Town put in a good enough performance but two soft goals against were the difference in the end - still all to play for!
Town: Chris Weale, Jon Taylor, Paul Parry, Aaron Wildig,Tamika Mkandawire, Joe Jacobson, Tom Eaves, Luke Summerfield, Dom Iorfa (Jermaine Grandison 70), Bahrudin Atajic (Shaun Miller 56), Connor Goldson
Subs: Joe Anyon, Ryan Woods, Dave Winfield, Sam Foley, Tom Bradshaw
Tranmere Rovers: Owain Fon Williams, Ash Taylor, Ian Goodison (c) (Stephen Arthurworrey 76), Ryan Lowe, Jake Cassidy, Max Power, Steve Jennings, Jason Koumas (Junior Brown 76), Liam Ridehalgh, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro
Subs: Danny Holmes, James Rowe, Cole Stockton, Antonie Boland, Jason Mooney
Ref: David Phillips
Assistants: Anthony Backhouse and Nigel Murphy
Fourth Official: Simeon Lucas
Attendance: 5698 (889 from Town)
Mike Jackson makes the one change with Kevin Summerfield back from injury and back into the starting line-up in place of the suspended Asa Hall. On the bench Jermaine Grandison is back to fitness and added to a number of strong looking options for Jacko.
After an impeccably observed minute silence in memory of those who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster the game kicked of.
Tranmere were straight out of the blocks and attacking Town with everything they had, there were blocks, saves and bodies being thrown in to keep the ball, there was a big shout from the Tranmere fans for a penalty as Mkandawire blocked, ref Phillips saw nothing and Goldson cleared down field.
Town were weathering the early Tranmere pressure and just after the 10 minute mark created a good chance, Taylor picked the ball and then ran infield, he kept going and went across field before laying it into Paul Parry, he hit a first time cross that Eaves just failed to connect with, the ball was cleared up and Taylor was alert to put a header just over the bar.
Minutes later Town created another good opening when they counter attacked and had men over, Atajic received the ball on the centre circle and went forward, again the out ball was to Parry and he put in a good cross to the back post for Eaves and Taylor, Fon Williams spilled his attempted collect but recovered to put the ball behind.
IT was Tranmere who took the early advantage with a goal on 17 minutes, it was started when Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro was allowed too much time out on the left, Iorfa was with him and stopping him from getting the cross in but Akpro found the space to loop a ball into the back post, Joe Jacobson was back peddling and Max Power jumped the highest to loop a header back across the goal and it dropped in at the far post to make it 1-0 to Tranmere.
Town kept going but weren't firing on all cylinders and needed to calm things down and get some possession. Just before the half hour mark Bahrudin Atajic was sent tumbling on the halfway line, he tried to take it quickly but Tranmere managed to stop that, Luke Summerfield got the ball and saw Fon Williams off his line so hit a superb looking direct kick quickly from the halfway line that had the Tranmere keeper beaten but was just inches wide of putting Town back on level terms,
Town created another good chances after Joe Jacobson received the ball out on the left and then drove in field, he kept his run going and played a one two with Atajic before passing square to Eaves, he hit in a decent low shot from the edge of the box but Fon Williams was down well to block. Then moments later Jon Taylor showed good strength to hold off his marker and then regain possession, he cut across the edge of the box before driving in a good shot but again Fon Williams was there to block.
The opening 10 minutes continued much in the way of the first with two teams who were quite well matched but this meant little in the way of goal mouth action.
Mike Jackson waited for the 10 minute mark before making his first change of the afternoon brining on Shaun Miller to replace Bahrudin Atajic, Boz had looked like he was carrying a knock at the start of the half and hadn't really sparked into life since the restart.
The change had given Town a spark and they were looking more of an attacking force and were taking the game to Tranmere. The ball was fizzed around the Tranmere box, there was a shout for a penalty when Miller was sent flying and then Eaves got in a decent header that was just wide. At the other end Tranmere nearly repeated their first half goal with a ball to the back post and then a header back across goal but Weale was alert and made an important save.
With 20 minutes of the game remaining Mike Jackson made his second change with Jermaine Grandison coming on to replace Dominic Iorfa.
Town were back on level terms shortly after the change when they won a free-kick just inside the Tranmere half, Town tried to take it quickly but couldn't, it was left for Jon Taylor who finally delivered a lovely ball to the back post, Eaves headed it back across the goal and there was Paul Parry coming in at the back post with a superb directed header which flew through Fon Williams attempted block.
Tranmere were stung by the goal and looked more of an attacking threat after that, they were getting direct balls into the Town defence and causing them a lot of problems. Town were still attacking themselves though and chances were falling but they just couldn't get the ball past a resolute Tranmere defence.
With minutes of the game remaining it was Tranmere who got their noses back in front when they broke and found space out on the left, the ball came to substitute Junior Brown who cut inside the Town box and then drove a shot across the face of goal that beat the dive of Weale and crept in at the far post.
Town were still pushing and probing and looking for the goal and when a free-kick was floated in by Jacobson it found Grandison, he took the ball down on the edge of the box, turned and fired in a lovely looking shot but Fon Williams was in the right place to save.
Town 1 Tranmere 2