Tranmere Rovers 3-2 Maidenhead United: Rovers close in on top spot with seventh successive home victory

By Peter Tscherewik

Goals from James Norwood, debutant Josh Ginnelly and Jeff Hughes helped Tranmere Rovers secure a well-deserved 3-2 win over Maidenhead United.

Rovers started the better of the two sides and made the best possible start as Norwood scored his 11th league goal of the campaign in the fourth minute.

The visitors offered very little in the first-half as they struggled to cope with Tranmere’s slick, attacking play, but the two sides went into the break at 1-0.

Debutant Ginnelly grabbed a deserved debut goal shortly after the restart to put Micky Mellon’s side in control of the fixture, before Sean Barratt hit back for Maidenhead after 55 minutes.

Hughes was introduced as a late substitute and made an instant impact, firing home from range less than a minute after coming on.

The result sees Micky Mellon’s side stay in fifth place in the Vanarama National League table, but more importantly only five points adrift of leaders Macclesfield.

Tranmere came into this match on the back of a tight 1-0 away win against Woking last weekend, with this fixture being Rovers’ first at Prenton Park in 2018. Micky Mellon’s side started the game quickly in a slick, attacking fashion as they pegged the visitors back.

Rovers were awarded for their early pressing after only four minutes as Ollie Norburn played the ball into Norwood who whipped the ball into the corner from 25-yards, claiming his 11th domestic goal of this season. The visitors responded well after going behind but struggled to cause goalkeeper Rhys Taylor any problems in the early stages.


James Norwood firing home Tranmere’s opening goal (Credit – Tranmere Rovers)

It wasn’t until the 15th minute that the shotstopper was called into action, where he darted off his line to punch the ball away and deny the oncoming Moses Emmanuel. That piece of play marked the start of a good spell for Maidenhead as both Barratt and Sean Marks fired efforts at goal in quick succession.

Micky Mellon will have felt a little frustrated to go in at half-time only a goal ahead, particularly after Norwood missed a golden opportunity on the stroke of half-time as his one-on-one hoodoo continues to haunt him.

The Super White Army didn’t have to wait long for a goal after the restart however, as Norwood’s excellent work from deep set Ginnelly through on goal who jinked it around Pentney before tapping home into an open net. Maidenhead quickly snatched a goal back from nothing on 57 minutes, as Barratt nipped in at the front post to prod it past Taylor.


Debutant Josh Ginnelly was a constant threat for Rovers and made it 2-0 to the home side (Credit – Tranmere Rovers)

With the game hanging in the balance for both sides, Tranmere often looked uncomfortable in possession and nerves began to set in around Prenton Park as the match edged closer to the final whistle.

Maidenhead continued to press onto the Tranmere defence but in truth their attacking efforts were poor, with captain Steve McNulty very much equal to the physical presence of the visitors’ frontline. An awful lot of credit must be given to the veteran defender for turning out in this match, particularly after the shin injury he sustained against Woking.

As the clock hit the 80th minute Micky Mellon introduced midfielder Hughes in place of Ginnelly who was rightly given a standing ovation as he went off. It took less than a minute for Hughes to have a damning impact on the game as he extended Rovers’ lead to two goals with a stunning low effort from range that left Pentney stranded.


Celebrations as Jeff Hughes bags Rovers’ third goal (Credit – Tranmere Rovers)

Rovers have often conceded goals in the latter stages of matches in this domestic campaign, and this game proved to be no different. Maidenhead’s second goal again came from a sloppy set-piece as Remy Clerima beat everyone in the air before nodding the ball home.

Fortunately for Micky Mellon, his side managed to cling on to their lead through to the final whistle, claiming their seventh successive home victory.

Tranmere now turn their attention to next weekend’s fixture against big rivals Wrexham away at the Racecourse Ground, where they will be hoping to avenge the 1-0 defeat suffered against them at Prenton Park back in September.

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