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08/05 Tranmere 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 09/05/2004

TRANMERE replaced Beresford with Big Dadi at half time. Oh dear. Horrible, horrible, terrible, awful. What kind of team talk had Fester the Bogeyman given? Town were incapable of passing to each other, and were static spectators as Tranmere buzzed around.

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

Prenton Park

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

They didn’t need anything from the game, yet they were the ones in perpetual motion. Town were forced back, and back, and back, with Dadi causing mayhem and Hume tormenting Crowe. Corners, more corners, hysteria in the wisteria garden.

A corner from their left dropped inside the six yards box and the ball disappeared into a great big footballing sponge cake, with Dadi the sweet cream filling. Up he leapt to do an overhead kick, down he went. Where’s the ball? Don’t panic, don’t panic. Where is it? Gone, out, somewhere, somehow, by someone.

About 10 minutes into the half Tranmere broke up a Town attack down their right. Jevons stepped up to the full back and watched him tap it up to a team mate on the touchline. Barnard waddled up and Jevons turned and trotted back, straight to the man with the ball. Taylor simply sprinted up in a straight line and received a little dink infield, before carrying on. Free, alone, a vast acreage to aim for; like wildebeest flowing across the savannah he was a beautiful sight for Tranmerians. He looked up and saw the unmarked Hume waving at him. He crossed. HUME, about a dozen yards out beyond the far post, rose like Poseidon and firmly headed across Fettis, the ball bouncing in off the inside of the post. Silence in the Cowshed.

A minute later, delight in the Cowshed. Mansaram received the ball with his back to goal just outside the Tranmere penalty area, shivered around Sharp and was held back. Free kick to Town. Red card for Sharp. Pandemonium. Delightful, delovely, dewonderful thought the Town fans. It’s all going our way. Nothing happened from the free kick. Hey all we have to do is keep the ball. Right? Simple. Right? On the hour Mansaram chased an aimless tip over the top. Achterberg lumbered out and, near the left hand corner of the penalty area, flay hacked the ball against Loran. The ball ricocheted back past the ‘keeper skipping, sliding, sailing towards goal. The Town fans rose, then sat down again as the ball missed the post by a foot. A corner, then another, tapped short by Barnard, mucked about, messed up, crossed badly. The ball was cleared out towards their left hand side with Hume running after Lawrence, who underhit a pass to Coldicott. Stacy slid and tackled Hume, forcing the ball off his shins towards Lawrence, who knocked the ball into Town’s half. Hume chased. Lawrence, right on the touchline, turned and passed straight back to Hume, who had a clear route towards goal. Hume advanced, Crowe backed off, Dadi ran behind Crowe whilst Barnard stopped. Hume smoothed the ball past Crowe and DADI calmly rolled it slowly across Fettis and into the bottom left hand corner, via the post. If you turn to page 888 of CEEFAX you can read what the Town fans were saying at that moment.

A couple of young men got ejected from the Town end, one presumably for wearing a distressing jumper.

Town shrank into a burbling, bumbling goo. Half the side fought, half the side watched like frightened rabbits. The response was to kick it forward even more quickly, even more aimlessly. Without shape, without form. We’ve been there before this season, haven’t we. Chesterfield were winning, Luton had scored, the usual wild rumours spread, with the home supporters giving arbitrary cheers and jeers, just to fling a bit more rock ferry salt into the gaping head wound. It’s so very lonely when you’re 2,000 Town fans from home.

Lawrenceyellow card
Mansaramgoalyellow card


Anderson86 mins
Hockless66 mins


Clive Penton


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In the 66th minute Hockless replaced Mansaram with Jevons....oh, you know the bit that follows. Hockless immediately upped the pace and won a corner with some tomfool-trickery on the left. Shrug if you want to, nothing happened from the corner.

Town . What were they? Shocking, desperate, a mess, route one dross. Hoping and wishing and praying. A Rankin flick, a Jevons nod. Nearly, almost, maybe, never. The imperious Goodison had Rankin within his sphere of influence. Try as he may, and he did - boy did he try - Rankin was simply unable. Add any word you want, but Rankin couldn’t do anything. Jevons flittered and flattered, dancing feet and no substance, his usual centre forward performance. With some of the players the more they give, the less you get. And the same for the fans; the more we implored, exhorted, demanded, pleaded, the less Town produced. What’s the use of trying, all you get is pain. Are you still a believer?

If anything Tranmere, yes 10 man happy holiday Tranmere , looked the more likely to score. Town didn’t have a defence, just the occasional bloke standing about at the back. Edwards and Young seemed to be permanently up field. While the cats were away Hume was at play, shooting straight at Fettis from the edge of the area. More attacks down the wings, more crosses; Shirley Crabtree a menace, a showboating fancy flicker on a different plain to the Town team. Hume and Dadi were superior. A shot over the bar, a shot from the left, a shot from the right; let’s go to Tranmere again sometime.

At some point the Tranmere fans claimed handball against Edwards when he shuffled a huge drop kick back to Fettis. That’s just being greedy, isn’t it. They must have realised that we’d come to spoil our own party: they didn’t have to do it for us.

Pump it up, pump it long. Hoof, hoof, hoof. Campbell fouled, Campbell jostling, Barnard rolled the free kick towards Crowe on the edge of the area. Let it go! Hockless lurked in the middle waiting, but Crowe drumbled a left foot shot straight at Achterberg. Without power, without direction, without hope. With about 10 minutes left, suddenly hope: Hockless in space gambolling towards goal. About 25 yards out he let rip; the ball wobbled, Achterberg wibbled and spectacularly punched the ball aside, just past Edwards. Retrieved, the ball was swished back to ... Young on the wing, who sidestepped, twisted and clipped a dangerous cross into the centre. So that’s the two centre backs being the creative soul of the team eh?

As the minutes ticked by the mood sank lower and lower and lower. Even with ten men Tranmere were individually and collectively superior. They passed the ball to each other. And moved. Didn’t we used to do that? Barnard smacked a shot through the area, cleared away from goal near the line. Barnard squelching a free kick from about 30 yards straight at the ‘keeper. Hockless almost tip-toed Jevons free, but a giant Wirral boot saved their day from a pin prick of embarrassment. With a couple of minutes left Campbell was replaced by Anderson., who immediately outfought a defender for a long ball, seared in to the penalty area and crossed into the near post. Straight in Achterberg’s arms.

"Nicky, Nicky give us a wave." Goodbye.

For the sake of completeness you may want to know that Fettis made a save at the end when some Tranmere bloke cut in from their right and shot towards his near post. They probably had some other shots too, but the concrete floor suddenly had a strange fascination.

The whistle blew and we all knew. We’d heard the news today, oh boy. And the news was rather sad. It was only the Tranmere fans who had to laugh. In typical Town fashion hope clings like a virulent virus, striking at the very last when things just might be turning out fine, despite everything.

Strung out behind us were the banners and flags proclaiming defiance but the Town team, like the season, lies in tatters and rags. All our pretensions laid bare: we’re back in the third, we ARE a third division team. Once upon a time we were dragged up from the gutter through tough love, and now we’re back in it like a recidivist, an alcoholic. You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.

Still, we’ll be back. Somewhere, someday, somehow.

Nicko’s Edwards of the Match

Finally, always and forever, Mike Edwards: a foot, a head, whatever body part needed, it was there. Young Young was okay beside him, but Edwards bestrode the match, the season, this tortuous, treacherous pregnant season.

Official Warning

Mr C Penton. Mr Penton at Prenton? How fishy. Rather wobbled over Taylor’s last man scythe on Rankin, but made up for it later. Tranmere fans complained a lot, probably to keep them going over the duller summer months, but he wasn’t that bad. They would probably describe him as egregious. Adequate and worthy of a seasonally adjusted 6.251.

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