Tranmere Reserves 1-2 Bury Reserves
Shaun Garnett was once again able to pick from a strong group of players to play this match, with first team fringe players Ben Chorley (captain), Michael Jones and Craig Curran and all starting the match. Former Chester player Simon Yeo started for Bury.
The first half was a scrappy affair and saw very little goalmouth action as a result. Passes went astray and strikers were often out muscled and/or out sprinted by the defenders, whilst the offside flag was raised on far too many occasions.
When chances did come, they rarely hit the target. Shane McWeeney in the Tranmere goal was the busiest of the 'keepers though, as he made a number of good saves at the Kop End, with the pick of them coming as he dived to his right to fist a 20-yard drive clear, whilst the London born goalkeeper also came off his line well to claim a number of crosses and corners.
Tranmere's best effort of the half fell to Tom Beahon but the ever improving midfielder failed to convert his chance from inside the penalty area.
The second half could only get better, and indeed it did, with three goals coming in the final 45-minutes.
It took just five minutes to break the deadlock in the second period as Terry Gornell netted his sixth goal for the reserves this season.
McWeeney's long hoof forward went deep into the Bury half of the field where the Bury defender brought it down before presenting it on a plate to Gornell. With a clear run on goal, the striker pushed to the edge of the area before hitting a very well taken goal into the bottom corner, leaving the goalkeeper motionless.
Gornell, who has not started a reserve game for a few weeks due to various trialists playing, showed great composure with his finish and indeed he could go on to be a great player in the future for Tranmere.
The lead lasted just a minute though, as Tranmere gave away a cheap free-kick on the edge of the area that Stephens smashed into the goal, bouncing in off the cross-bar although McWeeney did just about get his finger tips to the ball.
The remainder of the game was pretty much all Bury pressure as the Lancashire side, eleventh place in the table before kick off, pushed forward in search of a winner.
Rovers kept giving away cheap free-kicks, with Ricky Anane smashing one narrowly over the cross-bar from 25-yards whilst Ryan Fraughen, who had replaced Tom Beahon in central midfield on 70-minutes, did his job in the wall for another, heading the ball clear of danger.
Shaun Garnett's side saw very little action up the other end. Many moves came to nothing, with Jones in particular struggling to dig out any crosses from the right whilst the strikers didn't get any real chances in front of goal.
With eight minutes remaining, Luke Holmes grabbed that all important second goal for Bury in front of the Cowshed. Mike Jones lost the ball in the Tranmere half and as he and two other Rovers players just ambled back towards their own goal. Bury surged forward, with the striker carrying the ball into the D before slipping a pass out to his left to Holmes who shot under the advancing McWeeney, who had no chance, and into the back of the net.
Minutes later, McWeeney was to make the save of the night as a Bury player broke into the box on the left hand side and hit a powerful shot towards the top corner but McWeeney made a stunning reaction save, diving across and fisting the ball clear.
Indeed, the goalkeeper was on the wrong side but he didn't deserve to be on the night as he had often kept Tranmere in it with some great saves through out the match.
Elsewhere, Tranmere were poor. The midfield was lackluster and failed to create any chances for the strikers whilst Craig Curran looked well off the pace and he was very ineffective.
Michael Jones just couldn't find his passing range on the day and he didn't benefit from Curran's lack of pace compared to his marker on the night but he too was often out muscled when on the ball.
The only other first-teamer playing was Ben Chorley who captained the side. Chorley had a fairly quiet night as many Bury attacks came from the wings but he dominated in the air and generally cleared the ball quite well.