Prenton Park and Birkenhead was an area of excitement on Sunday 26th January 2020 as Tranmere hosted Ole Gunar Solksjaer’s supergiants Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup, following on from a 2-1 home win against Watford that required the use of extra time to set up the fourth round tie. Micky Mellon’s side looked to carry on the performance the other night in which the effort shown by the superwhites was a massive factor in progressing into the later round of the competition, Solksjaer’s side were simply looking to refresh and reach the later rounds of a competition to show some pride in a season where they have struggled in the premier league.
The rovers would dominate the opening ten minutes: Ferrier driving into the box and forcing a corner, Jennings’ volley being caught by United goalkeeper Romero, Morris having a shot blocked, Ferrier’s cross forcing a corner. However, United defended all opportunities well and capitalised on a lapse of Rovers concentration as centre-back Harry Maguire arrowed the ball into the top corner from 25 yards out.
Full-back Diogo Dalot would soon double the visitors lead, firing low into the bottom corner from inside the box.
The goals kept on coming for the visitors, Jesse Lingard curling past Davies into the top corner of the net.
For the next ten minutes, whilst the visiting fans sung anti Woodward and Glazer songs whilst letting off green and yellow pyros, Ferrier and Blackett-Taylor would cause problems for the rich Manchester United defence. Ferrier running at Jones before cutting inside and bending the shot a few yards wide of the post. Ferrier again ran at Jones before forcing Romero into a save that went out for a corner, nothing came from it. Winger Blackett-Taylor did well to beat his man inside the box but his rolled cross failed to meet the feet of any Tranmere attacker.
Manchester United had plenty more chances to put the ball past Davies, in the next few moments. Lingard fluffing his lines from ten yards out and Martial failing to get past Manny Monthe inside the box.
However, the ‘red devils’ would soon get their fourth as Phil Jones leaped high to head past Scott Davies and David Perkins from a perfectly placed corner.
Solksjaer’s side would soon find their fifth as Martial’s shot deflected into the top corner. Martial’s ‘£50million’ song was sung loud by the United fans in the cowshed.
Half time came at a crushing 5-0 deficit for the ‘whites’, before the second half started evenly matched. United playing a one-two in the box but Clarke defended well to let the ball go into the hands of Davies. At the other end, Blackett-Taylor’s corner was claimed calmly by Romero.
Shortly after the wingers corner, Davies brought a United forward down inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. You’d believe Tranmere fans were down at this point, being beaten 5-0 and a penalty going against them. However, their three stands were loudly singing the famous ‘Tequila’ song. Greenwood converted from the penalty spot, Tequila still rang loudly.
Tranmere would be the threatening on goal side for the remaining of the game, United’s only chance coming when Chong took the ball from the wing to the crossbar. Ferrier shot from inside the box but the shot went wide of the post before David Perkins was replaced by creative midfielder Harvey Gilmour. Ferrier and Blackett-Taylor, Tranmere’s two main threatening players of the game, were soon replaced by Paul Mullin and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy. Jennings forced a free kick 20 yards away from the goal line but nothing came from the free kick and Hepburn-Murphy’s curling shot from the edge of the box would land just wide of the post.
Unfortunately, Tranmere would crash out of the competition at the fourth round stage. Manchester United’s premier league quality side being too much of an ask on a cold January day in Birkenhead. However, Tranmere fans would still remain positive as chants rang from all corner of the ground past the full time whistle. They would be of the hope and belief that the money gained from the competition would be spent on a higher quality of players to keep the club in the third division.