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Match Reports

Tranmere Rovers 0-2 Mansfield Town

18 February 2023

Match Reports

Tranmere Rovers 0-2 Mansfield Town

18 February 2023

Tranmere Rovers were defeated 2-0 at home against Mansfield Town on Saturday afternoon in Sky Bet League Two.

Riley Harbottle’s header 11 minutes before half-time saw Rovers trail the promotion-chasing Stags at the break.

Davis Keillor-Dunn extended the advantage for Nigel Clough’s men early into the second-half, which completed the scoring at Prenton Park.

Micky Mellon made three changes from Tuesday’s game at Bradford City – with Joe Murphy becoming Rovers’ oldest player aged 41, as he replaced Mateusz Hewelt in goal, while Jay Turner-Cooke and Joel Mumbongo came in for Kieron Morris and Kane Hemmings.

Rovers had two early openings at goal within five minutes. Firstly, Harvey Saunders pounced on a misplaced pass by Elliott Hewitt on the left to drag his low effort wide across goal before Lee O’Connor’s strike from distance went over the crossbar of goalkeeper Christy Pym.

Mansfield’s first threat towards the Rovers backline came minutes later when Keillor-Dunn’s cross had to be headed behind for a corner by Josh Dacres-Cogley. The resulting set-piece dropped in the box but was defended through Josh Hawkes’ clearance.

On 18 minutes, Murphy was called upon, dropping down well to thwart Lucas Akins after the attacker turned Kyle Jameson in the box having reacted the quickest from Harbottle’s long throw.

Akins was involved in Mansfield’s next opportunity, as he set off on a surging run down the right to cross into the box which was met by the unmarked Stephen Quinn, who scuffed his close-range attempt wide.

On the half-hour, stand-in captain Tom Davies produced a vital interception on the ball to head back to Murphy when Kieran Wallace’s lofted pass almost released Keillor-Dunn.

The Nottinghamshire outfit were in front after 34 minutes. Quinn played a neat one-two with Jordan Bowery from a free-kick to cross into a crowded box from the right, which Harbottle met to guide his header over the line despite the best efforts of Murphy to keep it out.

Searching for an equaliser, Dacres-Cogley linked up well with Turner-Cooke down the right, however the forward on loan from Newcastle United struck left-footed outside the box which landed off target.

Mansfield went close to a second late in the first-half, as Murphy saved from Keillor-Dunn who had been played through by James Perch.

Two minutes after half-time, Hawkes had the ball in the net after firing in a well-taken finish but he was flagged offside.

Up the other end, captain Ollie Clarke profited from Keillor-Dunn’s headed knockdown to hit a rising right-footed shot just over Murphy’s right-post.

Mansfield did have their second of the afternoon with 54 minutes on the clock. Alfie Kilgour’s long searching ball dropped to Clarke, who got in-between Jameson and Ethan Bristow – his chip was pushed onto the bar by Murphy but Keillor-Dunn followed up right-footed to put Town two ahead.

In response to the goal, Mellon made a double change, bringing Logan Chalmers and Jake Burton on in place of Turner-Cooke and Mumbongo.

Pushing to half the deficit on the Wirral, Bristow’s pinpoint cross from the left was headed over his own crossbar and to safety by Kilgour, with Saunders and Burton lurking.

On 65 minutes, Akins and Keillor-Dunn combined to set up Bowery, with Murphy superbly saving his goal-bound shot.

Rovers were enjoying a positive spell of play, as Burton and Regan Hendry saw strikes charged down by Stags defenders.  

Davies headed Hendry’s corner from the right into the path of Jameson, however the defender’s overhead kick narrowly missed.

With ten minutes left, Chalmers’ through ball set Saunders free. The attacker pulled it back for Hawkes, but Harbottle threw himself in the way of his powerful strike.

Hendry and Chalmers both had late chances which failed to test Pym, as Rovers suffered a home defeat.

TRFC are back in action next weekend when they travel to Stevenage, kick-off 3pm.

Tranmere: Murphy, Dacres-Cogley, Davies, Jameson, Bristow, Hawkes, Hendry, O'Connor, Turner-Cooke (Chalmers 58), Saunders, Mumbongo (Burton 58)

Subs not used: Hewelt, Fisher, Merrie, Nolan, Lewis

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