Tranmere defeat sees Bluebirds relegation fight drag on
Tranmere Rovers 1-0 Barrow AFC
A combination of David Nugent’s winning goal and wins for both Grimsby and Southend ensured Barrow’s fight for League Two survival must continue into the remaining three games, after a 1-0 loss at Prenton Park.
Former Tranmere man, Ollie Banks returned to the starting XI, alongside Chris Taylor, as Jason Taylor and Neil Eardley made way as Rob Kelly looked to freshen up the line-up following the home defeat to Port Vale.
The home side started in positive fashion and put the Bluebirds defence under pressure from the off but struggled to carve their way through Barrow’s defence who, themselves, caused early panic against the run of play with a Luke James long throw.
James was again involved with Barrow’s first real sight of goal, when the busy frontman nicked the ball off a defender before playing in Scott Quigley, although the Bluebirds’ top scorer could only fire at Joe Murphy.
The Tranmere stopper had more trouble dealing with Kgosi Ntlhe’s strike from distance, as the defender’s effort bobbled dangerously right in front of him, causing slight panic before Murphy managed to readjust to keep the ball out and the scoreline level at half-time.
Things improved for the hosts in the second half and they tested Joel Dixon with a Peter Clarke’s thundering header, which the Barrow man did fantastically well to keep out.
The half was becoming all Tranmere, as Kane Woolery broke into the box to fizz a ball across goal that was diverted just wide by Paul Lewis, although Barrow may have snatched the lead, had Quigley been able to cap off a swift counter-attack.
The Bluebirds were swiftly made to rue missing that rare chance, however, when Liam Feeney’s dangerous cross was deftly flicked passed Dixon by the head of David Nugent to put the hosts firmly in control.
The veteran striker almost doubled his tally, when he seized on a poor clearance to curl an effort on goal that beat both Dixon and the upright, whilst the Bluebirds keeper had to be at his best to tip Lewis’ header onto the crossbar to keep his side in with a chance.
It was a chance that Barrow couldn’t grasp, however, as Banks’ wild free-kick from 30 yards summed up Barrow’s lacklustre afternoon, as they fell to their third defeat in as many games.
Tranmere Rovers (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Lee, Clarke, Monthe, MacDonald; Lewis, Spearing; Morris (Nugent 46), Feeney, Lloyd (Khan 46); Woolery. Subs not used: Jones, Ridehalgh, Blackett-Taylor, Jolley, Ray.
Barrow AFC (3-5-2): Dixon; Thomas, Platt, Ntlhe; Barry, C.Taylor, Banks, Beadling (Devitt 81), Brough; James (Sea 81), Quigley (Andrew 81). Subs not used: Moloney, J.Taylor, Eardley.