Tranmere 0-1 Oldham

By Matthew Jones
Last updated : 07 November 2007

Coyne plays well but Tranmere pay the price
A last minute goal from Oldham striker Craig Davies was enough to secure them a 1-0 win over local rivals Tranmere at Prenton Park last night.

Ronnie Moore made one change to the side that lost 2-0 against Nottingham Forest at the weekend, as Steven Jennings was replaced by Chris Shuker in the starting line-up, despite the winger looking anything but fully fit.

As the game got going,
Oldham
were clearly on top, as they had the best chances of the opening twenty minutes and looked hungrier than Tranmere to get the opening goal.

Taylor and Smalley each had chances early on for the Latics, as first
Taylor
shot wide of Coyne's goal from twenty yards before Smalley saw his shot deflected from a similar distance and forced Coyne into making a save.

Tranmere managed to break into the
Oldham
half on 12 minutes as Chris Greenacre was just a split second away from shooting when Stam made an important tackle, clearing the ball away from the striker after some great build up play by the Rovers front pair of Greenacre and Taylor.

The action was soon back at the Kop end however, as
Oldham
put pressure on the Tranmere goal. After one header from striker Smalley had gone horribly wide, Trotman hit the side netting with an unopposed header from a free-kick before Danny Coyne was forced into a save from McDonald's 20 yard effort, this after Greenacre had once again given the ball away in midfield.

Antony Kay had Tranmere's first clear cut chance of the game on 31-minutes, as the midfielder, pushing forward for a Rovers free-kick, headed the ball well over the bar and wide.

On 35-minutes, Tranmere had another chance however, as they began to get more involved in the game. This time, Greenacre managed to get his shot away as he cut inside the area from the right and shot low with his left-foot, forcing Beresford into a save after good build up play involving Tranmere's right-side combination of Shuker and Stockdale.

Rovers came close again on 37-minutes at Ian Goodison sent a powerful header straight at Beresford from a McLaren free-kick before on 42-minutes, they had their best chance of the game, as Greenacre ran on to a ball over the top by Stockdale down the right and unleashed a right-footed shot first time, only for Beresford to palm the ball away at his near post when the ball was heading for the top corner.

Oldham
broke quickly after a Tranmere attack soon after however, and Danny Coyne made a superb save from a Davies long range effort, as the Welsh international goalkeeper dived full stretch to his right and palmed Davies 20-yard effort on to the post and away from goal.

After the half-time whilst, Tranmere came closest to a goal yet and indeed should have taken the lead. Greenacre found Shuker before the winger crossed the ball along the six yard line where Antony Kay, sliding in after a charging run from midfield, somehow failed to connect with the ball and the chance was missed.

Oldham had a similar chance minutes later themselves, when Taylor put the ball wide of the open goal when under pressure from Stockdale after the ball had deflected to the tall striker following Coyne's good save from Eardley's shot.

Rovers came close again on 55-minutes as Gareth Taylor bravely bowed low to head a ball at the far post from Shuker's good cross but Eardley blocked his way, heading the ball away for a corner as the pair clashed heads in the process.

Oldham could and should have scored soon after though, as Danny Coyne once again pulled off a great save. With Oldham
breaking from defence, Rovers were left with a four on two situation and when Eardley eventually shot, Coyne managed to save with his legs and direct the ball away from goal.

Around about the hour mark,
Oldham
decided to set up camp in the Tranmere half of the field as the pressure on the Rovers goal started to mount.

Firstly, Coyne made a top-class save from Trotman's far post header when the
Oldham
player had been left un-marked at a corner, whilst not long after the Tranmere number one pulled off another brilliant, athletic save from a powerful Andy Liddell shot.

With 25-minutes to go and Tranmere looking to win the game, Steven Jennings replaced Antony Kay in midfield is attacking players Jones and Curran were both left on the bench for the time being.

Soon after his arrival,
Jennings was straight into the action as he got the ball in the Oldham penalty area and passed to Greenacre who hit a weak snap shot straight at Beresford. Jennings
himself also had a shot after weaving his way around a couple of tackles but his effort was blocked on its way to goal.

With 15 minutes left, Jones eventually came on as he replaced the disappointing Cooper whilst Curran came on with 5 minutes left as he replaced Shuker on the right-wing.

Oldham
were on top though and Curran barely saw the ball once he had come on. Tranmere had one further chance to get a goal as Ian Goodison somehow missed the target with a free header from close range from a Paul McLaren free-kick after Jones had been fouled on the wing.

However, it was all
Oldham
for the remaining moments after this. One shot was blasted high and wide whilst other efforts kept drifting just past the post.

After the officials had decided on five minutes of injury time due to a couple of injuries, Ian Goodison made a magnificent tackle inside his own area, sliding from behind to take the ball from Lee Hughes and denying the striker what could well have been a goal with an inch perfect challenge.

On 95-minutes however,
Oldham got the winning goal which they so badly deserved. A cross came in from the right after poor marking and there were three or four Oldham
players literally queuing up to head the ball home. Eventually, it was Davies who stooped to put the ball into the back of net leaving Coyne with no chance.

Perhaps it is ironic that the goal scorer was indeed a player called Davies, after Tranmere's own Davies (Steve), netted a 96th minute equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Yeovil earlier in the season.

In the end though, Tranmere were not good enough on the night after a pretty appalling display of football. They didn't look like they wanted the win as much as their opponents whilst a switch to route one football can only have delighted the
Oldham fans, who labelled Ronnie Moore a route one specialist in his time at Boundary Park
.

Good performances from Rovers players were few and far between whilst the tactics were wrong from the start. Rovers should have started with the in form Mike Jones but instead went for a half fit Chris Shuker and it was a move that didn't pay off.

Greenacre and Taylor were once again on a different wavelength whilst the midfield was over run as
Oldham
over powered Tranmere with better height and strength in the middle of the park.

Jones' Man Of The Match: Taylor and Goodison both put in average performances for Rovers, but the only player who was any where near his best was Danny Coyne. The Welsh goalkeeper put in his best display of the season, pulling off some terrific saves through-out the night and is undoubtedly one of, if not the best goalkeeper in League One.

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