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Match Reports

TOWN 0-2 Tranmere Rovers - Town sunk by second half double

29 December 2023

Match Reports

TOWN 0-2 Tranmere Rovers - Town sunk by second half double

29 December 2023

Town's recent unbeaten run came to an end this evening as second-half goals from Charlie Jolley and Tom Davies saw Tranmere Rovers run out 2-0 winners.

The sides came into the game as two of the form sides in the division but it was Town who controlled the opening half, outshooting their opponents as well as having the lions share of possession. 

They couldn't convert their dominance into goals however and paid the price after the break when the visitors made a pair of changes that swung the balance in the visitors favour.

Simon Weaver made one change to the side that earned an injury time win against Accrington on Boxing Day, with Josh March coming into the line-up in place of Stephen Dooley. The visitors, coming in off the back of a thumping 5-1 win against Salford City, were unsurprisingly unchanged. 

It was a wet and blustery evening at The Envirovent Stadium and the conditions played their part in causing a scare for Town in the opening minutes. A deep cross from Rob Apter out on the right hung in the wind and caused hesitation in the home defence before the ball was cleared to safety.

Town responded positively though, buoyed by the confidence that three wins on the bounce brings, and March was a matter of inches from converting Matty Foulds cross after sliding in late at the far post.

With the strong wind in their favour Town were pinning the visitors back deep in their own half, but despite the territorial advantage didn't test Luke McGee in the Tranmere goal to the extent they would have liked in the opening quarter of the game.

On the half-hour mark Foulds was again in the thick of the action, this time defensively as he slid smartly to dispossess Connor Wood just inside the Town box before a solo run and shot from Matty Daly flew only a couple of feet over McGee's crossbar.

George Thomson, in such fine goalscoring form this season, tried his luck from distance five minutes before the break but despite the slick surface in his favour he dragged his effort wide of the target.

A wonderful flowing move just before the break almost saw Town take the lead. Jack Muldoon and Kayne Ramsay combined down the right-hand side with Ramsay before squaring for Daly who saw his goalbound shot blocked with Dean Cornelius blazing the rebound way over the bar.

On the stroke of half-time the visitors were forced into a change with Wood suffering an injury and he was replaced by James Norris.

Rovers made a further pair of changes at the break with Charlie Jolley and Reece McAleer replacing Harvey Saunders and Brad Walker.

The changes had an immediate effect in the sense that Town were pinned back in the early stages of the second-half for the first time in the contest, forcing a pair of corners to put the Town defence under pressure.

Kieron Morris then cracked a thunderous shot just wide of the outstretched James Belshaw to lift the away fans but moments later substitute Jolley drove low past the Town keeper to put Rovers 1-0 ahead.

March then fired over from Muldoon's knock down as Town began to search for a way back into the game that their level of play deserved. The referee then waved away penalty appeals after Muldoon went down under the challenge of Norris.

On the hour mark Simon Weaver made his first change of the evening with Sam Folarin entering the fray in place of March. 

Shortly after Liam Gibson went into the book for a late challenge on the half-way line.

Rovers extended their lead with twenty minutes remaining when, after forcing another corner in front of the travelling fans, Davies rose high above Foulds to head beyond Belshaw's left.

The goal saw another change for Town with Abraham Odoh making way for James Daly.

Apter then forced a fine save from Belshaw with the Town keeper scrambling across his goal to divert the ball behind for a corner.

McAleer then received a yellow card for hauling back Matty Daly as the Town forward was driving towards goal and McGee followed him soon after for delaying taking a free-kick.

With just over five minutes remaining a fine forward run from Ramsay saw him fire low across the box but despite being well positioned Matty Daly couldn't steer the ball on target and the crowd sensed that was probably the last chance for Town as their hopes of four consecutive wins for the first time as an EFL side were fast diminishing.

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