesday evening, as they were narrowly beaten by Heart of Midlothian in a hard-fought contest.

Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time this season, the SWA put in a fine showing as they pushed Hearts all the way in a thoroughly entertaining encounter.

Rovers made a lively start to proceedings at Prenton Park and were ahead by the ten minute mark, with a powerful header from Kane Hemmings beating Ross Stewart in the Hearts goal, after a delightful cross from new signing Ethan Bristow.

The SWA continued to set the tempo of the game’s early exchanges, with another new signing at the heart of a Tranmere move. This time it was Neill Byrne, whose teasing pass couldn’t quite be controlled from Hemmings.

The visitors started to grow into the game afterwards with two chances of their own in quick succession, both times the impressive Byrne made vital challenges to neutralise the threat.

Despite the pressure from Hearts, Rovers had a glorious chance to add their second goal through Neill Byrne, with the defender heading over the crossbar after some lively play in the build-up by Reece McAlear. The Irish defender was very much in the thick of things at both ends of the pitch.

Rovers continued to look promising and it took a key interception from the Hearts defence to thwart an SWA counter attack just before half-time, with Ethan Bristow once again looking lively as he went on darting run up the pitch. An encouraging first half for Tranmere, who were good value for their advantage at the break.

After the restart it was Hearts who looked the more lively and had an opportunity to level proceedings through Alan Forrest, who saw his attempt blocked by Neill Byrne.

Just after the hour mark Rovers had their first opening of the second half through substitute Ben Hockenhull, who headed over the bar from a Josh Hawkes free kick.

After weathering some pressure from Rovers, the visitors levelled proceedings through Barrie McKay who placed a low-driven strike beyond Ross Doohan into the bottom corner.

Hearts built on the momentum from their equaliser and took the lead just moments after, a powerful header from Northern Irish international Liam Boyce beating Doohan in the Rovers goal. The Scottish side were now displaying the quality that propelled them to a third place finish in the Scottish Premiership last season.

Rovers upped the tempo after Hearts’ two quickfire goals and almost responded with an equaliser of their own shortly after, another rapid run from Ethan Bristow causing the visitors problems as his cross fizzed across the face of the goal.

Rovers fought hard late on to try and find an equaliser, but it came to no avail as Hearts held on to take the victory.

An encouraging evening for Micky Mellon and his side nonetheless, with plenty of positives to take out of the encounter.

Next up for Rovers is a trip to Southport at the weekend, before returning to Prenton Park a week later to host Huddersfield in their final game of pre-season.

Tranmere team: Doohan, Dacres-Cogley (Williams 86’), Trialist (Hockenhull 50’), Byrne (Hughes 64’), Jameson (Merrie 57’), Bristow (Stratulis 81’), O’Connor (Taylor 76’), Lewis, McAlear (Hawkes 57’), Nevitt, Hemmings (Lomax 64’)


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