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Match Reports

Bluebirds Beaten At Tranmere Rovers

24 April 2021

A photograph of Kgose Ntlhe in action for Barrow at Tranmere Rovers Ian Charles (MI News & Sport)
Kgose Ntlhe in action against Tranmere Rovers

Barrow were beaten for a third successive game as David Nugent’s second half header earned promotion-chasing Tranmere Rovers all three points at Prenton Park.

The former England international nodded the decisive goal midway through the second half to consign The Bluebirds to defeat and ensure they still need points in their fight for survival.

Tranmere began what was a scrappy first half on the front foot and Barrow were forced to defend in the early stages as the home side looked to get on top.

However, the hosts struggled to break down a resolute Bluebirds defence and Rob Kelly’s men began to feel their way into the game, almost forging in front when Luke James’ first long throw of the afternoon caused panic as it bounced on to the roof of the net.

The Barrow front man was proving a nuisance for the Rovers’ defence and a typically tenacious piece of play saw him rob the defender and prod a ball inside for Scott Quigley whose low shot was firm but straight at keeper Joe Murphy.

Clear cut chances were at a premium, but Barrow certainly started to get on top as half time approached, knocking the ball around with an increasing confidence in the Wirral sunshine.

Kgose Ntlhe was almost the unlikely source for the opening goal when he decided to let fly from thirty yards; a swerving shot skipped up awkwardly at keeper Murphy who did well to get his body behind it and block it away to safety.

Rovers boss Keith Hill clearly wasn’t happy and made a double change at the break, drafting in Otis Khan and David Nugent in an attempt to give his side a greater cutting edge.

Hill almost got the response he was after on 50 minutes when a right-wing corner was met powerfully by Peter Clarke but his goalbound header was brilliantly saved by Joel Dixon.

The hosts then put together a sweeping move down the right which saw Kaiyne Woolery get into the area and fire a low ball across goal which was sent just wide of the far post by Paul Lewis.

Rovers continued to ask questions with a higher tempo to their play but Barrow could have caught them on the counter-attack when Tom Beadling wriggled into the box and teed up Quigley but the front man sent his shot too high.

A minute later the home side went in front. Another good move down the right this time found Liam Feeney who whipped a cross into the box for Nugent who met it with a perfect glancing header which was past Dixon in a flash.

Nugent showed his quality again on 74 minutes when he collected a half-cleared corner on the left side of the area and send a curling shot beyond the diving Dixon but also just past the far post.

Dixon then produced a moment of class to keep it at 1-0 when Nugent crossed for Lewis and his header looked set to the goal until the Barrow keeper showed incredible reflexes and agility to tip it on to the cross bar and out.

Rob Kelly made a triple change with Calvin Andrew, Jamie Devitt and Dimitri Sea all introduced for the final ten minutes and Barrow did apply some pressure.

Banks went for the spectacular with a free-kick thirty yards out and, though he struck it well, it was always rising, and it flew off target as The Bluebirds slipped to defeat.

Full Time: Tranmere Rovers 1 Barrow 0

Tranmere Rovers: Murphy, O’Connor, Monthe, Morris (Nugent 46), Spearing, Woolery, MacDonald, Feeney, Lewis, Clarke, Lloyd (Khan 46).
Subs not used: Jones, Ridehalgh, Blackett-Taylor, Jolley, Ray.

Barrow: Dixon, Brough, Platt, Ntlhe, Thomas, Barry, Beadling (Sea 81), C Taylor, Banks, Quigley (Devitt 81), James (Andrew 81).
Subs not used: Moloney, J Taylor, Eardley.

Booked: Banks, Ntlhe, Thomas.

Referee: Marc Edwards

Attendance: Behind Closed Doors


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