Tranmere too strong for Southport

Curran scores twice in friendly win
In their annual summer friendly, Tranmere Rovers this evening fielded a strong side and beat local non-league side Southport 4-1 in a friendly at Haig Avenue.

With Chris Shuker and Endrissa Sonko still unavailable and Adnan Ahmed watching on from the stands, Tranmere started with John Achterberg in goal, a back four of Taylor, Chorley, Kay and Holmes, who returned to Southport where he had a loan spell last season. In midfield, Tranmere started with O'Callaghan, Edds and trialist Charlie Barnett, whilst Gornell, Savage and Curran were the front three.

It took just six minutes for the visiters to take the lead, as they scored an excellent team goal. The move started in midfield before Daniel Holmes recieved the ball near the half-way line and serged down the right wing. Level with the edge of the area, Holmes swung in a pin-point cross that was headed home by Craig Curran.

That was how the score line would remain until half-time, although both sides had chances to score before the break.

Whilst Savage was unlucky to head an O'Callaghan cross against the stantion at the back post, Kay had a goal dissallowed for a push in the area after the defender had headed home Barnett's corner, whilst the Southport 'keeper also made two excellent saves from Curran.

At the other end, Southport some how missed a golden opportunity as the striker shot wide from just a matter of yards out, whilst an Achterberg error was eventually cleared from inside the Tranmere penalty box by the Rovers defence.

With five minutes of the first half remaining, new signing Gareth Edds hobbled off the pitch and was replaced by Steve Jennings, whilst at half-time Waterfall, Goodison, Moore and Greenacre replaced Chorley, Kay, Savage and Gornell.

Five minutes into the second half though, Tranmere did double their lead through Andy Taylor. Again, it was a Barnett corner that posed the threat, with the former Liverpool player placing the ball straight on Taylor's head, where the defender headed in to the top corner from near the penalty spot.

For the next fifteen minutes though, Tranmere seemed to lose concentration, with Southport having a couple of chances that perhaps they shouldn't have been allowed.

It was inevitable that they would eventually take one, and indeed on 62-minutes Steve Daley made it 2-1 as he broke clear of the Tranmere defence, running unmarked down the centre of the field and slotting the ball past the advancing Achterberg.

Achterberg then kept Tranmere in the game with a good save from a long range effort, before Southport missed another golden opportunity from inside the area.

Two subsitutes soon followed, with left-back Aaron Cresswell and central-midfielder Paul Henry replacing Andy Taylor and George O'Callaghan around the 70-minute mark.

From then on, Tranmere took hold of the game, forcing a number of corners and having a number of chances to seal the win.

Their third goal came on 76-minutes as Craig Curran finished brilliantly from a narrow angle inside the penalty area after a fantastic pass from Steve Jennings, whilst the finish of the game came on 80-minutes as Ian Moore brilliantly slotted the ball into the top corner from 15-yards, curling the ball round the goalkeeper.

Rovers had numerous other chances, with Curran seeing shots deflected over and amongst others, Cresswell firing over the bar.

The highlight of the game though was probably Ian Goodison taking a corner with about ten minutes left, although he only took it short instead of whipping a demon delivery into the area.

It was a comfortable win in the end for Ronnie Moore's side, with the likes of O'Callaghan, Savage, Chorley and Jennings impressing, although the best two players on the pitch were, without doubt, Craig Curran and Charlie Barnett.