Tranmere Rovers v Harrogate Town
Tuesday 21st December 2021, 7pm
Papa Johns Trophy
Harrogate Town progressed into the third round of the Papa Johns Trophy with a victory over Tranmere on Tuesday night.
The tie was played at Prenton Park, last season’s finalists looking to go on a cup run having already exited the FA and Carabao cups.
Micky Mellon fielded a strong attack with Nicky Maynard as the focal point. Simon Weaver placed Jack Diamond in his starting eleven, Jack Muldoon sat on the bench.
The opening stages were dominated by an inspiring and attacking Rovers, a succession of crosses would soon result in Maynard adding on to his tally for the club. The former Mansfield bagsman has shown his abilities in cup competitions this campaign, Micky Mellon preferring a partnership of Elliott Nevitt and Charlie Jolley for league games.
Both sides continued to grow into the game from this, the defensive shapes remaining relatively solid throughout. Joe Maguire came close to doubling the hosts lead when a looping header was tipped over by 31-year-old keeper Mark Oxley. Callum McManaman’s bending effort from range whistled past the post soon afterwards.
A resolute defence frustrated the visitors who could only muster a few blocked attempts on goal amongst a couple of comfortably dealt with crosses.
Mellon’s team went into the half in front. However, it was Simon Weaver’s team that impressed in the opening stages of the second as a couple of dangerous crosses were put in by Diamond and right-back Ryan Fallowfield. Tom Davies cleared the latter’s dangerous low driven effort.
This period of intent resulted in an equaliser as substitute Muldoon brought the visitors level. The goal only added to The Sulphurites forward thinking appetite.
To break up play and aim to combat further attacks from Weaver’s men, midfielder Sam Foley replaced EFL veteran attacker Mark Duffy for Tranmere. Diamond soon went into the book for a foul on Callum McManaman.
The aim to combat didn’t come to fruition, Middlesbrough academy graduate Alex Pattison scoring the goal that edged The Sulphurites into the lead.
Three changes would soon follow for the hosts. Jolley, Nevitt and Lee O’Connor replaced Liam Feeney, Chris Merrie and goalscorer Maynard with twenty minutes left on the clock.
However, apart from Peter Clarke being subbed on to be a striker and the visitors winning consecutive corners there was little else to report on in the closing stages of the midweek encounter.
Harrogate Town will face Carlisle United at The EnviroVent Stadium in the Papa Johns Trophy third round.
Tranmere: Joe Murphy, Liam Feeney, Kyle Hayde, Tom Davies, Joe Maguire, Calum MacDonald, Ryan Watson, Chris Merrie, Mark Duffy, Nicky Maynard, Callum McManaman.
Subs on: Peter Clarke, Lee O’Connor, Sam Foley, Charlie Jolley, Elliott Nevitt.
Harrogate: Mark Oxley, Ryan Fallowfield, Lewis Page, Nathan Sheron, Warren Burrell, Josh Falkingham, Alex Pattison, Lloyd Kerry, Luke Armstrong, George Thomson, Jack Diamond.
Subs on: Jack Muldoon.
Possession – 44/56
Shots on target – 6/2
Fouls – 9/10
Offsides – 2/2
Corners – 7/7
What they said.
Tranmere coach Andy Parkinson – ‘It was a game of two halves, although that is a clique. In the first half, we created chances and probably should’ve went into the half three nil up. However, in the second we didn’t do enough to keep that lead. They changed their formation at half time to match ours and we didn’t do enough against them to match their shape correctly.We probably should’ve equalised right at the depth as we grew into the half’.
Harrogate manager Simon Weaver – ‘Our second half was great. The players played with great intensity and passed the ball well into progressive scenarios. We were a different proposition after the break. We looked sloppy and soft in the first half, the attack looked isolated too so we were looking for a reaction’.