Tranmere Rovers 1-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 18th Jan 2020 16:02
Manny Monthe’s 32nd minute goal has given Tranmere a 1-0 lead over Town at Prenton Park at half-time.
James Norwood was surprisingly dropped to the bench against his former club with Kayden Jackson returning to an otherwise unchanged team.
Will Norris continued in goal behind a back three of skipper Luke Chambers, James Wilson and Luke Woolfenden. Gwion Edwards and Luke Garbutt were the wing-backs.
In midfield, the Blues fielded the same trio of Flynn Downes and Emyr Huws behind Alan Judge with Jackson, who missed the 0-0 draw at Oxford with a minor hamstring problem, joining Will Keane up front.
Tranmere made two changes from the team which drew 0-0 at Southend last weekend with skipper and keeper Scott Davies returning for loanee Aaron Chapman, who has returned to Peterborough, and Liam Ridehalgh in for Calum Woods at the back.
Given the boggy pitch, it was little surprise the game started scruffily with the ball sticking on the surface a couple of times within the first couple of minutes.
Tranmere struck the game’s first shot in the 12th minute but Connor Jennings’s strike from some distance was blocked. Nevertheless, it woke up the previously quiet home supporters.
Huws hit Town’s first effort in the 16th minute, Davies stopping it but as on a number of occasions at Portman Road earlier in the season failing to hold on. Fortunately for Rovers the loose ball fell safely.
The Blues were beginning to get on top and a minute later Chambers shot from distance but his strike curled away from goal and behind.
Despite the conditions, Town began to pass the ball around nicely on their right flank, which wasn’t quite as much of a quagmire as the left. On 24 a neat interchange on the right ended with Edwards whipping over a cross which eventually fell to Keane, whose overhead kick was too close to Davies.
Two minutes later, Keane did well to out-battle his man and had a chance to play in Jackson to his left as the pair broke on goal but the former Manchester United trainee overhit his pass.
In the 29th minute a Judge corner on the left was cleared out to Downes, whose well-struck shot was blocked by David Perkins, a Town target during the Mick McCarthy era.
However, despite the Blues having been on top, it was Rovers who took the lead. Garbutt fouled Jake Caprice on the right flank and Monthe rose highest to nod the Tranmere right-back’s freekick into the far corner of the net past Norris.
Perkins was shown the game’s first yellow card for a late trip on Edwards, then on 37 it was almost 2-0. Peter Clarke was found in the area and hit a low shot on the turn which flew only just past Norris’s left post.
Town faded having conceded but as half-time approached they threatened again. Judge played a clever ball into the path of Jackson on the left, he crossed and Keane missed his kick and eventually he scuffed a chipped cross towards Judge straight to Davies.
Soon after, the whistle ended the half with the scoreline not really a reflection of the balance of the game.
The Blues had seem most of the ball and had managed to pass it around at times, while also looking to hit Keane and Jackson quickly, an unsurprising approach given the surface.
They had had one or two chances but without overly testing Davies in the Tranmere goal.
Town will have to show more teeth in and around the area in the second half and an early introduction of Norwood against his old club wouldn’t be a surprise.
Tranmere: Davies, Caprice, Clarke, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Morris, Danns, Perkins, Woodyard, Jennings, Ferrier. Subs: Pilling, Nelson, Banks, Gilmour, Blackett-Taylor, Payne, Mullin.
Town: Norris, Chambers (c), Wilson, Woolfenden, Edwards, Downes, Huws, Garbutt, Judge, Keane, Jackson. Subs: Holy, Earl, Skuse, Norwood, Nolan, Bishop, Sears. Referee: John Busby (Oxfordshire).
Photo: Action Images
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