Heckin(bottom) hell!

By Matthew Jones
Last updated : 18 February 2006
For the first time in 2006 Tranmere were beaten, putting an end to their 11 match unbeaten run. A solitary goal from Heckingbottom was all The Tykes needed as Rovers go three games without a win.

For some unexplainable reason, Brian Little went 4-4-2, dropping Carl Tremarco and Danny Harrison replacing them with Mark Rankine and David Raven. Ian Goodison replaced the suspended Ian Sharps.

Rovers started poorly, as seems to be the norm these days. The defenders were allowing the Barnsley attackers far too much time and space on the ball which often gave them the opportunity to turn and run at the likes of Goodison who was the main culprit for this.

Facey had the opening chance however, after a Sam Aiston shot was put out for a corner. Unfortunatly though, Facey's header was wasted and didn't hit the target.

Minutes later the Tykes took the lead. Goodison blocked a Wright shot but from the resulting corner, an unmarked Heckingbottom gave Barnsley the lead with a free-header.

Rovers had another chance from a Delroy Facey knock down but Simon Francis dragged his shot wide on his final performance for the club.

Minutes later Facey was involved again as his cross was this time headed over by Steven O'Leary, who looked lost without Danny Harrison.

The best chance of the game came with seconds left in the first half. Greenacre flicked the ball on ot Gareth Roberts who in turn passed to Facey with only the 'keeper to beat. However, Facey's shot was almost a replica of Gareth Roberts' free-kick vs. Hartlepool on Tuesday, spinning very high and very wide.

Rovers went in deservedly 1-0 down at half time. Their defending had been awful as I explained earlier and Dino Seremet was having troubles with his kicking, so much so that he got a cheer when one went straight. The midfield was none-existant and Rovers were lacking a lot of quality.

No substitutes at half time for either side at half time, and Rovers had the first chance of the second half from a corner, but Jackson's header deflected off Greenacre and over the bar.

On 56 minutes, Steven O'Leary let fly with Rovers' best effort from little over 20 yards. The ball was curling in about 3 different directions at once and 'keeper Colgan did well to parry the shot.

On 66 minutes, Brian Little made a double change. This was a huge surprise as it is usually injury time by the time a substitute is made unless the player substituted is injured.

What wasn't surprising was that Sam Aiston came off, as he had been one of, if not Rovers most dangerous player. Mark Rankine also departed as Steven Davies and Steven Jennings came on with 24 minutes to change the game.

Soon after it was Delroy Facey's turn to head wide from a Roberts free-kick before Davies' kick and terrible free-kick was saved easily by Colgan.

Another O'Leary strike went well over and wide to the despair of the Rovers fans (of which about 6,400 of the attendance were) before Colgan pulled off a save from Simon Francis. Colgan clearly hadn't read the script, as Francis was supposed to score on his final appearence for the club as a last goodbye.

On a whole it was another utterly poor performance by Rovers. The sooner we find somebody who can score goals and works for the team the better.

Chris Greenacre seems to think if he was one shot he has done his bit for the game. There is no I in TEAM Chris, you must work your socks off to earn us the points. Too many times today, he was to be found lazily walking around the mid third of the pitch as the action happened about 10 yards in front of him.

Rovers midfield today was also dissapointing, was their actually a midfield? I don't remember Rankine touching the ball whilst Simon Francis was awful out of position at right-midfield (explain why he was there Brian) and Steven O'Leary looked lost without Danny Harrison.

This performance just underlines the importance of Harrison to me. He is a battler. He may not be the best or most natural player, but he works very hard and has of late found some form. Why he was dropped is beyond me but the reason we played even worse than we have been was not.

Jones' Man Of The Match: Erm....well certainlly a hard choice as I didn't notice many men on the pitch today. Maybe Facey for winning most headers just not having anybody on the end of them, or Jackson for being pretty solid at the back? I don't know. Let's give it to Steveo for having the tactical knowledge Brian Little doesn't.

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