Tranmere jump over Sheffield Wednesday after convincing 3-0 win
MANAGER Les Parry says he and Gary Megson have enjoyed many touchline arguments over the years – but there could be no disputing this result.
The rival bosses would surely reach agreement that in a game of limited chances, Tranmere Rovers were the team who showed their ruthless side.
Following a drab first-half, the second period was lit up by goals from Lateef Elford-Alliyu, Ian Goodison and finally Enoch Showunmi as Tranmere made the most of their opportunities in an eventful 45 minutes.
The dismissal of Wednesday’s Giles Coke in between Rovers’ first and second strikes aided the home cause for sure, but Rovers were in no mood to be obliging hosts.
Victory over the fallen giants at Prenton Park last night was not only one to enhance Parry’s CV but crucially too the three points which sees Tranmere leapfrog their opponents into 15th in the League One standings.
Parry admitted to being wary of the positive response the arrival of a new manager could garner on a club but after two games and consecutive defeats, Megson’s latest project remains immune to tradition.
For Tranmere, a third win in five games takes them onto 37 points and six clear of the relegation zone.
Unsurprisingly, Rovers’ manager Parry kept faith with the side which won convincingly at Plymouth Argyle over the weekend as Dale Jennings again missed out with a groin strain.
Tranmere’s only change to the match day 18 was the addition to the substitutes’ bench of new loan signing Robbie Weir who joined the Prenton Park club from Premier League Sunderland for the rest of the campaign.
The midfielder, 22, watched on as his new team-mates made a competitive start in a high tempo opening to the game, one charged by the excellent atmosphere at Prenton Park last night.
Rovers came close to breaking the deadlock after 13 minutes when Aaron Cresswell’s wicked cross was missed by Wednesday goalkeeper Nicky Weaver, who had been tempted from his line, only for the on-rushing Ash Taylor to head against the side netting from a tight angle.
Clear cut chances were hard to come by for either side in the half as Rovers were solid at the back with the extra defensive buffer of Taylor.
Though Goodison and then a retreating Lukas Akins had to put in smart challenges to deny sights of goal for Isaiah Osbourne and then Clinton Morrison.
Wednesday were equally as mean at the other end however Tranmere had yet to conduct many a meaningful attack on Weaver’s goal.
Perhaps typifying Rovers’ first-half efforts going forward was a free-kick routine which neatly sent Cresswell into space down the left flank only for the full-back to botch the attempted cross.
At the back however, Tranmere could ask for little more.
It would be a pattern carried over after the break as Sheffield Wednesday failed to show enough incision in front of a sturdy home rearguard, whilst Tranmere made life hard for themselves going forward with a catalogue of aimless hacks upfield in the general direction of Enoch Showunmi.
Giles Coke flashed a shot over from distance early in the second period before Gary Madine met a corner only to see his effort narrowly miss the far post in the most significant effort of the game up before everything changed and Tranmere struck on the hour.
The move which allowed Lateef Elford-Alliyu to rise above the Wednesday defence and nod home the opening goal was all Rovers had been lacking.
A neat reverse ball by Akins afforded John Welsh the time and space to send in a searching cross which the on-loan wing man met with a textbook header beyond the stretch of Weaver.
The evening soon got even better for Rovers as Coke was dismissed for a late lunge on Welsh on 63 and within two minutes of been handed a man advantage, the home side doubled their lead.
Cresswell’s delivery from the free-kick pitched wickedly in the area before bouncing off the surface and onto the run of Goodison who hammered home a close range header.
The gloss on a highly profitable second half came when Enoch Showunmi was given reward for his tireless work and when presented with Josh Labadie’s neat header, the forward volleyed home with conviction to make it 3-0.
Tranmere Rovers (4-3-3): Warner, Kay, Goodison, McChrystal, Cresswell, Taylor, Welsh (c), Labadie, Akins, Elford-Alliyu, Showunmi. Not used: Cathalina, Robinson, Weir, Collister, Wood, Bakayogo, McGurk.
Goals: Elford-Alliyu (60), Goodison (65), Showunmi (81)
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Weaver, Spurr, Reynolds (Jones 79), Johnson, Michael Morrison, Teale (Heffernan 68), O’Connor, Osbourne, Coke, C Morrison ©, Madine. Not used: Jameson, Hinds, Sedgwick, Beevers, Mellor.
Red Cards: Coke (63)
Referee: Mr N Swarbrick