Tranmere’s midweek journey to Sunderland left them with the message ‘move on from the past, concentrate on the future’.
Micky Mellon made two changes from his side that previously drew, at home, to Southend United. Connor Jennings and Paul Mullin replaced the injured Corey Blackett-Taylor and Rushian Hepburn Murphy on the line-up that would compete against former premier league opposition at the Stadium of light.
The first twenty minutes, of the midweek fixture, were very close in terms of executing the game plan of attack. Sunderland opened the goal attempts when striker Will Grigg flicked on inside the box and saw his effort rebound off the post, the ball found no-one in red and white after hitting the post. At the other end, two minutes later, Kieron Morris lofted a ball inside the box to Paul Mullin but the Sunderland goalkeeper claimed the ball easily. As the clock showed eight minutes Manny Monthe was a pivotal man, to keep the scoreline level. The defender blocked a shot from inside the box, after his side switched off after a quick throw in.
The first booking of the game was awarded in the tenth minute as Sunderland man O’Niel brought down Paul Mullin as Tranmere broke.
Micky Mellon’s side were extremely close to opening the scoring when Kieron Morris’ shot was parried by Burge which forced a Payne rebound which was blocked as it was heading in. However, similar to previous fixtures Mellon’s side inability to score soon became painful when the opposition opened the scoring. Sunderland winger, Duncan Watmore slotting past Scott Davies from inside the box against the run of play.
Quickly after, Sunderland doubled their lead. Maguire slotting a free kick past Davies, on the edge of the box.
It could’ve been three goals in four minutes, for Phil Parkinson’s side, as Duncan Watmore’s goal attempt sailed over the bar from inside the box.
Tranmere looked to lower the scoreline gap with the ‘Black Cats’ with two attacks. Jake Caprice whipping a right sided ball into the six yard box but the cross was unable to find the head of Paul Mullin. Five minutes later, Neill Danns found Jake Caprice on the right hand side who attempted another cross and this time was rewarded with a corner. The corner came to nothing, as the Sunderland goalkeeper came out to collect.
Another goal for Sunderland, Duncan Watmore got in behind the Tranmere defence and squared the ball to Gooch who scored the hosts third goal from six yards out.
Soon after, Sunderland put the ball into the Tranmere net again. This came after a mix up between, defender, George Ray and, goalkeeper, Scott Davies. However, to the relief of Micky Mellon’s men the referee blew for a foul to call the goal out.
Half time was brought upon at 3-0 in favour of the hosts, which was a scoreline reflective of ‘sloppy’ defending from the visitors.
Tranmere started the second half more strongly than the hosts, as two headers were close to opening the visitors goal tally. Jake Caprice’s attacking threats were rewarded with a corner, Kieron Morris’ corner was met by Monthe who glances wide. Another header from a set piece was from Tranmere striker, Stefan Payne. The header hit the post and rolled along the goal line being cleared by the Sunderland defence.
At the other end, Sunderland kept their eye towards the Tranmere net. Mcnulty paced past Ray to find himself in a position to attempt a lob past Scott Davies. However, his attempt sailed over the bar.
Tranmere’s first substitution came on the 75th minute as Rushian Hepburn-Murphy replaced Paul Mullin as Mellon believed his side required more attacking energy.
The only remaining attacks were in favour of the hosts though, as they scored two goals in the last ten minutes to seal a comfortable 5-0 win. Will Grigg tapped home from a few yards out on the 83rd minute and a header from the unmarked O’Nien, inside the six yards box, on the stroke of the 90th minute came the 5th.
The full time whistle commenced with the scoreline in favour of the hosts, 5-0.
The main point from Mellon’s post match interview was the question on all lips that are concerned with Tranmere ‘when are we going to stop talking about the promotions and start talking about pushing forwards and improving?’. He attempted to answer his question by looking at his staff and his squad ‘We have to either improve the playing staff or the player’.
Attendance – 28,851 (855 Tranmere fans – Many Sunderland fans took to social media to applaud the travelling support)
Sunderland – Burge, O’Nien, Willis, Lynch, Hume, Dobson, Power, Watmore, Maguire, Gooch, Gulick.
Substitutions (on) – McLaughlin, Mcnulty, Mbunga-Kimpioka.
Tranmere – Davies, Ridehalgh, Monthe, Ray, Caprice, Jennings, Perkins, Danns, Morris, Mullin (Hepburn-Murphy), Payne.
Scoreline – Sunderland 5 Tranmere 0.
Micky Mellon’s side are next in competition against Doncaster Rovers, on Saturday afternoon (26/10/19).