Terrible Tranmere defeated once again

Tranmere Rovers are now four games without a win and perhaps more importantly three without a goal after coming away from Boundary Park with a 1-0 defeat.

With Mike Jackson suspended, Ian Sharps thankfully returned to the starting 11, as did Paul Linwood who replaced Simon Francis (returned to Sheffield United) and Sam Aiston was replaced by Danny Harrison because Aiston is far too attacking as Rovers played a 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 formation.

Calvin Zola returned to the bench after his suspension and was joined by Aiston, McAteer,
Wilson and Jennings.

Steven Davies and Carl Tremarco for some absurd reason travelled to the game with the team but sat in the stand with the Rovers fans when ideally they should at least be in the first 16 if not starting.

Rovers started lethargically and
Oldham were always the first to every loose ball unless Mark Rankine was making the tackle. 

The Latics were putting pressure on the Rovers defence and recording all the early efforts on goal; Butler, Wellens and Beckett (twice) having a crack but none of the effort were on target and Dino Seremet was untested (not Nino Seremet as the program said!).

Rovers first real effort came from a Gareth Roberts corner but none of Rovers defensive trio, Sharps, Goodison and Linwood, could direct the ball towards the goal although they all came into contact with it.

Mark Rankine had Rovers best effort of the game on 27-minutes with a brilliant right-footed drive from 25 yards after some link up play with Delroy Facey and Steven O'Leary, but Rankine saw his shot pushed over by 'keeper Lee Grant.

Three minutes later
Oldham took a deserved but freakish lead from a Wellens free kick out on the left wing.  The former Blackpool midfielder curled a cross in from the left but it was missed by everybody and the flat footed Seremet could only watch it hit the back of the net, he had no chance after it had come through a forest of legs and been missed by every Rovers defender.

Seconds later after the restart Wellens almost made it 2-0 with a brilliant chip from 50-yards out which hit the bar after he had spotted Seremet off his line.  Seremet gathered the re-bound before Beckett could control and thankfully the danger passed.

Oldham had two more chances before half time.  Sharps firstly almost knocked the ball into his own net but to his relief it landed on top of the goal and then Ritchie Wellens caused more trouble, running through the Rovers defence like a knife through butter before shooting at Seremet who saved.

Quite why Brian Little made no half time substitutes is another one of his quite astounding decisions.  Rovers were all over the place in defence and midfield whilst Greenacre and Facey were on a completely different wavelength.

Little had the option of bringing on fit again Jason McAteer who would have at least provided some creativity, if not a lot, whilst he could have changed the front two round by bringing on Calvin Zola but he preferred to watch his team suffer until the 56th minute before he showed any willingness to score a goal.

Before the substitute was made, Tranmere had one or two chances.  Paul Linwood headed wide whilst Greenacre's shot from six yards was  too weak to really trouble Grant.

Finally on 56 minutes Brian Little showed some tactical awareness of "How To Try And Score A Goal" by bringing on Calvin Zola (56 minutes too late in my opinion) for Steven O'Leary who had again been poor in midfield.  The formation therefore changed from
3-5-2 (or 5-3-2) to 3-4-3!

Rankine had Rovers next, and last chance of the game, attaching on to a flick on from Calvin Zola, with a shot which went just wide of Grants goal from 25-yards.

However, Mark Rankine was obviously shooting too close to goal for Rovers and providing too much of an attacking threat for Brian Little's liking so he was substituted for Jason McAteer.  Yes Jase needed to come on but Mark Rankine was our biggest threat Brian, replace him with somebody who did nothing all game (notably Greenacre and Harrison or even a defender such as Roberts, Raven or Linwood).

Facey had Rovers last effort of the game and the last real effort by any of the two sides with a shot which was blocked by Haining with five minutes remaining.

The final whistle blew and as expected before kick-off by many of the travelling fans, Rovers had failed to win and again failed to score whilst
Oldham had stretched their winning streak to three games in a row and four without conceding.

It is slightly worrying from a Tranmere fan's perspective to think that the most threatening player was a 37-year old midfielder who has only scored around 20 goals in his career in which he has played over 700 games.

The attack must be better as must the tactics whilst the reasons behind Steve Davies and Carl Tremarco not even being in the 16 man team must be told as they have been two of our best players this year whilst I feel Carl Tremarco has been our player of the month.

Man Of The Match:  Out of the 13 players who crossed the white line yesterday for Rovers I find only three are contenders.  Midfielder Mark Rankine went after every ball and was the sides biggest threat whilst at the back Ian Goodison and Ian Sharps, captain for the day, were solid, especially in the second half when the two were like rocks.

After much thought I have decided Sharps should be crowned my MOTM for yesterday game.  I just feel he won every tackle and went after every ball in defence whilst being mainly solid throughout the first half and a rock in the second.  Keep it up both Ian's and Rankine; our team needs commitment like yours at this moment in time.

Now to stray from the game I am going to have a look at what happened between our travelling 438 fans during the second half.

To highlight the fans, they were fighting amongst themselves.  There were three sets of fans.  The ones who wanted Little sacked but were supporting the team, the ones who wanted Little sacked and were using threatening behaviour to get others to want him sacked and the one's who still wanted Little as manager.

Two of those groups were behaving just as they should do and were getting behind the lads, supporting them and most importantly chanting chants such as "Tranmere, Tranmere, Tranmere" and "Super White Army", just as is needed to get the boys going.

However, the other group were behaving in such as way as about 10-20 of them got ejected from the ground (maybe one or two wrongfully but most deserved the treatment they got). 

They were picking on one of our fans in particular and bullying others to try and get them to hate Brian Little.  "Little Out" chants were regulars and abusive language and threatening behaviour was used towards the stewards.

Chants such as "If you all hate Stewards clap your hands" were regulars during the second half, as were "W*n*a, W*n*a" towards the Stewards.  For a period of about two minutes they were banging on the seats for no reason (what good is that going to do?) and they weren't even watching the game.  Just trying to be "cool" by showing no respect for anybody.

As much as I think these boys (as that is what most of them were) are Tranmere fans as they travel to every game, that kind of behaviour is not acceptable at Tranmere Rovers football matches and you were an embarrassment to the team, the club and most importantly those fans who travelled and behaved well yesterday.