Tranmere Rovers were last night bundled out of the F.A. Cup after an undeserved 1-0 defeat at
Ronnie Moore made two changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Bristol Rovers on Friday, as Calvin Zola and Shane Sherriff returned to the starting XI as replacements for the injured Chris Greenacre and winger Mike Jones, with Jennison Myrie-Williams switching to the right-wing.
The Rovers team started like they wanted to get this game won as quickly as possible, with Gareth Taylor registering the first shot within the first minute as he hit Jennison Myrie-Williams' cross wide with his first touch.
Two minutes later, Calvin Zola turned past two men before firing over whilst on nine minutes they came closer still as Myrie-Williams hit the bar. The winger, cutting inside from the right on to his favoured left-foot, hit a terrific, powerful, curling shot from 20-yards which bounced back off the top of the bar, leaving Wayne Brown helpless and thankful in goal.
The cross-bar was still shaking from Myrie-Williams' effort some moments later as Tranmere continued to press forward and won a couple of corners, but they couldn't turn the pressure into chances.
Rovers' next effort came on 23-minutes as Gareth Taylor's shot from marginally outside the box deflected out for a corner before
On 25-minutes Myrie-Williams continued to threaten as he hit another shot narrowly wide whilst Calvin Zola was only just second to a lose ball in the penalty area on 31-minutes, as Wayne Brown slid in and took the ball just as Zola reached it.
On 36-minutes, the pace of Theo Robinson saw him running on to a ball over the top which he had no right to win, and fortunately the alert Danny Coyne reacted quickly to come off his line and smash the ball clear from just outside his area with Robinson in close attendance whilst on 42-minutes Wayne Brown was forced in to another save by the constant threat of Myrie-Williams who hit a low shot straight at the 'keeper from outside the area.
The half time whistle came and Tranmere had quite comfortably been on top, having the best and the majority of the chances. However, fans who had travelled to Luton and Leyton Orient feared the game could come out the same way as those two games, where Rovers had had the pressure and chances but not bad them count and gone on to lose.
Four minutes later the action was back down the other end though as Myrie-Williams' powerful effort was saved by Brown before the 'keeper made another save but this time from a weak Steven Jennings effort from 20-yards.
After a Paul McLaren cross had been cleared for a corner, Gareth Taylor headed wide before striker Calvin Zola almost scored what would have been a great goal. Andy Taylor's cross was headed into the path of the striker by Gareth Taylor, and whilst on the turn, Zola powerful held off and rolled round his man, but struck the ball with his first touch just wide of the goal.
Three minutes later Paul McLaren shot over after Zola's lay off before the Tranmere number eight really should have opened the scoring on 67-minutes.
Robbie Stockdale had the ball on the Tranmere right and he sent a great cross towards the back post, where Calvin Zola, from at the most six yards out, somehow managed to send his header straight into the ground and it bounced up and over the bar.
Just a few moments later, the outstanding Zola came close again, as the striker showed brilliant strength to hold off his man before hitting a searing, curling effort with his left foot towards goal. Brown had no chance and just watched as the ball unluckily hit the underside of the cross bar and bounced clear of goal.
A few strong tackles in the Tranmere half eventually saw the ball fall to
Johnson got to the edge of the Tranmere area before hitting a shot on his weak, left foot into the bottom corner, with the ball going across Coyne who had no chance.
Although Tranmere heads did not drop, the goal seemed to sap some life out of the Rovers team, and chances were now falling more evenly to either side.
An acrobatic Trevor Benjamin over-head kick from near the touch-line and from a very narrow angle was only just cleared away from goal by Ben Chorley whilst Calvin Zola hit another effort wide for Tranmere.
On 76-minutes, Ronnie Moore made one of his confusing substitutions, as striker Craig Curran replaced winger Shane Sherriff and went straight to the right-wing, meaning Jennison Myrie-Williams was switched to the left-wing.
This was particularly baffling, not only because Curran is so effective down the middle, but also because Myrie-Williams had been having an outstanding game on the right, cutting in so effectively and hitting two or three terrific shots and crosses. The move to the left also seemed to nullify his effect on the game.
Not long after the substitution, Tranmere attacked and the ball was played back to Antony Kay who shot well wide of goal from 30-yards with his low drive before on 79-minutes Trevor Benjamin hit the post with a glancing header, as Rovers again struggled to firstly cope with Benjamin's height and then secondly clear the ball.
On 82-minute, John Mullin returned to the side after a 6 week absense, replacing the hard-working Steven Jennings in midfield, a substitution which was not to the Tranmere fans favour, especially as threatening winger, who had so much success against Hereford at Prenton Park, watched on from the subs bench.
A minute later, Zola came close again as Brown was forced in to a save but Tranmere simply couldn't make the pressure they had count.
In the final minute, Rovers had a corner which saw 10 Tranmere men packed inside the box, including Danny Coyne, with only Ben Chorley lingering just outside the penalty area.
However, McLaren's set piece failed to beat the first man and the ball broke to Theo Robinson, who raced towards the Tranmere goal. He shot from just outside the Rovers half, but with pressure applied on him from the Tranmere defender, he shot well wide.
In the end though, it was same old same old from Tranmere, as like many matches that have already gone this season, they failed to make their chances count and lost the match. However, the penalty for losing this time round is being knocked out of the F.A. Cup when before only League points had been dropped.
If Rovers are to progress any further this year, they must find somebody who is going to score goals on a regular basis. For whatever reason, Greenacre hasn't been doing that this season, most likely down to the lack of supply from the wings with Davies and Shuker out injured.
However, chances came thick and fast tonight, with Tranmere having 22 shots to
Jones' Man of the Match: If Jennison Myrie-Williams hadn't been crazily switched to the left-wing when he was having so much effect on the right with 14-minutes left, he may have won the award. However, as it is Calvin Zola was amazing for Tranmere up front. All the big man did was score, as he showed great strength and never stopped running, creating a number of chances for himself and his fellow players, smashing the cross bar with one of them. If he can become a regular scorer, then he will be a very good player.