|Tranmere Rovers 2 v 1 Colchester United|
Saturday, 30th November 2013 Kick-off 15:00
Tranmere 2 U's 1 - Durham's View
Monday, 2nd Dec 2013 19:18 by Durham Exile
After an encouraging week with a draw at high flying Preston and an excellent win against the Franchise, I drove to Tranmere hoping for only the U's second win at Prenton Park in 26 years. I saw the 4-3 some years ago.
Last season the 4-0 scoreline and performance was simply shocking. I also came in for some stick from home boarders for daring to suggest that Tranmere were a poor team and the 4-0 scoreline had flattered then somewhat. They soon slumped in the table and their early promotion form evaporated. Enough said about our campaign last year!
After a substantial cooked breakfast, I decided against a lunch before leaving Telford for the match. On arrival at the ground, I bought the excellent value Fanzine “Give Us an R” and went straight for a pie and cup of coffee. The meat and potato pie was very good and warming on what was a dry but cold afternoon.
The crowd seemed sparse, 4,148 with approximately 150 of the faithful having travelled to the Wirral.
As I was straining to hear the substitutes over the tannoy system it was good to see Wessex plus his pal Chris arrive and we settled into our seats.
JD had selected the following team in a 4-5-1 formation:
Wilson Magnus Eastman Garbutt
Gilbey Wright Eastmond Vose Dickson
Subs: Cousins, Tozer, Olufemi, O'Donoghue, Bond, Bonne, Morrison
Now without wishing to be ultra critical, I felt that for 70 minutes Jabo was isolated and forced to operate on his own up front, more later.
After a bizarre opening 12 minutes Tranmere had been forced to use two of their three subs. First debutant Otsemobor tangled with Dickson and fell over the advertising hoarding. He struggled to carry on but was soon forced off the field. Then the evergreen Ian Goodison (41 years of age) suffered a recurrence of a groin strain and also hobbled off.
Jabo Ibehre should have scored from 8 yards after 25 minutes but blazed over with Fon Williams stranded.
Then a clash of heads between Tom Eastman and Akpa Akpro led to both players leaving the field for lengthy treatment. Wright moved to centre half before Eastman was first to return and we played with 11 versus 10 for a further 10 minutes but the disruptions seemed to have affected Colchester more than Tranmere and we conceded a sloppy goal from Lowe from roughly the goal line after 32 minutes.
The crowd awoke from their slumbers but we were very much in the game and bossed possession but the final third let us down.
The Assistant Referee on the left touchline had a consistent match, consistently useless. Devoid of any decision making other than to flag erratically, he struggled in both halves.
So 1-0 at half time and the faithful were disgruntled. We didn't play particularly well and I could not agree with JD that we could have been 3-0 up at half time.
No changes were made at half time (the ineffectual Vose should have gone off but didn't), on 55 minutes the other Assistant Referee (clearly eagle eye) saw an infringement which involved Wilson and Akpa Akpro and drew the Referee's attention to the alleged push in the penalty box.
Lowe stepped up and sent Sam Walker the wrong way with a clinical finish into the corner. Another 2-0 scoreline before we once again woke up to our plight.
JD finally acted and brought on attacking intent, Bond and Bonne for Wright and the ineffectual Vose respectively after 57 minutes.
There was still plenty of time and at last we saw Colchester with attacking ideas. The excellent Bonne had a jigsaw moment (he went to pieces in the box) and he headed over when well placed 6 yards out.
Bond and Eastmond had shots blocked before Sam Walker was grateful to see Lowe scoop a shot straight into his arms when the goal beckoned.
JD took the tiring Gilbey off and brought on a revitalised Clinton Morrison after 72 minutes. Suddenly a Rotherham scoreline looked possible and wave after wave of possession followed. But still no goal.
Tranmere's loanee from Liverpool – Peterson had an inspired game and proved a handful all match. But after he dived and the referee waved away Tranmere protests you sensed that we could still get something out of the game.
Jabo Ibehre missed another good chance, Bonne just missed when well placed and the faithful groaned “we don't want to score”. It was excruciating.
Wessex left slightly early to secure his train connection and so missed Clinton's calmness when despatching the ball for our solitary goal. Gradually Clinton had exerted more pressure on the Tranmere defence and as the clock ticked towards the 94th minute he deservedly scored from 8 yards with a well directed side footed goal past the time wasting Fon Williams.
Sadly there was no time to pull off another classic comeback.
So another defeat. It was interesting to note that when we showed attacking intent the Tranmere defence were shaky to say the least. Frankly though we lined up too defensively at a ground where we fare badly.
The U's have two weeks off and a chance to recharge some batteries and restore some of the walking wounded.
Lessons to be learned; we must stop presenting sides with 2 goal advantages before we decide to show intent.
Up the U's
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