Rovers hold Pirates to draw

Jennings walks the plank but Tranmere earn valuable point against the Pirates
For the second time this season, Tranmere had a man sent off away from home but managed to grab a point as they picked up an impressive 1-1 draw away to Bristol Rovers.

Ronnie Moore kept the same Tranmere side that beat Millwall last weekend, with Calvin Zola returning from injury to take a place on the bench ahead of Mike Jones.

The game started slowly with the poor pitch conditions effecting Tranmere's passing game, particularly Paul McLaren in the heart of the Tranmere midfield.

Early on, Williams had an effort blocked by Kay whilst the former Hereford player missed another good chance soon after but he wasted the opportunity created for him by Pipe.

Pipe broke down the Bristol Rovers right and made his way into the penalty area. However, he didn't look confident infront of goal and instead of shooting when he perhaps should have, he squared the ball to Williams who scuffed his shot and the danger was eventually cleared.

However, on 11 minutes Ian Moore forced Steve Phillips into an excellent save in the Bristol Rovers goal. The striker was found by Jennison Myrie-Williams on the right and he burst into the area before striking a powerful shot goalwards, with Phillips reacting brilliantly and able to stick up a strong hand and fist the ball away from goal.

Sherriff headed wide at the same end soon after before Steven Jennings tried an ambitious lob from 40-yards on 19 minutes, but the midfielders effort was well wide of the target and didn't even make it as far as the goal line.

Moore then sent a weak header from 10-yards straight at Phillips whilst at the other end Disley couldn't finish with his header.

Around the half hour mark, things started to go wrong for Tranmere in a fifteen minute spell leading up to half time which could have cost the away side their chance of winning the game.

Firstly, Jennison Myrie-Williams was booked for a ridiculous shoulder charge in the Bristol Rovers half with the youngster making no attempt to play the ball before Antony Kay lashed out at Bristol Rovers played Williams, tripping up the striker and earning a stupid yellow card for his troubles.

Coyne saved a header from Coles which was straight at the Welsh international, before Paul McLaren became the third visiting player to be booked in seven minutes as he appeared to elbow a Bristol player when jumping for a header.

On 44-minutes, things then went from bad to worse for Rovers as Steven Jennings became the fourth Tranmere player to be sent off this season, following Carl Tremarco, Ian Goodison and Shane Sherriff.

Paul McLaren appeared to be fouled near the centre circle in the build up to the sending off, but play was waved on and Chris Lines collected the ball in the Tranmere half. The Pirates number 18 advanced on goal before synically being brought down by Steven Jennings, who lunged in from behind and took both of Lines legs.

Referee Kevin Friend immediately reached for his back pocket and sent off the Tranmere midfielder although in reality the challange, despite being very silly, was probably a yellow card. However, you could see why the referee had sent Jennings off.

From the resulting free-kick, dead ball specialist Ricky Lambert curled a right-footed effort narrowly wide of goal as the sides went in level at half time.

At half-time, John Mullin replaced Jennison Myrie-Williams for Tranmere as Chris Greenacre moved to the right of midfield in a 4-4-1 formation. Since his booking, the Bristol Rovers fans had been on Myrie-Williams' back and he had looked uncertain when carrying the ball.

However, the one man disadvantage didn't seem to be effecting Tranmere and as the second half grew older, Rovers came more and more in to the game.

Chances still though were few and far between, with niggling fouls and poor passes breaking up the game and as a result any momentum and rythem the sides had built up.

The first chance fell to Sherriff on 50-minutes although the Australian's effort from inside the area was deflected straight into the waiting arms of Steve Phillips whilst five minutes later Disley headed straight at Coyne as he connected with Pipe's cross.

Most of the chances though were coming in the Tranmere half of the field, with firstly Campbell and Lambert having shots blocked by the stubborn visiting defence before the same players combined on 65 minutes as Campbell's corner was met by Lambert but the former Rochdale player headed wide.

With twenty minutes left on the clock, four subsitutions were made, as Tranmere replaced Ian Moore with Calvin Zola whilst Bristol Rovers made a triple substitution which saw the arrival of proven goalscorer Richard Walker.

Zola made an immediate effect as his strength allowed him to bring the ball down comfortably in the Bristol Rovers half before he passed out wide from where a cross came in but Sherriff couldn't hit the target with his header.

On 73-minutes, Tranmere Rovers took the lead through defender Antony Kay and Super White Army fans began to dream of a repeat result of their 1-0 victory over Millwall five weeks ago.

Rovers won a free-kick on the left and it was swung in by midfielder Paul McLaren, straight onto the head of Antony Kay who guided the ball home with a flicked header off his newly shaven head, netting his fifth goal of the season.

The lead though didn't last long as Bristol Rovers rallied and got what was a deserved equaliser through Craig Disley, a player who played with Chris Greenacre at Mansfield Town.

The Gas had already had chances to level the scores, with Lambert and Campbell missing headers in front of Danny Coyne's goal, but on 81-minutes Disley got that equaliser as he diverted a Campbell cross into the back of the net at the back post from no more than eight yards out.

After this, both teams looked to settle for a point. There were chances for either side, with Chris Greenacre having the best of them for Tranmere but his 20-yard left footed effort curled just over the bar.

1-1 then was the final score, a result with which many Tranmere fans were satisfied having not expected to pick up many, if any points from this game before kick off, let alone with ten men.

At the back, Tranmere were superb, able to cope with most that Bristol threw at them, whilst the left sided partership continues to develop as Shane Sherriff put in a strong performance on the left-wing and the ever impressive Andy Taylor put in another solid performance.

At times, Tranmere seemed to bypass their central midfielders although perhaps with the uneven pitch this was understandable, yet when he was given a chance to swing a set-piece in, McLaren still showed he is one of the best in League One from a deadball situation.

Jones' Man of the Match: For me, only one contender. Knowbody played particularly badly but Antony Kay was absolutely immense at the back for Rovers. He won every header and every tackle whilst scoring a great header and showing passion coupled with commitment for the Tranmere cause.