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MATCH REPORT: Tranmere Rovers 1-0 Swindon Town

Rovers first half goal proves the defining moment as Town’s quest for a much needed victory continues…

10 April 2023

Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Tranmere Rovers 1-0 Swindon Town

Rovers first half goal proves the defining moment as Town’s quest for a much needed victory continues…

10 April 2023

Swindon’s run of league games without a win continued as Harvey Saunders’ first half strike proved enough to earn Tranmere Rovers all three points at Prenton Park, and extend the Robins’ barren run to eight.

Town started brightly and were probably the better side in the first half, but were punished on 21-minutes as Rovers broke the deadlock with a sweeping move and proceeded to get men behind the ball in the second period to limit the Robins’ opportunities on goal.

And it was Saunders’ goal that was the decisive moment, meaning Town slip to twelfth in the table with their fourth straight defeat.  

Jody Morris made three changes to his starting line-up from the side that were beaten 4-2 by Mansfield on Good Friday at the County Ground, with Jonny Williams, Marcel Lavinier and Tyrese Shade taking the places of Ronan Darcy, Remeao Hutton and striker Charlie Austin.

Onto the action, and Swindon kicked things off with an early ricochet as early as the first minute which split the Tranmere defence but had too much on it for Jacob Wakeling to latch onto.

Moments later, Regan Hendry sent in a dangerous free-kick from the left side which was headed back across goal and into the path of the onrushing Josh Hawkes, but it had too much pace on it and he could only nod high and wide.

Town won a free kick on 16-minutes as Rushian Hepburn-Murphy was felled around 25-yards from goal, but Tyrese Shade, looking to bend a long range effort over the wall towards to the top left corner, shot over the bar.

On 19-minutes, George McEachran’s whipped corner from the left was met by Frazer Blake-Tracy at the near post, and it needed a deflection to see it narrowly wide of the post, leaving the defender with his head in his hands.

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Then came the sucker punch for Jody Morris’ side as Town conceded on 21-minutes.

The hosts capitalised on some loose defensive play by Town which ended with Josh Hawkes being sent clear inside the box before he cut the ball back from the by-line for Harvey Saunders to steal in and tap home, just ahead of the diving Sol Brynn.

Swindon’s reaction was a good one though as they looked to level things up immediately. Saidou Khan had a shot blocked by Rovers defender Ethan Bristow before Hepburn-Murphy found Marcel Lavinier in acres of space.

Unfortunately, his powerful cross aiming for Jonny Williams at the far post proved just too high for the midfielder and a potential effort on goal went begging.

With two minutes left on the clock before the interval, Town went close again with Hepburn-Murphy the orchestrator, slipping in Williams on the right to cross towards the back post where Joe Tomlinson was waiting unmarked.

However, the defender could only smash his effort into the ground from a tricky angle where Rovers stopper Mateusz Hewelt was able to gather through a sea of bodies, before the linesman’s flag was eventually raised for offside.

Hepburn-Murphy was to sting the fingertips of Hewelt seconds later with a long range strike, but Town were left to reflect on a frustrating first 45-minutes as the half was brought to an end.

Onto the second period and Swindon looked to equalise early on, as George McEachran’s clever chip found Hepburn-Murphy in the box, but despite turning on a sixpence and leaving his marker standing, his cross/shot was easily gathered by Hewelt at his near post.

Swindon then enjoyed another good spell of possession before both Jonny Williams and Tyrese Shade went close.

First, the Welsh midfielder struck one from range forcing a diving parry from Hewelt, whose diversion presented itself to the onrushing Shade in the area, but from a narrow angle, he smashed his effort high and wide.

The 59th minute saw Ronan Darcy replace Saidou Khan and Marcel Lavinier come off for Remeao Hutton, as Jody Morris looked to freshen his pack, but it was the hosts who created the games next chance.

The burly figure of Kane Hemmings had proved a thorn in Town’s side all afternoon, and the striker went close on 66-minutes.

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After outmuscling Joe Tomlinson on the right flank, he drove towards goal before shooting low, narrowly missing the left post when he should probably have tested Sol Brynn.

Then two minutes later, Josh Hawkes was unable to hold his nerve when played clean through by Tom Davies, as he put his left-footed shot wide with only Brynn to beat – a huge chance for the home side.

Jake Cain and Luke Jephcott were introduced to the action on 70-minutes, and Town would create their best chance of the game shortly after.

A probing run on the right by Remeao Hutton saw him beat his man and dribble into the box before lashing a low cross into the danger area, and although Williams connected, he couldn’t get enough on it, and a combination of last-ditch Rovers defending on the goal line somehow prevented the ball from trickling in before Hewelt gathered.

It was all Town but they were just lacking that cutting edge, and were almost made to pay for committing players forward with five minutes remaining, as Hemmings found space in the box, but off balance, he shot into the turf and Brynn did well to parry the effort and scoop the ball into his chest before Hawkes could connect with the rebound.

Referee Andrew Kitchen brought the clash to an end after four minutes of stoppage time, and Town were made to pay for their missed opportunities, extending their winless streak to eight and slipping to twelfth in the table as a consequence.

MATCH INFORMATION:

Tranmere Rovers Line-up: 4-4-2

23. Mateusz Hewelt (GK) – 5. Tom Davies, 2. Josh Dacres-Cogley, 14. Jordan Turnbull, 3. Ethan Bristow, 24. Regan Hendry, 19. Logan Chalmers (34. Florent Hoti 71mins), 11. Josh Hawkes, 4. Lee O’Connor, 10. Kane Hemmings ©, 26. Harvey Saunders (33. Jay Turner-Cooke 63mins).

Subs not used: 17. Rhys Hughes, 32. Samuel Taylor, 25. Joel Mumbongo, 27. Jake Burton.

Goals: Saunders 22

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Swindon Town Line-up: 4-3-3

  1. Sol Brynn (GK) – 7. Joe Tomlinson, 12. Tom Brewitt, 20. Frazer Blake-Tracy ©, 22. Marcel Lavinier (2. Remeao Hutton 60mins), 23. Saidou Khan (10. Ronan Darcy 60mins), 8. Jonny Williams, 5. George McEachran (16. Jake Cain 71mins), 28. Tyrese Shade, 24. Jacob Wakeling, 19. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (15. Luke Jephcott 71mins).

Subs not used: 25. Conor Brann (GK) – 4. Tom Clayton, 21. Dylan Kadji.

Goals: None

Yellow Cards: 5. McEachran 36mins.

Red Cards: None

HT: 1-0

Referee: Andrew Kitchen

Assistant Referees: Hristo Karaivanov & Richard Woodward

Fourth Official: Marvyn Amphlett

Attendance: 5,564


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