Tranmere Rovers v Forest Green Rovers
English Football League Two
Tuesday 19th January 2021
On Tuesday night, Tranmere got back to winning ways against a fellow promotion candidate in the shape of Forest Green Rovers. This meant that Peter Clarke’s 800th professional game could be celebrated properly. Going into this fixture, many thought that the Whites had no chance as the visitors were in great form and the hosts had failed to win in their past four senior games. Thus, the performance was a shock as it was one that brought a relatively comfortable victory regardless of the worrying ending.
The team selected by Keith Hill was, in my opinion, great. There were two changes, from the team that had drawn against relegation threatened Stevenage. Liam Feeney replaced Morgan Ferrier and Danny Lloyd replaced Ollie Banks, as the latter had departed on a permanent basis to Barrow.
Otis Khan, due to a lack of options, has recently been converted to a right-back. His defensive and attacking qualities have shone from this position and in the early stages he crossed the ball perfectly into the direction of James Vaughan. The striker was placed just inside the box but he was unfortunately a tad offside.
The visitors’ first shot was fired by former Tranmere striker Aaron Collins, he was able to find the space to run past veteran centre-half Peter Clarke before his shot was saved by Scott Davies.
Rovers immediately had the ball at the other end and this bit of play would result in the opening goal, Liam Feeney put in an exciting cross which the Forest Green keeper flapped at and midfielder Paul Lewis was there to stroke it into the back of the net.
This could’ve been doubled in a short space of time. Khan again crossed the ball in the direction of Vaughan, the striker was free inside the box but the keeper was able to deny his effort with the usage of his legs.
There was a break in play as Kaiyne Woolery had clashed heads with a visiting player, play would soon continue and whilst the forward was off the pitch Vaughan battled to win a loose ball and would lay it off to Lewis. The inevitable shot was unfortunately deflected wide, Woolery had fortunately re-entered the pitch.
The hosts would continue to grow and to impress in the remaining stages of the opening half, in truth the whistle blew in a time that was to the visitors relief. There were a number of crosses for Tranmere, all were delivered well. However the closest effort came from Lewis, again, who rose highest at the back post. The keeper was able to hold onto the ball comfortably.
The first half had finished at a perfect time for Forest Green. However, it wouldn’t take long for the visitors to be on the back front in the second. Feeney had got the half up and running, shortly afterwards the team went into a beautiful stage of one touch football before MacDonald put the ball on a place for Vaughan. The striker just had to tap the ball goalbound, he did and Rovers doubled their scoreline.
The goal deficit could’ve been reduced quickly, if Jamille Matt’s touch from Nicky Cadden’s cross landed an inch lower. Fortunately, it didn’t and the scoreline remained the same as the goalbound effort struck the crossbar.
Scotty Davies produced a number of top quality saves, thus he was my man of the match. The ball was squared six yards out and the hosts’ captain spread himself to deny the shot.
The play was relatively even, both teams having slight chances, before the goal deficit was unfortunately reduced for Mark Cooper’s side. Midfielder Elliott Whitehouse steered the ball past Davies halfway through the half.
In some need of extra pace to take the ball away from the defensive line, Hill made his first changes of the night. Kaiyne Woolery and Danny Lloyd were replaced by Morgan Ferrier and Kieron Morris.
These substitutions worked as a few minutes later Feeney added another for Tranmere. Ferrier got in behind the back line, his cross was cleared before the winger hammered it home from 20 yards. An unstoppable strike.
Hill’s last change of the night saw Vaughan being replaced by Stefan Payne, prior to busy final moments.
There were five additional minutes shown on the fourth official board, Scott Wagstaff added a deemed consolation halfway through this time and what followed was a continuation of Forest Green’s attacks. Scott Davies made a number of vital saves but the biggest scare came when the ball was on the line, only to be miss kicked by an oncoming forward. Rovers were able to hold on to their lead.
A performance of great quality and togetherness. In this picture, you can see three players celebrating Feeney’s goal with him. One of these players is Peter Clarke who, on his 800th senior game, showed his qualities very well. This picture has been taken from the club’s social media.
Tranmere Rovers 3 Forest Green 2
Tranmere – Davies, Khan, Clarke, Monthe, MacDonald, Lewis, Spearing, Lloyd, Feeney, Vaughan, Woolery.
Subs made: Morris, Ferrier, Payne.
Forest Green – McGee, Richardson, Godwin-Malife, Moore-Tayler, Cargill, Hutchinson, Cadden, Sweeney, Adams, Bailey, Collins.
Subs made: Matt, Young, Whitehouse, Wagstaff.
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Thank you very much for reading,