Town v Tranmere

It appears that relegation threatened Tranmere Rovers’ plan was to take 3 points from their games against Norwich and Swindon. We have Norwich and their 3-1 defeat on Friday evening to thank for Tranmere leaving themselves in Merseyside, as they didn’t compete in a largely disappointing encounter at the County Ground this afternoon.

Town were grateful they weren’t pushed, having had a day less rest than Tranmere following the magnificent 3-0 win at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon. A confident, but tired Town, took the early advantage following an own goal after 10 minutes from an Alan Sheeham cross.  After 35 minutes the linesman was the only person in the ground to see a stamp by Tranmere’s Terry Gornell, and signals for a penalty. Gornell is shown a straight red card.  I must admit I will need to see the highlights later tonight to comment on this decision! Nonetheless Billy Paynter stepped up an slotted home his 25th goal of the season to take Town into the break 2-0 up.

Photo from

With 10 men Tranmere had no options but to sit back and soak up the pressure.  Town were largely routine in the second half, retaining possession, but mainly to little effect, except for the third goal.

The third goal came in the 56th minute.  A great JP McGovern ball over the top, controlled well by Charlie Austin, who with great composure rounds the keeper and places his shot into the net. If any scout came to watch Austin today they have seen a goal which is typical of Austin’s qualities.

Despite our advantage there was a lack of chances for Town with only 12 shots (8 on target).  I’m surprised that our possession percentage was 56%, as it appeared significantly higher. Town dominated large sections of play with the ‘Ole Ole’ chants flowing from the stands as Tranmere chased the game.

In the end Town did enough and the players can go home happy, sitting second in the table, for a well deserved rest before the trip to an out of form Colchester on Saturday.

All of the League One top five teams won today so we end as we started, albeit with 3 points extra. A major positive to come from the successive 3-0 wins is the improved goal difference which now stands at +19, on a par with 6th place Huddersfield and only 2 behind Charlton.

Finally, it was great to see over 9,000 Town fans fill the County Ground this afternoon.  Now let’s ensure the ground is packed for the next home game against Exeter on the 12th April which is on Sky Sports to create a great atmosphere and to convey to the nation the Town are going up!

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