Tranmere 2 Crewe 1

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 08 March 2003

Tranmere boosted their play-off hopes with a thrilling victory.

Defender Ian Sharps was the hero as he netted during an 88th minute goalmouth scramble which followed a Shane Nicholson corner.

The result was tough on Crewe for whom it was a first away defeat nine matches. “A set piece undid us in the end and certainly we were not immaculate with our defending," said Crewe manager Dario Gradi.

"I thought we deserved something from an even-steven affair but we were not quite good enough or determined enough on the day." It might have been different had leading scorer Rob Hulse accepted two gilt-edged chances.

Hulse somehow fired over from four yards in the 29th minute from Dean Ashton’s cross also missed the target inside the six-yard box when set up by Rodney Jack nine minutes after the break.

But Hulse did take his tally for the season to 26 goals with an excellent angled left foot shot that deflected in off a post following a flowing move a minute into the second half.

It cancelled out a 42nd minute goal for Tranmere by Jason Price, who found the target from close range after visiting goalkeeper Clayton Ince failed to hold on to a Simon Haworth shot.

Haworth had been unlucky in the 37th minute when a snap shot from the corner of the box hit a post before running across the face of the goal.

Iain Hume put in a fine display for the victors although he picked up a caution in the 70th minute.

Rodney Jack was always in the thick of the midfield action for Crewe, who played some terrific football but missed out at a vital stage.

Rovers manager Ray Mathias said: "I thought we just shaded the game overall. I was pleased with the performance and obviously very pleased with the result.

“It was a great time to score a crucial second goal. I can sense us keeping on winning games. We have matched the top sides in the last few days.”

Trending on the boards