Dec 27 2012 The Liverpool Post
SECOND-HALF strikes from Max Power and Adam McGurk rescued Tranmere from their recent slump as a three-match winless run was put to bed at Prenton Park.
Rovers looked to be up against it at the break as Crewe – thanks to a goal from their Newcastle United loanee Brad Inman – held the advantage.
However the home side roared back after the break to claim a first win in four and ensure they remain snapping on the heels of leaders Sheffield United, who won 3-0 at home to Scunthorpe.
That they did come back was thanks to a 58th-minute header from McGurk and Power’s 18-yard curler five minutes later – his first league goal for the club.
Tranmere had more of the early stages, with Liam Palmer’s reverse pass in the third minute sticking on the surface before it reached Michael O’Halloran.
Rovers – looking to bounce back from a 5-0 thrashing by Swindon Town last time out – continued to dominate possession, but only had Zoumana Bakayogo’s 11th-minute wild effort to show for it.
Crewe took the lead a minute later with their first attack of the match – Inman smashing home from 12 yards after Tranmere failed to deal with a high ball into the box.
The Scottish Under-21 international, on-loan to Alex from Premier League side Newcastle United, reacted first and sent his effort high into Owain Fon Williams’ net.
Alex thought they had doubled their lead on 18 minutes, but referee Paul Tierney pulled back play after Lauri Dalla Valle had fouled Bakayogo before squaring to Inman.
Rovers skipper Andy Robinson very nearly brilliantly crafted an equaliser for Tranmere on 23 minutes, sending in a tantalising ball which was pushed away by Steve Phillips, before Bakayogo smashed his follow-up wide.
The Frenchman was at the heart of all Tranmere’s good work, forcing a corner on 25 minutes after a one-two with Robinson led to a superb clearance from Harry Davis.
The Prenton Park faithful were starting to get frustrated and there were groans across the ground after Palmer’s cross-field pass was
intercepted by Matt Tootle on the half hour.
However, Rovers were not short of work-rate, with playmaker Robinson making a superb tackle minutes later as Crewe threatened through Tootle.
Crewe were defending their lead well, with Rovers being forced to go long as the Railwaymen got men behind the ball.
On-loan Wolves man Jake Cassidy, with 11 to his name this season, tried to get Rovers level as he turned Adam Dugdale but his 25-yard effort flew well wide.
Rovers were looking hesitant around Crewe’s 18-yard box, with Adam McGurk, Danny Holmes and Cassidy all giving up the chance to put a cross in.
A minute later, McGurk had the ball in the net, but Bakayogo had already been ruled offside as the home side struggled to find a leveller before the break.
Cassidy was nearly put through by Mark Ellis’ weak back header – the danger originally coming about after Abdul Osman had allowed the ball to bounce – but Crewe stopper Phillips just got there first.
The former league leaders went off at half time to a muted response from the home crowd.
Tranmere made the early running in the second half, with Bakayogo feeding Robinson, whose trickery nearly confused Tootle, but the Crewe man forced the ball out for a corner.
Bakayogo was on a one-man mission to get Rovers level, breaking clear on 53 minutes before smashing his shot at Phillips, who blocked well.
But it was McGurk who got Tranmere level on 58 minutes leaping highest in the six-yard box to power home a fine header past Phillips from Robinson’s floated cross.
Rovers nearly went ahead on the hour, when Palmer’s first-time effort took an age to bobble along the six-yard box and hit the post, before Phillips gathered.
Crewe tried to hit back two minutes later, but Dalla Valle could only fire into Fon Williams’ side-netting with Mathias Pogba in the box.
Rovers did take the lead on 63 minutes when Power, with his first league goal of the season.
He curled a delightful effort from the edge of the 18-yard box and into the top right-hand corner.
Alex were shaken by the Rovers’ barrage, and Davis shanked a shot wide on 67 minutes despite players waiting for the delivery.
Crewe boss Steve Davis tried to get back in the game, and made a double substitution, sending on Max Clayton and Byron Moore for Pogba and Dalla Valle on 70 minutes.
But it was Rovers who were seeking a third goal and Ash Taylor showed great control on 73 minutes while sitting down to tee up Palmer, whose effort was deflected over for a corner.
Fon Williams made a fine save low down to his left in stoppage time as
Luke Murphy tried to get his side level in the dying minutes.
TRANMERE: Fon Williams, Holmes, Taylor, Daniels, Bakayogo, McGurk, Palmer, Power, Robinson (Thompson 87), Cassidy, O’Halloran. Subs not used: Mooney, Black, Goodison, Harrison, Stockton, Kay
CREWE: Phillips, Tootle, Davis, Ellis, Dugdale, Robertson, Murphy, Inman, Osman (Aneke 83), Pogba (Moore 70), Dalla Valle (Clayton 71). Subs nut used: Garratt, Guthrie, Mellor, Colclough.