Barnsley 2 Tranmere Rovers 0

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 15 November 2003

In form striker Isaiah Rankin netted his sixth goal in eight games - and also won a match-clinching penalty - as Barnsley maintained their promotion push with a worthy 2-0 home win over Tranmere.

The visitors arrived at Oakwell on the back of a five-match unbeaten run, but Barnsley always had the edge and deservedly pocketed the points thanks to Rankin's first half opportunism and a well despatched spot-kick from the fit-again Dean Gorre in the second period.

But Tranmere did have their chances, the first one arriving after eight minutes to bustling striker Simon Haworth. He got in between Barnsley's two central defenders for a free header but put the ball wide.

Haworth then had two more good openings, the first arriving on 15 minutes when he badly mis-timed another header before sending a weak left-foot volley straight at home keeper Sasa Ilic.

To make matters worse for the visitors, Barnsley bagged the opening goal in the 23rd minute.

Irishman Brian O'Callaghan, asked to play centre-half because of a suspension to Antony Kay, picked out Kevin Betsy with a tremendous 40-yard pass down the right. Betsy cut inside and delivered a low cross for Rankin to slide past keeper John Achterberg for his sixth goal of the season.

Jacob Burns then sent a 30-yard effort just over the Tranmere bar, before Haworth produced his best bit of football for Tranmere just before the break, his left-foot curler bringing a good save from Ilic.

The home side went further in front in the 63rd minute when Rankin showed great determination to win the ball in the Tranmere box before being hauled down by Ian Sharpe.

Dutchman Gorre nonchalantly stepped up to beat Achterberg from the spot - his sixth goal of the campaign - and joining Rankin at the top of the scoring charts.

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