Carlisle United 1-0 Tranmere Rovers

By Matthew Jones
Last updated : 21 October 2006

Ronnie Moore, where do you go from now?
Tranmere Rovers stretched their run to six league games without a win, after a 1-0 defeat at Brunton Park against Carlisle United.

Ronnie Moore made three changes to the side that defeated Bury 2-0, with Gavin Ward, Paul McLaren and John Mullin returning to the starting XI in a
4-5-1 formation, which saw Steve Davies, Danny Harrison and John Achterberg drop to the bench. Gareth Taylor was also on the bench, along with Carl Tremarco, whilst Jason McAteer retained his place in the team.

It was
Carlisle who had the early pressure, with Gavin Ward comfortably saving a free-kick from Peter Murphy on 5 minutes; before Gray and Hackney both watched their efforts miss the target.

On 9 minutes, Rovers had what was sadly their best chance of the game. Chris Shuker curled a wonderful cross in from the right, met by Kevin Ellison, who saw his shot hit the right-hand post and bounce to safety.

On 15-minutes, Ronnie Moore's game plan was ruined, as left-winger Kevin Ellison was forced off with an injury, to be replaced by youngster Steve Davies.

Mullin saw a shot deflected wide for a corner, thanks to more good work down the right from Shuker, as Ronnie Moore's men attempted to make the pressure count.

Ward was soon back in action however, as the pendulum swung towards
Carlisle, with the former Preston 'keeper pulling off saves from Gall and on-loan Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford, who so nearly joined Tranmere.

Rovers had the next two chances, in an end to end half an hour of football, as Davies fired into the side netting from a tight angle after a great passage of play from Tranmere involving Mullin and Shuker, before Mullin's cushioned header from Sherriff's cross, intended for Greenacre, was lapped up by the 'keeper.

Ward did well to save an Aranalde header before Gall netted on 35 minutes for The Blues.

Like a carbon copy of the second goal Rovers conceded up at
Rotherham earlier this season, striker Kevin Gall was allowed to run unchallenged along the penalty area before shooting low past Ward into the bottom corner.

After Davies had fired over the stand from an even tighter angle than his previous shot, midfield Paul McLaren saw his 25-yard effort comfortably saved by Westwood, with the ball hit straight at him.

On 49-minutes, after a great run into the left-hand side of the Carlisle penalty area, Steve Davies shot narrowly over Westwood's goal, as Tranmere looked to strike an equaliser.

However, soon after their hopes of an equaliser began to ebb away, as attacking-midfield John Mullin limped off to be replaced by Danny Harrison.

Just seconds after striding on to the pitch, Harrison should have been sent off, but instead was shown a yellow card, after he was judged to have fouled Hackney when Harrison was the last man.

From the resulting free-kick, Ward dived down low to his right to save from Murphy's curling left-foot shot which was goal bound.

On 52-minutes, Greenacre's deflected cross was headed over and out for a corner by former Rovers player Kevin Gray, with Steve Davies lurking just behind the Carlisle keeper.

Rovers managed to get the ball in the net from the resulting corner, with Ian Goodison flicking the ball into the top right hand corner. However, the goal was ruled out for a foul on Westwood in the Carlisle goal.

Shuker saw a weak shot saved by Westwood after the Rovers number 23 had danced around the Carlisle left-back Aranalde whilst Paul McLaren saw his 25-yard effort go high and wide of the goal.

On 67-minutes, Gareth Taylor was finally called upon from the substitute's bench, as he replaced midfielder Jason McAteer who hadn't had his usual influence on the game.

Shuker saw another effort saved easily by Westwood, whilst Rovers had clear claims for a penalty turned down, although every player in the penalty area stopped, including the Carlisle players, after what appeared to be a hand ball by Kevin Gray.

On 85-minutes, Rovers saw Danny Harrison's goal-bound drive from just inside the area blocked, whilst the Tranmere fans, about 600 of them, knew it just wasn't going to be their day when Aranalde kicked the ball into touch and Carlisle won the throw in, despite the ball going nowhere near any Tranmere player.

The result see's Rovers drop out of the play-off or promotion places for the first time since August, as Ronnie Moore's boys slipped into eight position following the 1-0 defeat.

With Greenacre upfront on his own for the first 67-minutes, until Taylor came on, Rovers were very ineffective, and this is a problem which needs to be sorted out by boss Ronnie Moore.

Jones' Man Of The Match: Two candidates stood out for Rovers as man of the match, with Robbie Stockdale and Ian Goodison both having great games. Whilst some may feel Shuker was worthy with the ball, he was often wasteful with his crossing and shooting. Stockdale meanwhile made some great tackles and interceptions, but MOTM Ian Goodison was his steady self in defence again, making some fantastic tackles and interceptions, whilst making a couple of good forward charges in the second half too.

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