Town 2 Tranmere Rovers 0
Town: Chris Weale, Joe Jacobson, Darren Jones, Matt Richards (c ), Marvin Morgan (Luke Rodgers 78), Paul Parry (Rob Purdie 84), Dave McAllister, Steve McGinn, Rob Edwards, Cameron Gayle, Chris Porter
Subs: Joe Anyon, Yado Mambo, Luke Summerfield, Tom Bradshaw, Aaron Wildig
Tranmere Rovers: Owain Fon Williams, Danny Holmes (Danny Harrison), Ash Taylor, Liam Palmer, Andy Robinson (c ), Adam McGurk, Zoumana Bakayogo, Cole Stockton (Paul Corry), Max Power, Michael O'Halloran (David Amoo), Donervorn Daniels
Subs: Paul Black, Ian Goodison, Adulai Bell-Baggie, Jason Mooney
Ref: Mark Brown
Assistants: Lee Metcalfe and Edwards Smart
Fourth Official: Jeremy Simpson
Attendance: 9127 (690)
Graham Turner makes two changes to the side that starts against Tranmere Rovers, Jon Taylor hasn't recovered from a groin problems and in come Paul Parry, Rob Edwards and new loan signing Chris Porter, Yado Mambo drops to the bench and Ryan Doble is replaced by Marvin Morgan.
It was a frantic start from Tranmere who were straight at Town looking to take an early advantage on the game. They had a lot of pressure in and around the Town box but nothing that troubled Chris Weale in the Town goal. Marvin Morgan had an good chance after finding space in the box but his shot was well blocked by the Rovers defence.
Town were given a boost on 5 minutes when Rovers were reduced to 10 men, the ball came back to Joe Jacobson after calm work from the Town defence, he had the ball under control and then Liam Palmer went in hard and caught the Town left back, ref Brown spoke to his assistant and then had no hesitation in producing a straight red for the Tranmere midfielder.
Minutes later Town were in front after a mistake from Tranmere keeper Fon Williams, he looked to have a comfortable catch but made a right mess of it and the ball fell at the feet of Chris Porter who calmly slotted the ball in to the empty net for a début goal.
Town were trying to keep the ball and put the pressure onto Tranmere to quieten the home crowd who were in good voice. The visitors were pushing play high into the Tranmere end looking to add to their early advantage, Town were good in possession but weren't turning that into goal scoring chances.
The goal and reduction to 10 men hadn't really stopped Tranmere as an attacking force and they continued to push and look to get back on level terms. They were moving the ball around well but Town were dealing well with most of the Tranmere play. Though on the occasion the home side got the ball out quickly to Holmes he delivered a lovely ball to Holmes who was running in at the backpost but luckily for Town he put his header wide of the backpost.
When Town did get the ball down and moved it quickly they looked dangerous and possible of adding to their lead. On 34 minutes they did this with a move that saw Morgan find space to drive at the Tranmere defence, he moved the ball into Dave McAllister who skipped across the 18 yard box before driving in a low shot that brought out a superb diving save from Fon Williams.
Tranmere finished the half with a flourish and a couple of decent efforts on the Town goal, the first a long range effort from Taylor that Weale dealt with well and then an inviting ball into the box saw Weale come and clear the danger with a commanding punch.
The second half started like the first at a frantic pace with Tranmere really making a go of getting back into the game. Town were dealing with the pressure well and were making a number of good counter attacks to keep Tranmere on their toes.
10 men Tranmere had to be careful with their challenges but when Ash Taylor flew went through Steve McGinn some might have thought he was lucky only to receive the yellow card.
Town had a great chance to add to their lead when a Paul Parry cut a great ball in to find Chris Porter in space in front of the goal, Porter missed his shot and this set-up Dave McAllister with a great chance to smash the ball home but he got under the ball and his shot flew over the bar.
Tranmere were very much still in the game and at times it was hard to see which team were down to 10 men. The home crowd were very much buoyed by what they were seeing from their team and were making a big noise to make a great atmosphere.
It was a very open game with Tranmere really going for it and this was leaving a lot of room for Town to counter attack and it was making for some fantastic viewing at times.
Town were getting more chances in front of the Tranmere goal after they'd been patient and dealing with the pressure from Tranmere. The visitors went close after Morgan had done well to win a corner, the ball was floated into the box but cleared by Tranmere but only as far as Richards, he curled in a great ball that was met by Porter with a great header but Fon Williams was there to pull off a great save. From the resulting corner the ball was put into the danger area and Cameron Gayle found the space in the box to head home and score his first goal for Town.
Graham Turner made his first switch of the evening with just under 15 minutes of the game remaining with Luke Rodgers coming on to replace Marvin Morgan. Then minutes later it was time for the second substitution with Rob Purdie coming on to replace Paul Parry.
With the end of normal time approaching Town were beginning to look a lot more comfortable. Town were in control of things and were playing the ball around nicely to keep possession and make Tranmere work to try and get it back.