Chesterfield 1-2 Tranmere Rovers

By Matthew Jones
Last updated : 10 November 2007
Hero Coyne helps Tranmere through
Tranmere Rovers never make things easy for themselves, as they went 1-0 down, had a man sent off and saw Danny Coyne save a penalty as they edged a close game against League Two side Chesterfield at Saltergate.

Ronnie Moore made two changes to the side that lost 1-0 against Oldham on Tuesday night, as on-loan Chris Cooper dropped to the bench and Ben Chorley didn't make the 16 at all, with Carl Tremarco and Steven Jennings replacing them in the starting XI. There was a place on the bench for Calvin Zola whilst Antony Kay moved back in to a central defensive role in a 4-4-2 formation.

With a vocal 1,153 away fans behind them, Tranmere looked to get on top and grab the first goal in a match which both sides were desperate to win.

However, the opening 25 minutes was a boring and dismal first 25-minutes that Tranmere have shown so far this season.

Hindered by very windy conditions as well as on and off rain, niether side was able to break down the oppositions defence early on and chances were few and far between.

Indeed, a whistle happy referee seemed only too happy to stop any attack that either team started to mount by giving free-kicks in any direction he could, with both Paul McLaren and Shane Sherriff being harshly booked in the opening 31 minutes.

The closest either side came to a goal was when Chris Shuker made a bursting run down the right and after entering the area, the winger appeared to be body-checked by the Chesterfield defender. However, for once play continued and the dead lock remained unbroken.

However, on 29-minutes, with the first shot of the game, The Spireites took the lead through leading scorer Jack Lester, netting his 15th goal of the season, and increadible record considering he has only played 17 games.

A long throw in on the Tranmere right was missed in the air by Ian Goodison. Antony Kay then failed to close down Lester, who was allowed to turn with his first touch and as the ball sat up nicely for him, the striker flicked the ball into the far corner, an inch perfect finish, leaving 'keeper Coyne with no chance.

Tranmere's response was immediate however, as they won a penalty on 35 minutes. After intercepting a pass, Shane Sherriff set off on a long run towards the penalty area.

From the left hand side, Sherriff sent in a deep, looping cross which was headed away from goal by the Chesterfield defender. Gareth Taylor followed the ball, and after the striker had judged the ball wouldn't go out for a corner, he pulled it back to Robbie Stockdale who had drifted forward for right-back.

Stockdale played the ball in field to Shuker who, with back to goal, turned on the ball and after accelerating past one tackle, the winger was tripped as he came in to the penalty area by Spireite defender Aaron Downes, who ironically scored an own goal when the teams last met at Saltergate.

The referee correctly awarded a penalty and after a long wait, Chris Greenacre stepped up to take the spot kick and hit the back of the net, as he shot to his left, sending the 'keeper the wrong way and with the ball crossing the goal line with the help of the post.

The goal though must have come as a relief to the Tranmere number 10. It is his fifth of the season, but his first since a goal in a 1-1 draw against Cheltenham Town on September 22nd.

After netting the penalty, Greenacre left the field for some lengthy treatment off Les Parry on a head injury and movement on the bench looked as if Greenacre could shortly be substituted but he managed to return to the action a couple of minutes later.

There was little else action in the remainder of the first half. The game was tight and much of the match was being played in midfield, with only a handful of attacks coming from either side. Chesterfield forced a couple of corners, but both were over hit and any danger quickly passed.

The second half however was a lot more open and each side had a number of chances to get the next goal and take a 2-1 lead.

After just two minutes of the second half Rovers had the first chance of the half, as Taylor headed the ball down to Greenacre who after taking a touch turned and fired the ball narrowly over the bar.

This was to set the tempo for the rest of the half as the home side hit back with a chance of their own. Rovers once again failed to clear a long throw and the ball bounced up to Steve Fletcher who headed towards goal. The ball looked destined to hit the back of the net, only for a desperate dive and increadible finger tip save by Coyne keeping the ball out of the net, with Robbie Stockdale then hoofing the loose ball clear.

Shuker could have scored for Tranmere soon after as the winger hit a left-footed shot over the bar from just outside the area on 55 minutes after Taylor had flicked Greenacre's cross on to the winger, whilst at the other end Adam Rooney, on-loan at Chesterfield from Stoke, hit the side netting from inside the area whilst Coyne comfortably saved a Robertson 30-yard free-kick.

Shuker had another chance soon after as the winger sliced a shot well wide of Roche's left-hand post following more good work on the wing from Greenacre before Fletcher shot well over Coyne's cross-bar.

Chesterfield had another superb chance to re-take the lead on 68-minutes, as Jack Lester, near the corner of the 18-yard box on the Chesterfield left, turned on the ball and having taken two men out of the game with the turn, curled a right-footed shot towards goal, and with Coyne scrambling across his line the ball drifted just wide of the top left hand corner.

With 13-minutes of the game remaining, Ronnie Moore made a double substitution for Tranmere, as Chris Greenacre and Gareth Taylor were replaced upfront by duo Calvin Zola and Craig Curran as Moore pushed for a winner as opposed to a replay at Prenton Park in a couple of weeks.

On 84-minutes, Tranmere won a corner as Craig Curran pestered the Chesterfield defender who eventually put the ball out for a corner.

Paul McLaren took the set-piece and hit the ball perfectly towards the back post where it fell to the feet of Antony Kay who swung and vollied the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal from 16-yards, sending the Tranmere fans delerious, with the goal coming in front of the terrace swarming with Tranmere fans.

However, the game was to take a final twist as Tranmere looked to have finally got a hold on the game.

Not content with his days work, the referee bemusingly awarded Chesterfield a penalty in the 87th minute as Chesterfield threw players forward in search of a goal. Despite protests from all of the Tranmere players, the referee stood by his decision, although it is still not quite apparent what it was for, whilst Craig Curran was booked for his part in the protests.

With the protests over, Jack Lester stepped forward to take the spot kick, the second of the game. The in form striker ran forward and shot towards the left-hand corner as he looked at it. However, Danny Coyne once again made another fabulous save, diving low to his right to palm the ball to safety and keep Tranmere ahead.

The game was not over for Chesterfield yet though. They continued to push forward and had a number of shots on goal. However, their shooting was way off target, with three or four shots, all from around the edge of the area, all being sprayed high and wide of Coyne's goal.

As the game moved into injury time, Chesterfield's chance of earning a draw were enhanced as Craig Curran was sent off for a terrible tackle in the centre circle, the young striker lunging in on the Chesterfield player in possession of the ball and recieving a second yellow card for his troubles, meaning he will miss Rovers' trip to Doncaster next weekend.

However, Tranmere held on to the win, a result which delighted their travelling army of fans and puts them in the hat for the second round draw which takes place tomorrow where they will be hoping for as easier a passage to the third round as possible.

Ronnie Moore's side probably just about deserved the win in what was a scrappy game and showed good character as they came from behind to beat a tough Chesterfield side. However, it is a result they will need to build on as the Rover Roadshow moves to the Keepmoat Stadium next weekend.

Jones' Man Of The Match: Despite his heroics in goal with one terrific one handed save to go with his penalty save, I felt there was on better player on the field in the shape of Steven Jennings. The midfielder returned to the form he had shown for Rovers in August and September, as he appeared everywhere and anywhere on the pitch, winning many tackles and getting through a lot of dirty work for Tranmere in front of the back four.

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