Two in a row for stuttering Tranmere

By Matthew Jones
Last updated : 08 March 2008
Goodison injury worry for Rovers in defeat at Oldham
Two goals just before half time killed off Tranmere's chances of picking up their first win at Boundary Park this decade, although a second half striker from Mike Jones did briefly get Ronnie Moore's side back in the game.

Tranmere made two changes to the side that had lost 1-0 against Doncaster last weekend, with Ben Chorley replacing the ill Antony Kay in defence and Cavlin Zola starting upfront ahead of Chris Greenacre.

As ever, it was raining and windy in Oldham as the game kicked off and Tranmere enjoyed some good early pressure, with John Mullin having the first chance of the game as his front-post header from a Robbie Stockdale cross was palmed wide by Oldham 'keeper Mark Crossley.

Two minutes later though Oldham came closer still as Taylor hit a cross-shot goalwards, forcing Coyne to tip over the bar before the same man tested Coyne again minutes later but this time his effort was low and straight at the Tranmere 'keeper.

On 16-minutes the pressure returned to the Oldham end of the field as Myrie-Williams cut in from the right and hit a left-footed shot just wide of goal with Crossley rooted to the spot before Smalley again tested Coyne from distance but the shot was straight at the Welsh international.

Play was drifting from end to end but very few chances were created as a few niggling fouls broke up the game whilst passes often went astray.

The home side had a string of corners as the swirling wind saw balls headed and punched [by Coyne] change direction and head out of play against whilst Rovers themselves had a few corners but nothing was to come of them.

On 37-minutes though, Oldham were given their chance to take the lead. A dubious off-side was given against Calvin Zola, from which the ball was pumped forward and youngster Lewis Allesandra broke into the area. As he was running away from goal, captain Ian Goodison lunged in, making a needless tackle on the winger who having decided to stay on his feet eventually dramatically went down, earning his side a penalty.

Goodison, who earned a yellow card for his troubles, was injured making the tackle and four minutes later he was stretchered off the field.

Neal Eardley stepped up to take the spot kick and he sent Danny Coyne the wrong way, slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner as the 'keeper looked at it and handing Oldham the lead.

Following the penalty, Mike Jones came off the bench to replace the injured Goodison, with Shane Sherriff shifting to centre-back and Jennison Myrie-Williams moving to the left-wing as Jones went straight to right-midfield.

Just after his introduction, Jones made a crucial clearance from an Oldham corner as the ball went lose in the box, whilst at the other end Tranmere looked to get back in the game as Moore shot wide from twelve yards but in the next attack Oldham doubled their lead.

A poor Mullin back-pass saw Allesandra close down Coyne, but as he rushed out to clear the ball, so did Stockdale as niether player communicated with each other. Stockdale possibly was favourite to reach the ball, but Coyne came and kicked it straight against the Tranmere defender. The ball was trickling towards goal and Coyne did well to rush back and push it against the post from on the line, but Taylor was following up and he had the simple task of tapping the ball into the empty net to make it 2-0.

Rovers rallied late in the half as Jones saw his effort from just outside the area saved by Crossley near his post but the scores remained the same until half-time.

During the fifteen minute interval, the wind and rain got worse and it was really hammering it down around Boundary Park as the substitutes warmed up. Despite having a roof above their heads, the Tranmere fans were still managing to get wet, with the rain getting blown straight at the ones near the front whilst a leak in the roof also allowed water to pour down into the stand.

Ronnie Moore though appeared to have given his side a good half-time team talk, as they came out and tried to get back in the game after the interval. Indeed, the Rovers fans were helping them too, with over 1,000 of them keeping spirits high as they made plenty of noise in the away end.

Myrie-Williams hit a right-footed shot wide on 48-minutes as he cut in from the left, but couldn't connect correctly with his weak foot, whilst John Mullin had another effort in the opening five minutes of the half for Tranmere, as the midfielder burst into the box but smashed a good Ian Moore knock down well over the cross-bar.

Mark Allot twice tested Danny Coyne before the hour mark but the goalkeeper was able to save and collect both efforts whilst just after the hour mark Ronnie Moore made a double substitution, with Greenacre and Ahmed replacing Zola and Mullin.

Nine minutes after their introduction, Tranmere pulled one back as youngster Mike Jones netted, with one of the substitutes playing a major role in the goal.

Greenacre played a long ball over the top which Jones, who had made a brilliant run in to the area, collected and with his first touch, Jones slotted the ball into the same corner in which Eardley had earlier scored, beating the on-rushing Crossley and former Tranmere defender Reuben Hazell to the ball as he halved Tranmere's deficit.

The goal was Jones' first for Tranmere at senior level, and his second in senior football after he netted on loan at Shrewsbury last match during his debut. Hopefully it will be the first of many in the Tranmere colours for the young winger.

However, Tranmere were only in the game for another six minutes, as Allesandra, who had earlier won a penalty for the Latics, restored Oldham's two goal lead as he scored his first senior goal.

Tranmere decided to let Constantine run on to a pass in the area as Sherriff and Taylor both ran away from the ball, and the on-loan Leeds striker crossed across the six yard box, and taking Coyne out of the game with the pass, to Allesandra who put the ball into the once again unguarded net.

After this, the game was as good as over. Sherriff hit a free-kick on target (the only good thing he did all day) but it was comfortably saved by Crossley whilst on two occasions Myrie-Williams found himself in a threatening position on the left but firstly ran the ball out of play and then only just connected with a cross that trickled out of play.

Ben Chorley meanwhile was lucky not to get sent off for Tranmere as the defender, who had already been booked for a silly tackle ealier on in the half, clearly pulled the shirt of an Oldham player in midfield but the referee correctly waved play on (as he did so on a number of times to great effect in the game) as Oldham still had possession and were about to threaten the Tranmere goal.

The referee eventually put Tranmere out of their missery as he blew the full-time whilst after four minutes of injury time, and the fans and players from both teams were free to go and dry off, although for many Rovers fans that would be on the motorway.

Perhaps the result was a little harsh on Tranmere, who did in fact have 56% of the possession, but at the end of the day two defensive errors just before half time cost Tranmere two goals and effectively put them out of the game.

The wind and rain definately hampered Rovers' performance but this of course is the same for both teams, and Oldham simply coped better. They tested Danny Coyne more as they got more shots away whilst Rovers at times were just out-muscled off the ball in the final third, in particular the terribly uneffective Jennison Myrie-Williams, who wasted possession on a number of occasions.

Rovers were really unsettled at the back by the departure of Ian Goodison and one can only hope for Tranmere's sake that his injury isn't too serious, whilst again Ronnie Moore's side missed Jennings in midfield.

Jones' Man of the Match: It's hard to pick a man of the match from a performance like this. All the defenders made mistakes during the game following the departure of Ian Goodison whilst Sherriff in particular had a very poor game. Myrie-Williams was ineffective whilst McLaren and Mullin struggled in the centre and Jones had an indifferent performance. Ian Moore therefore was probably the man of the match, he worked his socks off upfront, running tirelessly although he had nothing to play off in attack.

Trending on the boards