Tranmere Rovers v Stevenage – match report.

Tranmere Rovers 0 Stevenage 1
Tuesday 9th February 2021
@PrentonPark
English Football League Two

Tranmere’s winning streak has frustratingly come to an end, with a defeat against Alex Revell’s Stevenage at Prenton Park this Tuesday night. Going into the game, both sets of fans were optimistic due to a great run of form for the hosts and a positive draw against high flying Morecambe for the visitors. In the match preview, I stated that the performance quality from both outfits should be better than the one seen in the return fixture .. I got that one wrong.

The team selected by Keith Hill wasn’t too dissimilar from the one that has strived through his side’s amazing run of form. However, many were gutted to see that midfielder Liam Feeney had been dropped due to a late discovered injury and would be replaced by new signing Ali Crawford. Crawford was relatively absent throughout the course of the ninety minutes, as was everyone else really. It was evident as the league fixture grew into the later stages that Feeney was a great miss, it’ll be vital for Rovers to get him back as soon as possible.

The game could’ve panned out so differently, from the off. In the opening five minutes, I believe that the linesman failed to pick up on the ball crossing the visitors goalline. Crawford could’ve got his first Tranmere goal, on his debut, as his corner failed to meet the head of anyone but a Stevenage defender who looked to be over the line. If the keeper did catch it the referee may have been confused, as moments later David Stockdale was asked to change his kit to a different colour.

Stockdale was soon brought into action as he was forced into making a good save, from a low driven shot from Danny Lloyd just after the ten minute mark. Rovers were on top in this early period of play, Jay Spearing crossed to Crawford at the back post and he saw his volley saved.

The game soon became scrappy, little was made of the final stages of the first half as it became evident that a header from a good cross was the way that the game was going to be won .. or from another kind of scrappy goal. Veteran defender Peter Clarke rose highest at the back post to head away a visiting corner and Otis Khan’s cross from the right was met only by Boro’s 35-year-old shot stopper.

Revell’s men, who made two enforced changes during the first 45, started the second half off on the front foot. Youngster Jack Aitchinson flashed a ball across the six yard box but nobody was there to meet it.

In truth, Tranmere had started the half off in the same way that they had finished the first and that wasn’t good enough for a team who wanted the full match prize of three points. To try and alter this, Keith Hill made three changes. Kieron Morris, Charlie Jolley and Nya Kirby came on for debutant Crawford, Danny Lloyd and Kaiyne Woolery.

Similar to the opening five minutes, in my opinion the linesman missed a clear goal and this sparked debate of whether it is worth applying goal line technology to fixtures at this level. Defender Luke Prosser headed the ball off the bar and very arguably over the line, halfway through the second half.

In probably the most exciting moment of the game, the ball was cleared over the main stand. Following this, a few crosses failed to find the correct men for both sides and a few even failed to get into the correct areas.

Charlie Jolley, in an attempt to score on his debut found space in behind the Boro defence before seeing his shot get blocked.

To top off a frustrating night for the Whites, Danny Newton swivelled away from the Tranmere defence despite being put under a great level of pressure by Manny Monthe before firing brilliantly into the top corner from just outside the box. A great hit but one in which, if you are being picky, you probably expect the keeper to save.

This goal fired Revell’s men to a much needed three points in their fight for safety, it also meant that Tranmere failed to close the gap on top spot following Cambridge’s defeat against Salford City. Going forwards, the Whites will look to set wrongs to right against Grimsby Town at Blundell Park this Saturday.

Teams:
Tranmere – Scott Davies, Otis Khan, Peter Clarke, Manny Monthe, Calum MacDonald, Ali Crawford, Jay Spearing, Paul Lewis, Danny Lloyd, James Vaughan, Kaiyne Woolery.
Players who were subbed on – Charlie Jolley, Nya Kirby, Kieron Morris.
Stevenage – David Stockdale, Luther Wildin, Terence Vancooten, Luke Prosser, Joe Martin, Elliot List, Chris Lines, Tom Pett, Jack Aitchinson, Charlie Carter, Luke Norris.
Players who were subbed on – Ben Coker, Danny Newton, Matthew Stevens.

Officials:
Referee – Robert Madley.
Assistants – Richard Woodward and Kenny Hughes.
Fourth official – Richard Bartlett.

Stats:
Shots – 4/6
Shots on target – 2/2
Possession – 63%/37%
Passes – 485/291
Pass accuracy – 63%/40%
Fouls – 15/4
Yellow cards – 1/0
Corners – 4/2

Tranmere 0 Stevenage 1

Thank you very much for reading,
Stay safe,
Ethan Hoijord

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