Port Vale 2-3 Tranmere Rovers

By Matthew Jones
Last updated : 17 March 2007
Ellison the hero for Tranmere in 3-2 win
An increadible afternoon on Stoke-On-Trent finally saw Tranmere Rovers come away with the three points after Kevin Ellison's late header won Tranmere the match.

Ronnie Moore surprisingly stuck with the same side which was defeated 2-0 by Swansea seven days earlier despite youth team players Paul Henry, Craig Curran and Paul Henry all travelling to the game.

It didn't take Tranmere long to break into their stride as they found the back of the net to take the lead with just 2:36 minutes on the clock.

Chris Shuker collected the ball on the right-hand side and broke down the wing before floating a cross into the box which was met by Chris Greenacre at the near post who headed the ball past Anyon into the bottom corner.

A minute later Greenacre could have had a second as Chris Greenacre hit the post after good work from left-winger Kevin Ellison.

The former Chester player collected the player on the left and drifted in field before smashing a shot towards goal from 25-yards. The shot bounced off Anyon and fell to Greenacre who rounded the 'keeper before hitting the post with the angle getting ever tighter. However, the flag was waving for offside to save Greenacre's blushes.

On nine-minutes Shane Sherriff saw his volley blocked by Anyon from McLaren's corner whilst the home side finally got involved on 16-minutes as Gavin Ward made a magnificent save from Leon Constantine's near post flick-on, Ward pushing the ball away from goal and out for a corner.

Ward was called into action again minutes later as he just caught a header from Constantine underneath his cross-bar when the Vale striker appeared to be climbing on Chris McCready's back.

Kamara shot at Ward soon after whilst the action returned to the other half of the field moments later as Gareth Taylor's header bounced on top of the cross-bar twice from Robbie Stockdale's cross after great work from Shuker.

Constantine shot well over on 27-minutes in to the travelling Tranmere fans but at the other end of the field things got better for Tranmere as Chris Shuker won Rovers a penalty minutes later when brought down by Drew Talbot.

Chris Greenacre stepped up to take his first and Tranmere's third penalty of the season and calmly netted past Anyon on 35-minutes, blasting the ball into the centre of the net to score his 18th of the season, equalling the tally he ammounted under Brian Little last term.

However, the Tranmere fans were still celebrating when Vale clawed one back through Sonner on 36-minutes. The long haired Port Vale midfielder shot from outside the box and the ball took a wicked and crucial deflection leaving Ward with no chance as it hit the back of the net and left Tranmere fans with memories of Bristol City, Huddersfield and Gillingham matches earlier this season.

Martin Foyle's side now appeared stunned in to action as they searched for a second before half time and there were a few nervous moments in the remaining nine minutes, none more so than Sonner's second effort of the half which went narrowly wide of Gavin Ward's right-hand post.

However, the score remained 2-1 at half-time with Ronnie Moore hoping to prevent his side from slipping to similar results as those mentioned before.

Vale started the second half much the better though, with Robbie Stockdale making a crucial tackle on 53-minutes to prevent Constantine going through one-on-one with Ward whilst on 61-minutes the Tranmere 'keeper was called into action from Sonner's superb scissor-kick (almost Ian Goodison"esque") which was heading for the corner before Ward palmed the shot wide.

Tranmere had their first real chance of the half on 66-minutes after John Mullin won a free-kick just outside the area but Shuker sent the set piece into the top of the wall with Rovers un-able to make use of a number of second-half corners aswell.

On 73-minutes, Port Vale's pressure finally paid off as what Rovers' fans had been half expecting happened through a Leon Constantine equaliser.

A deflection off Sodje appeared to hold up in the wind on it's way towards Gavin Ward's penalty area and the goalkeeper hesititated before attempting to clear the ball.

Sodje recieved the ball and passed to Constantine who easily netted past Goodison on the line and the back-peddling Ward to level the scores.

Tranmere now pushed forward looking for a winner but again failed to make some set-pieces count whilst the travelling Rovers fans bemoaned Gavin Ward and questioned why Ronnie Moore hadn't made a substitute with Steve Davies and Calvin Zola on the bench.

However, on 83-minutes Tranmere took control of the game again through Kevin Ellison, meaning the match was only actually level for about 13 minutes.

Paul McLaren collected the ball in the centre of the Vale half and passed the ball out to Robbie Stockdale. The inform right-back found Shuker with his pass who floated in another fantastic cross towards the box where Kevin Ellison rose to flick the ball into the top corner from near the penalty spot.

Despite pressure for the remaining seven minutes of normal time plus three minutes of injury time, Tranmere claimed the points and a fantastic fifth away of the season.

Ronnie Moore can be nothing but delighted with the win after such a poor performance against Swansea last weekend. Perhaps one month ago Tranmere would have bottled the match at 2-2 when today they held on to win.

To find the last time when Tranmere won away from home despite conceeding two goals, you have to go back to the final day of the 2002/03 season when Rovers defeated Stockport County 3-2 (3 May 2003) with goals from Nicholson, Haworth and Jones.

Jones' Man Of The Match: Despite excellent performances from the likes of Stockdale, Shuker and Greenacre, one man in Kevin Ellison stood out today. Ellison has continued to get better over the last few months for me and certainlly over the last three games and was well worth his goal today for the effort he put in along with some good crosses and wing play.

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