Tranmere Rovers secured a narrow 1-0 victory over Carlisle United, thanks to a little bit of Corey Blackett-Taylor magic just after the second half. Both sides were even with 34 wins against each other beforehand but Tranmere made it 35 to 34 on a cold November’s night at Prenton Park.
Billed as the master against the apprentice by many after Keith Hill was appointed the Rovers manager at the weekend, both having worked together at Rochdale, Hill as manager and Beech as his assistant. Hill’s appointment did not seem to please many of the Super White Army but to be fair to Hill he has had experience at gaining promotion at this level, while playing attractive football.
United came into tonight’s affair in 4th place hoping to jump into the automatic promotion spots, while Tranmere lay in 13th but in a good run of form and also looking to boost their promotion aspirations.
Rovers looked to play passing football from the start, a possible variation of tiki-taka but at league two level whereas Carlisle United looked to use their high pressing and direct style to pin Rovers back. Tranmere had the majority of possession in the opening exchanges and Otis Khan tried to take advantage of this with a snapshot on the seventh minute which was awkwardly turned over the bar by United stopper, Paul Farman.
The Cumbrians first real goalscoring opportunity came through top goalscorer Jon Mellish, he made a familiar near post run to meet a Callum Guy in-swinging corner. Mellish’s bullet header was parried away by experienced Tranmere Goalkeeper Scott Davies, who once saved a Jamie Devitt penalty at Brunton Park in the sides first meeting since Tranmere were promoted from Non-league.
A less clear cut chance fell to Rhys Bennett from yet another Cumbrians corner but his header wasn’t with enough direction or power and rolled out for a goal kick.
Former Walsall man, Kieran Morris had a shot from outside the box which was sliced wide. However, the skilful midfielder may feel he could’ve slipped in striker James Vaughan for an easier opportunity. The scores level at half-time.
The second half got underway and it was very much one-way traffic in the Super White Army’s favour and classy winger Corey Blackett-Taylor took advantage or so he thought.
Taylor who was putting United’s right-back Tanner under all sorts of pressure cut inside from the left flank and fired low at Paul Farman who seemed to let the ball go through him. Many Rovers players appealed and Farman looked sheepish himself but the linesman on the right-hand side did not seem to be up with the play, very unfortunate for the former Aston Villa youngster.
Unfortunately for the Cumbrians, the deadlock was broken later by the same man whose goal had just been unfairly turned away. Blackett-Taylor had Tanner in, a yet again uncomfortable position cut inside and this time made no mistake, curled a beauty into the right-hand corner. 1-0 to Tranmere.
United huffed and puffed away trying to get an equalizer but no clear chances were created. Mellish had a couple of shots blocked and got his feat messed up when given a chance from a Kayode flick on but still nothing really troubled Davies in the Rovers goal.
Omari Patrick a second-half substitute came very close, he drove inside from the left on the edge of the box and hit a low drive to the far post. Scott Davies, a Carlisle nemesis on many occasions beat the ball away for the corner. There would be no last gasp equalizer and Tranmere walked away with all three points.
This meant that United dropped to sixth in the table and reminds them that they won’t win them all this season, despite convincing performances of late but are still challenging and they still hang on to a playoff position. Tranmere are up to ninth and look a real threat under Keith Hill, no doubt they will be challenging at the top end of the table come to the end of the season.