Cheltenham Town vs. Tranmere Rovers match preview

By Matthew Jones
Last updated : 02 February 2009
Rovers go in search of away win without key defender Goodison
http://www.tranmererovers-mad.co.uk/news/loadroll.asp?cid=ED11&id=430606


Heavy snow all over Britain has put Tranmere's fixture with Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road on Tuesday night in doubt, so if you intend on travelling to this fixture, make sure you check the weather forcast and drive carefully, if the game is on, and check the official site to check if the match is indeed set to be played.

Tranmere will be hoping not to have a third postponement since the turn of the year though, as with a fixture pile up already coming up, Ronnie Moore will be keen for his side to get another game out the way, one in which they will be hoping to pick up a rare Tuesday night away win.

Cheltenham Town team profile:

Formed: 1887

Ground: Whaddon Road

Manager: Martin Allen

Nickname: The Robins

Season Finish 2006/07: 19th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

Tranmere and Cheltenham met at Prenton Park in Coca Cola League One on October 21st, and Rovers were convincing and comfortable winners over the struggling Robins.

After a drab first half that ended 0-0, Tranmere turned up the pressure in the second half, stepped up a gear and were too good for Cheltenham to handle.

Few efforts came in the first half, with Taylor coming closest for Tranmere with a well struck free-kick, whilst the Tranmere left-back hit another shot wide in the second period, this after Antony Kay had had a good shot saved.

Shuker shot wide soon after before Tranmere eventually broke the deadlock, with Bas Savage netting from a Shuker cross to hand Rovers the advantage with 69 minutes on the clock.

Ronnie Moore's side secured the game on 89 minutes when Edrissa Sonko netted as he headed home from another Shuker cross.

The win was Tranmere's fourth in five games and started a game run of form at home which has seen them win seven out of eight league games since.

Vital Stats:

The away side has never won a fixture when these two sides have met

Tranmere are unbeaten in their last four games against the Robins

Rovers have lost both Tuesday night away fixtures against Cheltenham

In the seven meetings between these two teams, the away team has scored a total of just four goals

Tranmere's last Tuesday night away league win came on March 7th 2006 when they beat Swindon Town 2-1


On This Day:

2007: A late error from Gavin Ward gifts Oldham a 1-0 win over Tranmere at Boundary Park

2006: Goals from Carl Tremarco and Delroy Facey hand Brian Little's Tranmere a 2-1 Friday night win over Huddersfield Town at Prenton Park, this depsite Rovers having Calvin Zola sent off in the first half

2001: Rovers draw 1-1 away at Stockport County as they continued their (evenutually unsuccessful) battle against relegation from Division One


The Form Book:

Cheltenham last six home games: LDDLDW
Tranmere last six away games: LLDLLD

Cheltenham Town's home form this season has been no better than Tranmere's away form, and that's why Rovers travel to Whaddon Road to take on Martin ALlen's side whilst they are bottom of League One.

The Robins started their six match sequence with a 1-0 win over Crewe Alexandra thanks to a second half strike from Diallo, but that has been their only win in their last six home matches.

Next, Martin Allen's side drew 0-0 with Walsall before a thoroughly exciting match with Peterborough United ended 6-3 at Whaddon Road, the game close at 4-3 before Peterborough scored two late, late goals to secure the match.

Cheltenham then drew their F.A. Cup third round match with Doncaster Rovers 0-0 (losing the replay at the Keepmoat Stadium 3-0), before drawing once again, this time with Brighton and Hove Albion as Westlake and Westwood scored in a 2-2 draw.

In their most recent home match, their were once again goals galore as Cheltenham lost 5-3 to the MK Dons, a second half Spencer hatrick not enough for the Robins, as Wilbraham netted a hatrick of his own for MK Dons, with Jemal Johson also netted twice.

Other notable home results for Cheltenham this season include wins over Swindon Town (2-0), Bristol Rovers (2-1) and Colchester United (4-3).

Martin Allen's side have played fourteen home games this season but picked up just sixteen of an available 42 points thanks to four wins, four draws and six defeats.

Impressive results away from home for the Robins include a league win at Leyton Orient (2-1) and cup wins against Southend (1-0), Morecambe (3-2) and Oldham (1-0).

Cheltenham come into this game in 24th place in League One, meaning they are bottom of the table. They have picked up just 21 points from an available 81 in their 27 games, this thanks to five wins, six draws and sixteen defeats. Only Crewe in League One have lost more games than them in the league this season.

This season, Tranmere Rovers' away form has yet again been appauling, and this continued on Saturday when they threw away a lead at Crewe and crashed to defeat.

Tranmere started their six match sequence started with a 0-0 draw at Peterborough in the F.A. Cup second round, although Tranmere had chances to win the match, before two weeks later Ronnie Moore's side put in a terrible display and deservedly lost 2-0 at the Memorial Ground against Bristol Rovers.

Rovers were then thoroughly unlucky to be sent crashing out of the Johnstone's Paints Trophy as they lost 2-1 at Scunthorpe United in the regional semi-final section of the competition, John Johnson scoring a late own goal to send the Iron through, whilst in their next away game Tranmere twice led but in the end drew 2-2 with Hereford United at Edgar Street.

That was Tranmere's last point on the road, and indeed the only point they have earned in their last six away league games, with Ronnie Moore's side coming into this fixture without a win in ten matches on the road, scoring just four goals in the process.

In their next away fixture, Tranmere lost 1-0 at Millwall, despite a battling display which many Tranmere fans believed deserved at least a draw, before Tranmere travelled to Crewe on Saturday and put in a terrible display at in the final seven minutes they conceded twice to throw away the 1-0 lead that Antony Kay had given them in the first half.

Other notable results away from home for Tranmere this season include wins at Carlisle United (2-1), Huddersfield Town (2-1) and Leyton Orient (1-0).

Tranmere have so far played thirteen away league games this season, picking up twelve of an available 39 points thanks to three wins, three draws and seven defeats.

Impressive home results for Tranmere include wins over Leeds United (2-1), Northampton Town (4-1), Carlisle United (4-1) and Scunthorpe (2-0).

Ronnie Moore's side come into this game in ninth place in the League One table, having picked up 43 of an available 81 points from 27 games, thanks to thirteen wins, four draws and ten defeats.


Double Hit:

Pacey winger Jennison Myrie-Williams was on-loan at Cheltenham earlier this season, having spent a large proportion of last season on-loan at Tranmere Rovers.

Myrie-Williams is a graduate of the Bristol City academy, where he made his debut during the 2005-06 season. However, he has found appearances limited with his parent club, having made just thirty-five appearances in four seasons a professional at Ashton Gate.

Therefore, the youngster has spent a lot of time out on-loan, starting with a spell at Cheltenham Town at the start of the 2007/08 season.

Here, he made thirteen appearances, scoring once, before returning to Bristol. However, shortly afterwards he was out on-loan again, this time joining Ronnie Moore at Tranmere Rovers, who had lost Steve Davies for the majority of the season with a knee injury.

Myrie-Williams stayed with Tranmere from November right through until the end of the season, becoming somewhat of a love or hate player with the Tranmere fans.

He made twenty-six appearances for Tranmere and scored three goals, including a superb solo effort in a 2-0 win at Elland Road against Leeds United for Tranmere in Ferbuary 2008.

However, he spent much of his time at Tranmere out of position on the right-wing, despite the fact that he is very left-footed. It was for this reason, perhaps, that Myrie-Williams failed to ever find consistent form at Prenton Park and was very hit and miss.

He showed plenty of pace and skill, but often a final ball or end product was lacking, often because he had to cut back from his right foot on to his left to deliver the ball.

The start of this season again saw the twenty-year old fail to get in the Bristol City side, and he returned to Cheltenham on loan for a month in August, making a further five appearances and scoring once.

Then, in mid-September, he joined Carlisle United on-loan. Carlisle manager John Ward had had Myrie-Williams on-loan at Cheltenham, where he was manager, last season, and had clearly been impressed enough to secure the player's services again.

Myrie-Williams made ten appearances for Carlisle, although only three of these were starts. In November 2008 he returned to Bristol City after Carlisle decided not to extend his loan spell, before joining struggling League One side Hereford on loan in January. He has made three appearances for the Bulls so far.


One To Watch: Ian Westlake

Midfielder Ian Westlake is currently on loan at Cheltenham from League One rivals Leeds United, where he had been struggling to break into the first team under manager Gary McAllister.

Westlake started his career at Ipswich Town where he rose through the youth ranks and made his professional debut aged nineteen.

He went on to make 125 appearances for the Tractor Boys over a four year spell as a professional with the club, scoring joining Leeds as part of a swap deal in August 2006.

Still a Leeds contracted player, Westlake has made 52 appearances for the Elland Road side in his two and a half seasons with the club, though he has found a first team place hard to come by since Dennis Wise left the club in January 2008.

In March 2008 he joined Brighton on loan, making eleven appearances and scoring twice in a two month loan spell and then in October of this season he joined Cheltenham on loan.

A strong passer of the ball, Westlake has made seventeen appearances and scored two goals for Martin Allen's side and will remain with the club until the end of the season.

He wears the number 38 shirt for the Whaddon Road side and can often be found pulling the strings in midfield, whilst he is also a good player defensively.


Around League One:

There was set to be a full round of fixtures in League One this Tuesday. However, the bad weather has already resulted in a number of postponements, with Carlisle vs. Hereford, Leyton Orient vs. Leeds and Millwall vs. Colchester all off at the time of writing.

All this means that should Tranmere win at Cheltenham on Tuesday night, they would move at least up to eighth in the table, above Leeds United by a point, whilst anything other than a win for Stockport, who host high-flying second placed MK Dons would mean Tranmere would leap above the Hatters too.

Cheltenham meanwhile will be desperate for a win after they slipped to the bottom of the League One table on Saturday, with a draw from their meeting with Tranmere taking them above Hereford.

Table topping Leicester City are away to Walsall who are twelfth in the table, with Leicester looking to extend their ten point lead at the top of the table.

Third placed Scunthorpe are at struggling Southend and can move above MK Dons with a win, whilst fourth placed Peterborough travel to Brighton.

Oldham, who lie sixth in the table, will move ahead of Millwall should they get at least a draw at home to Bristol Rovers, this due to their superior goal difference whilst tenth placed Huddersfield can over take Tranmere should they better Rovers' result, with the Terriors hosting Hartlepool United.

Team News:

Tranmere are once again without strikers Chris Greenacre and Craig Curran, who are set to sit out of further two weeks of action, whilst George O'Callaghan will once again be missing. Terry Gornell is doubtful for the match whilst defender Ian Goodison misses the game through suspension, though an injury picked up at Crewe on Saturday means he would have missed the game anyway. Tranmere are expected to bring defender Gareth Edds back in to the starting line up for the match.


Jones' Prediction: Cheltenham Town 1-1 Tranmere Rovers


Tranmere will be keen to pick up a win in this match as they can jump above Leeds in the table and possibly put themselves seventh and just three points off the play-offs by the end of Tuesday.

However, if Rovers are to get anywhere close to winning this game, their away form must completely turn on it's head, especially after Saturday's second half shocking performance at Crewe.

Ronnie Moore's side looked good when they got the ball down and passed it at Gresty Road on Saturday, but that happened all too infrequently, and often instead they resorted to smashing the ball long, playing straight in to the hands, are even heads, of the tall Crewe defence.

Should Tranmere get the ball down and pass it, like they did in their two home games last week, then they will almost certainly beat Cheltenham, as when Tranmere do pass the ball about, there are few better sides in the division.

Rovers have discovered their goalscoring form, and the winning mentality, at Prenton Park, now they need to transfer it to matches away from the Wirral, and for the second match running they face the bottom of the table club on the road and it is games like this that they must win if they are to maintain their play off ambitions.

The key for Tranmere could be whether or not Bas Savage comes back into the starting line up, and that could be the right thing to do, if it means one of Barnett or Sonko drop out of the starting line up. However, it will also be interesting to see whether Ronnie Moore opts to go with Antony Kay or Ryan Shotton at centre-back with Ben Chorley.

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