Stevenage v Tranmere – match report.
Saturday 16th January 2021
English Football League Two
Tranmere’s woes continue as they fail to score, on the road, against relegation threatened Stevenage. Heading into this game, the Whites had beaten Leicester City’s U21s in the Papa Johns Trophy thus there was a sense of attacking progression. However, all optimism blew with a frustrating performance where the defence remained solid but the midfield and attack failed to connect. Worrying signs for Hill’s Rovers who have failed to win in any of their past four games against senior opposition.
The opening stages of the encounter saw a few misplaced passes and a few successful one’s where the receiver would be in an offside position.
However, the greatest goal opportunities came from set pieces that resulted in frustration. Otis Khan’s free kick landed perfectly for Monthe but he would misjudge the flight off the ball before the winger’s cross was flicked on by Paul Lewis before Calum MacDonald’s shot went over the bar. For the hosts, Arthur Read’s corner was headed over by Peter Clarke before a foul was awarded.
The frustrating misplaced passes continued into the later stages of the first half, defensive midfielder Jay Spearing looking to find Morgan Ferrier on the left. Again, this pass was just over hit.
Alex Revell’s team came closest to opening the scoreline when forward Luke Norris had a shot from distance, this effort took a deflection and Scott Davies did well to keep it in. Boro continued to apply pressure onto Davies when Norris rose highest at the back post but Davies caught the 27-year-old’s header.
The visitors came closest to opening the scoreline when Ferrier’s cross deflected wildly, catching the keeper by surprise before hitting the front post.
The remaining moments of the half saw a succession of dangerous crosses which failed to put either shot-stopper in great worry. However, there was certainly one heart in mouth moment. Centre-half Manny Monthe has been slated recently for his poor distribution, this time round, Davies did exceptionally well to get to the defender’s short back pass before Lewis met the clearance and forced a free kick before the referee blew for the break.
There were no changes made at half time although the Tranmere manager probably regretted this as after an opening ten minutes dominated by the hosts, Kaiyne Woolery was replaced by Liam Feeney.
This substitution saw a start, as the visitors seemingly grew into their hopeful playing style of attack. Vaughan would turn in the box and have a shot but the hosts’ goalkeeper would save this effort with his legs. Midfielder Ollie Banks would soon head Feeney’s corner on target but this was collected by the active keeper.
The first punishment of the league encounter came when Spearing was booked for dragging down Read.
A promising counter attack was made when Ferrier laid the ball off to Vaughan, the veteran talisman placed an effort goal bound but this shot was blocked. At the other end, Mathew Stevens flashed a shot across the goal but the ball would fire inches past the far post.
As the pace of time grew stronger, there was an added pressure as Tranmere needed a goal in a game which many predicted them to win in. In an attempt to reduce this pressure, Danny Lloyd and Corey Blackett-Taylor replaced Banks and Ferrier in quick succession.
However, these changes would frustratingly fail to impress. CBT aimed to find space down the left but the young forward’s touch was too heavy and the defence managed to clear before Davies saved low at his near post to deny Stevens.
In the dying moments there was a penalty claim, the forward who had recently had a shot on Davies’ net went down ‘easily’ in the box and the officials waved play on. This deemed dive caused frustration amongst the Tranmere players and they made their emotions clear.
Stevenage 0 Tranmere Rovers 0
Possession – 45%/55%
Shots – 17/9
Shots on target – 2/3
Corners – 7/3
Fouls – 13/15
Stevenage – Cumming, Wildin, Vancooten, Cuthbert, Coker, Carter, Lines, Read, Marsh, List, Norris.
Used subs: Smith 78’, Aitchinson 78’, Stevens 45’, Newton 78’
Unused subs: Prosser, Johnson, Pett
Tranmere – Davies, Khan, Clarke, Monthe, MacDonald, Banks, Spearing, Lewis, Woolery, Vaughan, Ferrier
Used subs: Lloyd 69’, Feeney 56’, Blackett-Taylor 78’
Unused subs: Morris, Murphy, Ray, Hayde
Referee – Lee Swabey
Assistants – Paul Kelly and Ryan Whitaker
Fourth official – Martyn Holmes
Thank you very much for reading,