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Tranmere Rovers 1 Scunthorpe United 0 - Match Report

by Mark Langshaw at Prenton Park. Published Sat 29 Dec 2012 16:54

Tranmere Rovers returned to the summit of League One with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Scunthorpe United at Prenton Park.

Whites manager Ronnie Moore named an unchanged side from the 2-1 victory over Crewe, with promising youngster Max Power partnering skipper Andy Robinson in the centre of the park.

The turf at Prenton Park had seen better days, the muddied conditions making for a scrappy opening where both sides struggled to create anything beyond half chances.

Tranmere's first attack of any note came just after the ten-minute mark when Michael O'Halloran's deflected strike was gathered up by visiting goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall.

The Iron applied some pressure of their own and should have taken the lead in the 18th minute when Andy Barcham found space in the box but fired over Owain Fon Williams's crossbar to ironic cheers from the Kop.

A Rovers counter attack almost created an opening in the 31st minute, the move ending when O'Halloran blazed the ball into the stand after tearing through the Iron defence with a mazy run.

Moore's men upped their game as the first period wound down. Their best move of the opening 45 was brought to a halt when Robinson won a free kick on the edge of the box and the veteran midfielder stepped up and curled one narrowly over the bar.

Tranmere started the second half brightly, and were unlucky not to take the lead in the 51st minute when Robinson's low cross from the left was spilled by Mildenhall, only to wrong foot Jake Cassidy inside the six-yard box.

The hosts continued to pile on the pressure. Cassidy had a 20-yard effort blocked ahead of the hour mark before the deadlock was broken minutes later.

Tranmere took a deserved lead from a corner. Ash Taylor's header was saved at point-blank range by Mildenhall and substitute Cole Stockton nodded in the rebound from close range to make it 1-0.

It was an impressive second-half display from the men in white, but it wasn't all one-way traffic. Taylor produced a vital interception from Barcham's cross to preserve Rovers' advantage in the 67th minute.

The deficit could have been 2-0 minutes later when the in-form Zoumana Bakayogo unleashed Stockton following a swift break, but the pacey forward could only force a corner.

There was a let-off for the home side on 76 minutes when Fon Williams punched a cross into the path of Barcham 25 yards out, but the winger blazed the ball over as the Welshman scrambled back to his line.

Rovers were forced onto the back foot in dying stages as Mildenhall came forward to provide an extra man in the penalty area during a late Scunthorpe corner, but the Whites held on to claim back-to-back home wins for the first time since September.

TRANMERE ROVERS: fon Williams, Holmes, Taylor, Bakayogo, Daniels, Palmer, Robinson, Power, Cassidy, McGurk (Thompson), O'Halloran (Stockton)

Subs not used: Mooney, Black, Goodison, Kay, Harrison

Goals: Stockton (59)

SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Mildenhall, Kennedy, Reid, Canavan, Newey, Mozika, Gibbons (Godden), Collins, Barcham, Hawley, Djeziri (Adelakun)

Subs not used: Slocombe, Hughes, Keegan, Grella, Wootton

Booked: Reid, Barcham, Djeziri

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 6,044



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