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Tranmere Rovers 1 Notts County 1 - Match Report

by Mark Langshaw. Published Wed 27 Feb 2013 11:51

Tranmere Rovers first stalemate for more than two months was enough to keep their hopes of automatic promotion alive as the Merseysiders drew 1-1 with Notts County.

The Whites showed plenty of fight on Tuesday evening, but it wasn't all positive news for manager Ronnie Moore, who is facing an ever-growing injury crisis.

Andy Robinson and Ian Goodison are the latest pair to pick up injuries, joining Mamady Sidibe, Adam McGurk and James Wallace in the treatment room. I've been told InjuryLawyers4U have expressed an interest in becoming shirt sponsors next season.

Rovers started the game well, with Michael O'Halloran testing Magpies goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski inside the opening ten minutes, after Max Power fired an early warning shot wide of his post.

The vistor's first attack of any note came in the 21st minute when the ball found Francois Zoko at the back post, forcing Paul Corry to pull off a vital block to keep the scores level.

Tranmere were much the better side in the first half-half and they took the lead just before the half-hour mark courtesy of Abdulai Bell-Baggie's second goal of the season.

O'Halloran swerved two challenges in the centre of the park and played a through ball to the winger, who cut inside and steered the ball past Bialkowski to make it 1-0.

Notts County responded positively and almost hit back immediately through John Cofie, whose six-yard strike was charged down and cleared by Ash Taylor.

Rovers had shot-stopper Owain Fon Williams to thank for keeping the scores level in the run-up to half time. The Welshman pulled of a string of saves, including an impressive reaction stop to keep out Julian Kelly at close range.

There were chances for both sides in the second half. Taylor headed Power's cross straight at Bialkowski on the hour mark, and Fon Williams pulled off a good save to turn away Jeff Hughes's back-post header five minutes later.

County drew level in the 74th minute following a free kick. Alan Judge's set piece was met by a flick header from Neal Bishop, lifting it beyond Fon Williams and into the top corner.

Tranmere gave as good as they got for much of the game and deserved to take a point, but very nearly came away empty-handed. Judge found Hughes with a lofted pass at the death and the midfielder's curled shot came back off the post, with Power hacking away the rebound.

The result leaves Rovers in third place, two points behind Doncaster Rovers at the top. Many of the teams around them may have games in hand, but Moore has plenty to build on from the last two games.

TRANMERE: Fon Williams, Kay, Taylor, Goodison (Daniels), Bakayogo, Bell-Baggie (Black), Power, Corry, Robinson (Stockton), Akpa Akpro, O'Halloran

Subs not used: Mooney, Holmes, Daniels, Harrison, Amoo

Booked: Power

Goals: Bell-Baggie (29)

NOTTS COUNTY: Bialkowski, Kelly (Hughes), Sheehan, Leacock, Liddle, Bishop, Boucaud, Campbell-Ryce, Judge, Cofie (Arquin), Zoko (Bencherif)

Subs not used: Spiess, Smith, Waite, Blyth

Booked: Judge

Goals: Bishop (74)

Referee: Scott Duncan

Attendance: 4,703


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