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Match Report: Latics v Tranmere


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Latics v Tranmere – 3.2.07 – By Sarah Chambers

 

The return of Ronnie Moore to Boundary Park for the first time since he was dismissed was sure to be a match not to be missed.

 

Latics were second in the league and Tranmere were just outside the playoffs, a win against most of the Latics player’s ex-manager would see them go top of the league for the first time this season, as Scunthorpe and Bristol City don’t play their match until the following Monday.

 

The boys in blue had hit a bit of a rocky patch at the start of the year, however a win against Northampton the following Saturday appeared to have put Latics back on track.

 

It was a different story for Tranmere who had had a 2-0 thumping by Gillingham the previous week and a 1-1 draw against Bradford the week before that. The fans were getting fed up and were calling for ‘Ronnie Out’.

 

Sheridan fielded an unchanged side, with Craig Rocastle retaining his place, even though Gary McDonald was available for selection after a one-match ban. On the bench youngster Ryan Smith replaced Terry Smith who was injured in training during the week and McDonald was preferred to fellow midfielder Paul Edwards.

 

As the players entered the field, Boundary Park erupted, with chants aimed at Ronnie Moore ringing throughout the ground; he would have been sorely mistaken if he thought he would get a quiet reception at Boundary Park.

 

Latics started shooting towards the Chaddy End in the first half, however last time they were shooting that way in the first half they lost 3-0 to high flyers Bristol City.

 

The match started very slowly with neither team looking too interested in the opening minutes, apart from one Tranmere defender who appeared to get football mixed up with karate and booted Simon Charlton, although the referee did nothing.

 

Latics finally got started just over ten minutes in when captain Will Haining’s header just fired over the bar.

 

This immediately woke Tranmere up, and they then went down the other end of the pitch and created a chance, not too different to the one Latics had just missed, but Chris Greenacres’s shot suffered the same fate as Haining’s.

 

The only real chance in the half fell to Chris Porter whose shot was quite comfortably saved by Gavin Ward in the Tranmere goal.

 

The rest of the half was of a very poor standard with Tranmere looking like the spitting image of how Latics played last season under Ronnie Moore. Simon Charlton was replaced late on in the half due to an injury and was replaced by youngster Kelvin Lomax.

 

At half time, Latics weren’t top of the league as Nottingham Forest were winning against Bradford, not really an unexpected result, but with the performance put in by Latics in the first half they certainly didn’t warrant the top position, and to win the match they would have to improve by quite a considerable amount.

 

The second half saw a slight improvement in both teams, although there was the odd chant from the Chaddy End of ‘Hoof!’ when Tranmere aimlessly fired the ball into the air.

 

The chances were roughly equal for both teams, with both teams going close on a few occasions but neither team taking the advantage.

 

Latics appeared to have the upper hand in terms of possession as it appeared that Tranmere had done some basketball training recently as none of the Rovers players could keep their hands off the ball, but despite this none of the boys in blue took the advantage.

 

Midway through the half Chris Hall replaced fellow striker Paul Warne and Gary McDonald replaced Craig Rocastle who replaced him in the starting eleven.

 

These changes, once again, appeared to spur Latics on and they had the best chances of the final exchanges but the strike force of Porter and Hall couldn’t break through the Rover’s defence, until a shot from Chris Hall in the final few minutes of normal time, which looked like it was destined to go in the back of the net, but to the disappointment of the Latics fans it rebounded back out off the inside of the post. This looked like it wasn’t going to be Latics’ day at all.

 

This was until deep into injury time when Chris Porter fired a shot into the box. It then becomes unclear as to who actually scored the goal. Depending on which source you go with it is a number of players including Porter, Hall the Tranmere ‘keeper, two of the Tranmere defenders. In fact the only person whose name hasn’t been thrown in was Pogliacomi who was at the other end of the pitch.

 

Boundary Park went mad. For the first time this season Latics were top of the league. Fans were so involved in the celebrations that most of the fans didn’t even realise Richie Wellens had been sent off for an apparent stamp on a Tranmere defender.

 

It was then down to an agonising few minutes for Latics fans when Tranmere came close, but apart from some magnificent gymnastics by ‘keeper Pogliacomi, Latics would have gone behind.

 

Nottingham Forest had let a late equaliser against Bradford, not that it mattered as Latics would have gone top even if Forest had won.

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