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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

01 January 2024 Venue Prenton Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

Report: Tranmere 4-2 Notts

Defeat on New Year's Day

1 January 2024

We came out on the wrong side of a high-scoring contest in our first game of 2024.

Having conceded an early goal to Kieron Morris, we turned the game on its head with goals from Aaron Nemane and Macaulay Langstaff.

But Connor Jennings’ equaliser shortly before half-time tilted the flow of the game and we fell behind again to a Harvey Saunders goal before having to call on Aidan Stone to save a Jennings penalty.

But Jennings did beat Stone from 12 yards in added time after the keeper had conceded a penalty of his own, effectively killing the game.

Following convincing victories over Doncaster Rovers and Morecambe, Luke Williams kept the same starting XI for this trip to Merseyside.

That meant Stone was protected by a back three of Kyle Cameron, Aden Baldwin and Richard Brindley, with Jodi Jones and Nemane out wide.

In midfield, John Bostock and Sam Austin provided the base for attacking trio Dan Crowley, David McGoldrick and Langstaff to threaten the Rovers goal.

But despite dominating the opening five minutes we found ourselves behind when Jennings guided a bobbling ball to Morris on the edge of the area and watched on as his team-mate executed the perfect volley beyond Stone.

Jennings came close himself four minutes later as the hosts once again turned over possession and crossed from the left, the forward rising highest but sending his header narrowly wide.

McGoldrick squandered a big headed opportunity of his own 10 minutes later, being picked out well by Jones from the byline but glancing the ball wide of the far post from eight yards.

But, shortly after Jones had seen a well-struck 25-yard effort unconvincingly pushed just wide by Luke McGee, we were level as one of Jones’ typically inviting deep crosses was met with a controlled volley by Nemane to send the ball into the far corner.

The turnaround was complete five minutes later and Jones was involved again, playing intricately with Crowley before seeing the latter deliver a devilish cross into the danger zone. Langstaff was as quick as ever to pounce, sliding in to finish brilliantly.

Bostock had a decent chance to extend our lead further when he latched on to a cleverly-taken Crowley free-kick in an unmarked position inside the area. He couldn’t quite get his body into the correct shape to keep his header down, however.

We were well on top and looked destined to head into half-time ahead but, on 44 minutes, the hosts scored an unlikely leveller as Jennings got into space in the area to guide a right-wing cross beyond Stone.

There’ll have been huge frustration in the dressing room at half-time but we almost had the perfect tonic on 52 minutes when Jones whipped a free-kick inches over the crossbar from 20 yards.

But it was compounded moments later when Rovers retook the lead. We failed to halt the progress of Ryan Apter down the right-hand side and his shot from a narrow angle squirmed under Stone, with Saunders arriving first to score from a yard out.

Things got worse minutes after the restart as Bostock’s attempted challenge on Jennings in the area was given as a foul, presenting the forward with the chance to double his side’s lead. Stone, who had to receive treatment after taking a blow to the head as Tranmere scored their third, had other ideas though and pushed the ball away with a dive to his right.

We were still lacking our usual composure, though, and shortly after Stone had to stand firm at his near post to make another save we were forced into our first change as the hobbling Jones made way for O’Brien – a move which saw Austin come across to wing back.

James Sanderson then replaced Bostock and nearly helped us unlock the door with 10 minutes to play, exchanging passes with Baldwin to release the defender into the area. Slightly off-balance, Baldwin couldn’t find the finish.

STARTING XI: Stone; Cameron, Baldwin, Brindley; Jones (O'Brien 67'), Nemane; Bostock (Sanderson 72'), Austin; Crowley, McGoldrick, Langstaff

SUBS: Brooks, Rawlinson, Macari, Mahovo, Adebayo

BOOKINGS: Bostock 45+4'


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