Tranmere Rovers v Carlisle United
Tuesday 24th November 2020
English Football League Two
Kieth Hill’s managerial reign of Tranmere Rovers started off in perfect fashion, with a closely contested narrow victory at home to fellow promotion chasers Carlisle United. This win means that the Merseyside club have won six of their last six encounters, in all competitions, placing the ‘whites’ one point away from the fourth division playoffs.
The game started off as it would go on, in an extremely scrappy fashion. However, although it was scrappy there was a clear showing of attacking intent and this is something that I predicted would be seen in my match preview. Scott Davies getting off his line really quickly to dive at the feet of a Carlisle attacker in the box, in the opening few minutes.
There was nearly a huge injury blow to the Rovers squad depth as young loanee right-back Lee O’Connor put in an extremely strong challenge for the ball. Immediately, he got straight back up. However, he would soon go down and require medical attention. Fortunately, the defender would be okay to play on as he returned to the pitch after walking to the sidelines.
Attacking midfielder Otis Khan was the first Tranmere man to trouble the ‘Cumbrians’ goalkeeper Paul Farman. His left footed strike from 18 yards out being tipped over the bar by the shot stopper, an attempt seemingly taking him by surprise. The resulting corner met the head of James Vaughan, who put his effort just over the bar.
A period of pressure by the visitors saw centre-half Manny Monthe and goalkeeper Scott Davies being called into action, they did their duties impressively. The defender did brilliantly to flick away a dangerous corner before the veteran goalkeeper produced a great save to palm away a powerful front post header.
Due to both sides showing a great intent to attack, many corners were taken as results of the teams attacking play. Rovers veteran midfielder Liam Feeney swung his set piece into the six yard box, this was claimed by visiting goalkeeper Farman. At the other end, newly signed defender Rhys Bennett headed well wide from a Carlisle corner. The wait for an opening goal continued.
A spell of patient build up play from the hosts resulted in Morris slicing his half volley wide before the in-form young forward Corey Blackett-Taylor used his pace to force himself past ‘blues’ defender Aaron Hayden. The forward managed to get into the box with the aim of picking out forward Vaughan but the visitors managed to clear their lines.
The pair would soon link up when Vaughan looked to flick on to Blackett-Taylor. However, again the Carlisle defence managed to clear their lines.
The final piece of attacking action of the first half came from Chris Beech’s team, Davies saw himself well positioned to catch a Gime Toure cross from the right.
The half ended goalless, despite the great effort seen in the attacking intent displayed by both promotion chasing league two sides. It seemed obvious that this game would finish with a goal, my prediction was for a 1-0 scoreline as both defences were also on top form. I just hoped that the goal would be in Tranmere’s favour.
This goal nearly came in the first piece of action of the second half. This is further proof that football league clubs should be equipped with the same technology that premier league teams have, in this case goal-line technology was necessary. However, having looked back the linesman seemed to have got this call correct.
There were shouts for a goal, that the ball had crossed over the line when tricky forward Blackett-Taylor fired a shot which was spilled behind by the keeper. The ref waved play on much to the Rovers players frustrations.
However, he wouldn’t have to wait too much longer before opening the scoreline. A beautiful ball by veteran centre half Peter Clarke was played into the feet of the young speedster who cut inside the Carlisle defence and smashed the ball straight into the far corner. Another showing of the great quality that the Birmingham-born attacker possesses.
This was followed by another period of great pressure from the ‘whites’. Midfielder Feeney eventually fired a cross into the box, the cross driving inches past holding midfielder Jay Spearing’s head. The holding midfielder had once again performed his defensive duties brilliantly, linking the defence to the attack and showing no way past for the Carlisle attackers. Thus, it would’ve been great to see him double Rovers’ lead.
Feeney would again soon cross the ball into the box, this time resulting in the Carlisle goalkeeper tipping his deep cross away at the back post.
Carlisle nearly found an equalizer from the boots of leading goalscorer Jon Mellish, goal assisting Peter Clarke being really well positioned to block the shot from inside the box.
This was followed by Hill’s first substitution as Tranmere manager. Midfielder replacing midfielder. Paul Lewis getting his first set of minutes under a new manager, as Feneey who had performed well was subbed off halfway through the second half.
As Carlisle battled for their share of the goals, Hayden elbowed centre half Monthe’s head as both players jumped up for the ball. Substitute midfielder Lewis was soon booked for a supposed late tackle as he battled a defender for the ball at the other end.
Vaughan nearly added to the scoreline by doubling Rovers’ lead. His header glancing agonisingly wide past the far post as Tranmere searched for their second.
The ‘whites’ used up three of their five possible replacements when they swapped goalscorer Blackett-Taylor and in-form midfielder Otis Khan for attacker Kaiyne Woolery and new liverpudlian signing Danny Lloyd. The supposed aim of this was to add fresh legs to the attacking and midfield ranks.
There was little action left of this closely contested league two encounter. In truth, it became a bit scrappy.
However, the Merseyside club dug in and Clarke again used his body to get in the way of a low drive from inside the box before goalkeeper Scott Davies produced a great save to tip the ball around his post.
Striker would soon replace defender as Vaughan was brought off for Sid Nelson, the ambition was to now not to go for another but to keep the lead they already had.
However, this became a bit fearful when Davies chose to punch a few crosses late on into the game and missed but his performance would be known for the magnificent saves he pulled off to keep Rovers in the lead.
Tranmere Rovers 1 Carlisle United 0
Line ups –
Tranmere Rovers: Davies, O’Connor, Clarke, Monthe, Macdonald, Spearing, Morris, Khan (Lloyd 77’), Feeney (Lewis 64’), Vaughan (Nelson 91’), Blackett-Taylor (Woolery 76’)
Carlisle United: Farman, Tanner, Hayden, Bennett, Anderton, Riley (Reilly 72’), Guy, Mellish, Alessandra, Kayode (Obiero 83’), Toure (Patrick 61’)
Shots on target 3/2
Referee: David Rock