Well what a relief that was, Tranmere ended a run of eight straight defeats on Friday night when they defeated North-West rivals Bury at Prenton Park.
Goals from Joss Labadie and Ash Taylor did the job for Rovers as the pressure was lifted off manager Les Parry’s back. After our Boxing Day clash to Rochdale was postponed due to problems with the Main Stand roof, it was a belated start to the Christmas period and the result was the important factor on this occasion. We haven’t been playing bad football, but conceding first has been the problem, so keeping a clean sheet and taking the lead reasonably early was perfect for confidence.
At a bitterly cold Prenton Park there was little action early on as Rovers’ injury riddled side showed nerves that is natural after the current poor run. The best chance of the opening stages fell to centre back Ash Taylor, when he headed over from close range from a Jose Baxter corner. Seven minutes later and the breakthrough came, Baxter drilled a low corner along the slick surface, Lucas Akins’ dummy allowed Joss Labadie to fire in underneath Cameron Belford.
Baxter nearly made it two before former Rovers midfielder Mike Jones forced Paul Rachubka to tip around the post.
After the break Belford did well to prevent Mark Carrington finding his own net, before he denied Baxter with his legs. At the other end Andy Bishop had an effort cleared off the line by Labadie, before substitute Ashley Eastham headed over a guilt-edge chance late in the day. Robbie Weir’s long range volley was well kept out by Belford, but he was just delaying the inevitable and when Labadie’s cross was turned goal-wards by substitute Zoumana Bakayogo, Taylor couldn’t miss as he tapped home to seal the win.
The goals from Labadie and Taylor put them both joint top scorers at the club on four goals, highlighting the main issue at the club, being a lack of a goal scorer. The performance was far from vintage, but the result is the important thing and the confidence that comes with a victory.
Rovers face a tough test at Hillsborough on Monday, where Sheffield Wednesday haven’t tasted defeat all season, so anything gained there will be bonus points, with Brentford proving an important challenge the following Saturday at Prenton Park.
Follow me on Twitter: @marktrfc