Third time lucky for Super Whites

By Matthew Jones
Last updated : 21 November 2005

Rovers win on third time of asking against The Iron

Tranmere Rovers travelled to Glanford Park wondering which Scunthorpe United team would turn up. The Iron, who had been strong at the start of the season, or the Aluminium, who's defence had been as flimsy as a Pukka Pie case.

It was Rovers day, as niether team turned up, and eventually the 220 Rovers fans were sent into jubilation following Delroy Facey's late striker, putting Rovers 2-1 up after Greenacre, from the Penalty spot scored Rovers first before Billy Sharp equalised.

Tranmere lined up as
4-4-2. Steven Davies, who injured his knee during Rovers' 2-1 defeat to the MK Dons last week, was replaced by a magnificent Ian Goodison, who filled in at left-back meaning on loan Simon Francis, who did eventually make his debut, only made the bench.

Neither team particularly showed up in the first half, with John Achterberg, and his opposing Number 1, Paul Musselwhite, having next to no work to do. Which was a good thing for the Rovers 'keeper, as his goal area still had patches of frost on it, whilst also having a particularly bobbly surface.

The best chances fell to Steven O'Leary (Tranmere) and Billy Sharp (
Scunthorpe) who each shot wide. Also, in a tight first half, Ian Sharps, villain in Rovers last two matches, recieved a yellow card, perhaps harshly, after 5 minutes for pulling down Cliff Byrne.

Rovers came out in the second half and immediately edged the momentum their way. A brilliant cross from Man Of The Match Delroy Facey was knocked down by Chris Greenacre to a lurking Danny Harrison.
Harrison shot from near on 20 yards out, letting go with his best shot of the season! From where I was perched, the ball looked destined for the bottom right hand corner. Only a stunning save from Musselwhite's right-hand stopped Tranmere going one up.

Eleven minutes later and Rovers had the goal they deserved. Delroy Facey, latching on to a through ball, was tripped in the penalty area by Nathan Stanton. Chris Greenacre stepped up to take the resulting penalty and netted low to Musslewhite's right, sending the 220 Rovers fans into delight.

However, Rovers once again let their opponents back in the game, for the third match in a row, with a penalty. Ian Goodison bundled down Billy Sharp on the edge of the area. Sharp stepped up and scored the resulting penalty, making it one apiece with 23 minutes left.

Now if any team looked likely to take the initiative and score another goal, it looked likely to be
Scunthorpe. Yet numerous attacks were broken down by the wall that was the Tranmere defence. Jackson, Sharps, Linwood, Goodison and in the final 15 minutes Simon Francis, were immense throughout the game, unlike recent Rovers performances. They concentrated for 90 minutes and didn't go to sleep half way through the second half, which was just what we needed.

It was eventually Rovers who grabbed the winner, from a delighted Delroy Facey, who netted for the third time in Rovers colours.
A Chris "what's a striker doing on the wing" Greenacre cross was nodded down by Danny Harrison, who too had a great game, and the rest was left to Facey. His shot nutmegged Musselwhite, who was gutted for the "I predict a diet" chant thrown his way after the goal had been scored.

Facey's goal proved many of Brian Little's fan right, in more than one way. Right for Facey to be playing and right for Little to be manager. In all, an excellent day for both Brian Little and Delroy Facey.

Gareth Roberts looked to make it 3-1 too, as Rovers pushed forward to get a third goal for only the second time this season. Roberts picked up the ball 35 yards out and took four or five strides before shooting with what again, looked destined to be a wonder goal. His shot however, was scuffed and bobbled in and out of Musslewhite's hands before he finally picked it up cleanly.


Salt was added to the wound from a
Scunthorpe point-a-view, but the day made complete for a Tranmere fan when ex-Rovers player Richard Hinds was sent off five minutes from time.  Steven Jennings had the ball just inside his own half of the field when Hinds lept in with a high and wreckless challenge on Tranmere's number 12.  Hind’s recieved a straight red card for his troubles and was jeered off the field by the travelling Tranmere fans.

It was a tense last 15 minutes, but Rovers saw it out, including the rather long four minutes of injury time. The travelling 220 were on the edge of their seats, but for once, to the delight of the Rovers faithful, Tranmere managed to close out the game.

Jones' Man Of The Match: One out right winner, Delroy Facey. He was anywhere and everywhere. He won every header, often nodding the ball on to Greenacre, which was somewhat Alien to Rovers fans before today’s game. His goal really signalled what a great game he had. At 17/2 you may not have had him as your match winner, but win the match, with a match winning performance, he did, and he must be commended for it.

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