Rovers back in play-offs after narrow win

50 Not Out for Greenacre as Tranmere move back into play-offs
Tranmere Rovers tonight made hard work of Swindon Town as they narrowly beat the mid-table League One side 2-1 at Prenton Park.

Despite threatening to make changes from the side that lost 2-1 at Bournemouth on Easter Monday, Ronnie Moore named an unchanged starting XI, with the only change in the sixteen seeing John Mullin replacing the injured Chris Shuker on the substitutes bench.

The conditions on the Wirral were yet again horrible, with rain sweeping across a bitter cold Prenton Park, ensuring that less than 6,000 fans came through the turnstiles and making conditions very difficult for football.

Swindon had the early chances in front of the Kop, with Paynter and leading Swindon scorer Cox narrowly missing a McGovern's cross before Rovers took the lead on 12 minutes.

Tranmere counter-attacked from a Swindon corner before Jennison Myrie-Williams lost the ball, with the chance looking as if it had gone. The ball fell to Tranmere midfielder Paul McLaren in the centre of the Swindon half, who laid the ball on to Shane Sherriff. Sherriff continued the move by passing the ball outside to Steven Jennings, who was bursting into the penalty area and with his second touch he hit a deflected shot over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Rovers nearly made it 2-0 moments later when a McLaren corner found Shane Sherriff at the back post, but the Australian's volley was well saved low down by the goalkeeper, who was again involved to collect a cross at his near post a few minutes later.

On 17-minutes, the Robins nearly levelled the game through winger Anthony McNamee. The Swindon player headed a McGovern cross goalwards after Goodison had lost the ball, and with the shot heading for the top corner, Ben Chorley leaped from the goal line to head the ball clear.

Greenacre vollied an Andy Taylor cross wide on 22-minutes before at the other end Coyne saved a well-struck Paynter shot, although the strike was straight at the Rovers 'keeper, whilst Myrie-Williams then had two chances for Tranmere, first hitting a weak volley straight at 'keeper Brezovan, before the on-loan winger was found by an outstanding McLaren cross field pass and he burst into the area, where he tried to decieve Brezovan with a guided shot towards the near post, but the goalkeeper kept the ball out, holding it on the second attempt, and in turn kept the score at 1-0.

However, on 40-minutes Tranmere made their pressure count as they got a second goal through Chris Greenacre, the striker netting his fourth in five games.

Paul McLaren hit a free-kick into the penalty area that was flicked on towards the back post, where Greenacre was waiting to smash the ball home from a tight angle, and although a Swindon player attempted to clear, the linesmans flag was raised to signal that the ball had crossed the line.

The goal was Chris Greenacres 50th for the club in just his third season on the Wirral, and indeed he is by far the leading scorer at Prenton Park this season with thirteen goals to his name.

The second half started brightly for Tranmere with Myrie-Williams heading over from a Sherriff cross before at the other end Greenacre was on hand with a goal line clearance as he headed Aljofree's header away from danger.

On 49-minutes, Ian Moore saw his deflected shot saved by Brezovan as it was heading for the top right-hand corner beofre Swindon had two further chances, with Easten smashing a shot wide and Cox hitting a low shot goalwards just after the hour mark, only for Coyne to dive to his left and save the ball.

However, with 68-minutes on the clock, Swindon pulled themselves well and truely back into the game as Paynter made it 2-1.

Greenacre lost the ball in midfield for Tranmere from where the visiters quickly attacked. The ball found it's way to Cox on the right, who after out pacing Ian Goodison, slid the ball across goal for Paynter who netted from close range, ensuring the last quarter of the match was to be nerve-wracking, just how Tranmere like it.

Four minutes later, Jennison Myrie-Williams was replaced by Calvin Zola, with Ian Moore moving to the right-wing. Moore himself should have settled the game on 79-minutes, as Tranmere counter attacked through Steve Jennings and the midfielder laid a pass inside to Ian Moore who had bust a gut to get from defence to attack in next to no time. Moore carried the ball down the centre of the field and from 20-yards he smashed a shot goalwards, only for Brezovan to dive to his left and push the shot, that was at a nice height for the goalkeeper, away from goal.

Tranmere should perhaps have had a penalty on 80-minutes as Calvin Zola appeared to be pushed to the ground by the Swindon defender after he had ran on to a Jennings pass, whilst the striker was in another disputed decision from the referee moments later, when Aljofree appeared to be holding and pulling Zola in the area as the Tranmere number nine attempted to regain possession having originally lost it.

Swindon however were still in the game, and they put a number of decent crosses into the box, with Rovers struggling to clear some whilst Danny Coyne collected others.

Cox sent a dipping 20-yard volley wide for the visiters after the 80-minute mark, with Coyne left flat footed in his goal as the ball went past his near post, whilst Tranmere came close to scoring twice in the final few minutes.

Firstly, Jennings smashed a powerful shot over the bar from 25-yards, before Paul McLaren somehow dribbled through the entire Swindon defence, despite losing and then regaining possession on a number of occasions, before coming to the edge of the area. However, hear his luck ran out, with the ball falling on his weak left foot and as such he could only send a weak shot straight at Brezovan.

Cox missed a chance from a McNamee cross in the 90th minute, and this proved to be the final chance of the game, as the Tranmere fans breathed a sigh of relief and were able to go home with three points in the bag and the chance to finally dry those clothes of and warm up.

Tranmere deserved the win in the end, although they made it hard for themselves in the final fifteen or so minutes as they sometimes gifted the away side possession and allowed far too many crosses to come in from the wings, which could have caused them a lot more problems.

Enough is enough for Rovers though, and as it is said at this stage of every season, it's points that matter now, and not performances. Lets just hope another three head our way in eight days.

Jones' Man Of The Match: Only one contender for me, as for the second week running, defender Ben Chorley wins the award. The Londener was outstanding for Rovers all game, making some crucial clearances, especially his goal-line header in the first half, as well as winning some big tackles and headers at the back.