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08/05 Tranmere Part 2

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 09/05/2004

ROAR, roar, roar; on and on. Darn it, the Tranmere players are trying too. Space, always space on the flanks for Hall and Beresford. "Behind you Campbell". Too late, Beresford free, a cross from the bye line, a swipe clear by Edwards, a lunging thwack from Young.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Tranmere (a)

Prenton Park

Tranmere Rovers 2 Grimsby Town 1
08 May 2004, Nationwide League Division 2

A last ditch clearance, the ball not falling for Tranmere. Phew. Hall free, as free as the wind blows, but Barnard’s international boot sometimes arrives to clear. Fettis slipped when Edwards left a long punt over the top, forcing the mechanic into some impromptu repairs, sliding away for a corner. He headed that clear too.

Around the quarter hour mark Town had, in the context of this game, concerted pressure and retained possession. The ball suddenly flubbered through to Rankin, 30 yards out. He shimmied, shammied and burst past Sharps. Out came a leg, down went Rankin on the edge of the penalty area, just to the right of centre. Rankin would have been free, in on goal. The referee walked slowly over and revealed... a chicken! No, not that. A yellow card. O lucky man. Jevons and Barnard discussed the declining banana production in the Dominican Republic for a few moments, then the feet of cod curled a right footed shot over the wall. The ball drooped, dipped and Achterberg left earth to pinch it over the bar. The corner was punted in to the centre and there was an almighty car crash inside the area as the ball bombled and bibbled about, missing the wafting boots and bouncing heads. It was a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world inside the penalty area. All very exciting in a chaotic sort of way. Something might happen, maybe. If we’re lucky.

Yes! Now! By hook or by crook the ball rebounded into space behind the Tranmere defence, on their centre right. Mansaram suddenly free, inside the penalty area. Inwards, onwards, the left boot drawn back and....a terrible shot sliced a couple of yards wide of the near post. Awful, awful attempt. All Grimbarian heads in hands. Campbell headed tamely towards goal at some stage. I can’t remember when it was, maybe it never was. It was Campbell, after all, and I never am sure whether I have made him up for comic effect. Is he Town’s pink rabbit? Have we been victims of mass hallucination for four years? Yes that’s it, he’s a secret government experiment, Operation Stuart Campbell, masterminded from Porton Down.

Hang on to your Wembley ’98 hats, their full back, Taylor, is rampaging down the middle. Closer, closer still, slowly being subsumed under a monochrome blanket, as Young, Edwards, Lawrence , Crowe and finally Jevons melted the ball away. Still got your hat, have you?

After about 25 minutes Tranmere started to counter attack down the Town right. Coldicott chased after the left back and produced a magnificent diving, rolling, scraping tackle. The ball rolled back to Crowe who tippled it down the touchline towards Rankin, just inside the Tranmere half. Rankin rolled and wrestled with Goodison, before using his full compliment of testosterone to flex himself down the line. Off he went, with Goodison dunked in boiling water. Roberts took up the pursuit, manhandling and mauling all the way. Rankin shrugged him off and hared away into the area, defenders plunging back towards goal. Wide of goal, near the touchline with Achterberg wobbling towards him, Rankin clattered the ball through the six yards box. The ball hit a defender’s shins and bounced away from goal. MANSARAM hopped on one foot, re-adjusted his weight, swivelled and swiped the ball into the left hand corner from a couple of yards out. Precision finishing from the boy wonder. The Town fans? Oh, they were quite happy. It was decided that we were staying up. No, not to watch the Premiership, but in the second division. Chicken counting is our second favourite pastime.

Lawrenceyellow card
Mansaramgoalyellow card


Anderson86 mins
Hockless66 mins


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The party started early. Tranmere were reminded that they were supposed to be at home and also offers were made to sing for them. Disappointingly the Town fans never did decide which song they were going to sing. All I Want For Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit was suggested, but the rich harmonies were too complex for the teenagers. Too many notes my dear Barnard.

And that’s it from Town as an attacking force. Forget it. Nothing. Town stopped what limited football they had been playing and resorted to blind whacks downfield. I suppose the aesthetes would overlook this if Town won. But there were still 65 minutes left. We could hope Tranmere wouldn’t be bothered.

Unfortunately, they were. Beresford pecked at Crowe, Hall nibbled at Barnard and Jones battered Young. Balls crossed; balls ricocheting around; a Lawrence block; another Lawrence block; Coldicott thrusting himself at swiping boots. The ball constantly ping-ponging around the Town penalty area. Young, bravely diving at Jones’ feet to head clear from inside the 6 yards box. Young again, sliding meticulously to tickle the ball away from Hume. Another shot flannelled through the area, dunked into the stands by Edwards. Edwards again charming Jones away, then heading clear. Hold your breath: Tranmere raging forward again through Taylor who drifted a shot a foot from the angle of post and bar as Fettis bounced to his left. Another shot: high and wide. Relief.

We want half time. We need half time.

We’re not getting half time. Three minutes added? Where did that come from? More crosses through the box, missing limbs. What’s happening? That’s it, over; half time happiness.

Half time: Tranmere Rovers 0 Grimsby Town 1

So there we are. Everything in our own hands. Sitting pretty; safe. We‘re winning, no-one else is. We’ll just go off and wax down our surfboards, we can’t wait for June.

Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk

"Are you queuing to come in or go out?"
"This time last year we’d already been relegated. Things are improving."
"Joan Sutherland is too big for our cat flap."
"Hairstyle’s don’t grow on trees you know."
"How can we blow it now? Just wait a few minutes"

The report continues in the Second Half.

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