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Next Two Opponents

By: Dan Humphrey
Date: 29/11/2000

On Saturday Jack Lester managed to break the leg of Tranmere's long-throw specialist Dave Challinor, arguably Rovers best defender, and he's out for 6 months. But John "I've never got any money" Aldridge has brought in keeper Tommy Myrhe on loan from Everton, possibly the best goalie in Division 1.

Living in Merseyside as a Grimsby exile, I was able to check out Town's next two opponents in the league play each other last night in the Worthington Cup.

First half: Austin's mistake nearly let Taylor in. Roberts ran at a few players, and Tranmere kept crossing from all over. And the Palace goalie has a big kick. Thats it for first half!

Second half: Forsell shows good skill, sets up Thomson, Myrhe makes good save. Palace very good at corners, lots of height, Forsell nearly scores despite being fouled, and defender clears off the line. Next corner Zhiyi heads just wide. Tranmere players probably couldn't see the ball as an enormous object moved into their way (Neil Ruddock).

Extra time: Tranmere bring on Parkinson and Henry. Henry looks like he and Ruddock have been in a pie-eating competition. Henry puts a shot over, then Parkinson sets up Koumas for a chance 2 yards out. He can't miss, it's a great ball, the keeper's stumbling across the goal, and even Lee Nogan couldnt miss this Koumas puts it a yard wide.

Then there was a nice penalty shoot out Henry missed, Mullins had one saved, Ruddock nearly missed, and into sudden death at 4-4. Forsell (why is their best striker number 7 at penalties?) missed (oh that's why). Then Allen's was saved too, before some guy called Kabba scored for Palace. Hazell then missed a la Chris Waddle Italia 90, and it was all over. Tranmere are out, Palace are through.

A rare Tranmere game Clint Hill was not sent off, there were no long throws, and Parkinson didnt score in the dying minutes. The good news for Town is that Tranmere's exit might mean they cant afford to get a Premiership defender on loan to replace the injured Challinor.

A predictable post-match Aldridge comment: "There's no justice, despite it appearing to be a close game."

My guess is that Town could beat Palace, provided that Forsell is closely watched and that we dont concede any corners. As for Tranmere, we shouldnt lose, but that'll depend mainly on whether our midfield can take the game to them. Their danger men are Allison - v.tall, Parkinson - v.fast, Koumas - half decent passer but inconsistent. The left wing back Roberts is pretty useful too. He'd get in the Town team....

Tranmere: Myrhe, Roberts, Hill, Hinds, Hazell, Allen, Koumas, Flynn, Rideout, Taylor, Allison.
Subs: Parkinson, Henry, Yates, Murphy (GK) and Hume.

Palace: Kolinko, Smith, Austin, Zhiyi, Ruddock, Harrison, Thomson, Morrison, Mullins, Forsell, Black
Subs: a load of youngsters I've never heard of.

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