Bournemouth 2-0 Tranmere Rovers

Moore work to be done after another shocking performance
Tranmere's season of up and downs continued at Dean Court yesterday as their inconsistency showed yet again in a 2-0 defeat to struggling Bournemouth.

Ronnie Moore made one change to the Rovers side who defeated Port Vale 3-2 last weekend, with Jason McAteer replacing the injured Paul McLaren in midfield, other wise the starting 11 and subs bench remained the same.

It was a scrappy start to the game, as Tranmere, once again cheered on by strong vocal support from the travelling 300 or so Rovers fans, looked to open the scoring with Gareth Taylor seeing an early effort blocked.

However it was all downhill from here on in, as firstly James Hayter seeing his shot saved by Gavin Ward at his near post and then Cooper firing wide from the resulting corner before the Cherries took the lead.

Steven Fletcher beat Ian Goodison in the air to a long ball forward, flicking on to David McGoldrick. The Bournemouth player broke into the box and shrugged off a weak challange from Chris McCready before shooting past Ward into the middle of the net from no more than 8 yards.

Tranmere's first real chance came from a wonderful move involving Kevin Ellison, John Mullin and Gareth Taylor with the ball eventually landing to Shane Sherriff running onto the ball from left-back who fired over from 25-yards.

However with Chris Shuker being expertly marked out of the game by the Bournemouth defence and Chris Greenacre finding chances hard to come by, Rovers looked clueless as they strived for a break through before half time.

With Stockdale pushing forward to help Shuker, chances were left at the back and it wasn't long before McGoldrick broke through again, this time down the Tranmere right.

The striker broke into the box and tried to lob the ball over Ward who was rushing out of his goal. However the Tranmere keeper made a brilliant one handed reaction save, clawing the ball away before gathering.

This wasn't the end of the move though as Ward had to let go of the ball before his momentum took him out of the area, leaving Goodison to clear but the referee blew for a foul on the Tranmere defender.

On the stroke of half time, former England player Darren Anderton sent a free-kick from 19 yards into the bottom of the wall after Ian Goodison had fouled a Bournemouth attacker when contact appeared to be inside the box.

The teams went in at half-time 1-0 and the travelling Tranmere fans, who had treated Bournemouth to a five minute rendition of "Ronnie Moore's Barmy Army" at the start of the game were hoping their team could make the six hour journey worth while.

It wasn't to be though as Bournemouth continued to dominate at the start of the second half, leaving off as they had done in the first.

On 54-minutes, Bournemouth won a free-kick 22-yards from goal. Anderton took the free-kick and sent it smashing into Ian Goodison. The ball fell to McGoldrick who's shot was expertly saved by Ward in the Tranmere goal.

However, confusion began as the referee pulled back play and awarded a penalty to Bournemouth. This confused not only the Tranmere fans, but also the players from both sides and the Bournemouth fans, with knowbody apart from the referee (although whether he knew is questionable) knowing why a penalty had been awarded.

According to various websites, the penalty was awarded for the ball striking Ian Goodison's arm, although it appeared to hit him in the head. Why play continued in the first place and a penalty not been awarded straight away was also a question Tranmere fans were asking. The Tranmere skipper was booked for the incident.

James Hayter stepped up to take the penalty and netted to put Bournemouth 2-0 up with only nine minutes of the second half gone.

On 66-minutes, Tranmere's chances of winning dissapeared (although some would claim they dissapeared when the game started) as Ian Goodison was sent off for a second yellow card.

McGoldrick, running at the Jamaican defender, slipped the ball through Goodison's legs before running into the Tranmere number 15 who had no chance to react before the striker hit him.

The whistle happy referee blew straight away and immediately gave Goodison his marching orders, as Tranmere had their first player sent off of the season, despite both yellow cards being highly debatable.

Rovers had claims for a penalty soon after when Kevin Ellison went down easily after a challange from two Bournemouth players, but play was waved on, whilst the former Hull winger was in the action again as he saw his cross headed wide by Gareth Taylor.

On 76-minutes, Ronnie Moore made a double substitution, as Calvin Zola replaced John Mullin and then Chris Shuker left the field to be replaced by Danny Harrison.

The changes had no effect however. The game could have been played for 900 minutes instead of 90 and Tranmere still wouldn't have scored.

Rovers had two free-kicks in similar positions in the closing minutes, both about 22-yards from goal and slightly right of centre.

With Shuker and McLaren not on the field, free-kick duties were left to Kevin Ellison and Shane Sherriff, with the former sending his free-kick over the the Aussie hitting his free-kick against the wall and out for a corner.

Tranmere's final chance came when Kevin Ellison, re-vitalised after his return to the team three or four weeks ago, made a run down the wing before curling in a beautiful cross to the far post. However, despite being 2-0 down, Tranmere had only two men (Greenacre and Taylor) in the box and the chance went begging.

The game ended 2-0 to Bournemouth then, and the Tranmere fans were sent home dissapointed, dejected and wondering whether their play-off ambitions were still alive.

Their team had played truelly awfully, possibly the worst performance of the season, as they didn't register a single shot on target in the 90 minutes.

Not one player was a threat to the Bournemouth defence apart from perhaps Kevin Ellison who simply wasn't given the ball enough, especially in the first half.

Ronnie Moore promised the fans another performance like Swansea wouldn't be seen, but he has questions to answer after another dismal display from his team.

Jones' Man Of The Match: One two outfield players could come out of that game with any credit in Kevin Ellison and Robbie Stockdale. If Ellison as passed the ball more, he would have won the award for this game. However, it is Scotsman Robbie Stockdale who "earns" the award for this match, due to some excellent defending as usual as he was hardly beaten down the right.