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Match Reports

Tranmere 1-0 Notts

Jennings wins it for hosts

23 February 2019

Notts County were beaten 1-0 by Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park.

Connor Jennings' second-half goal was enough to swing an even match in the hosts' favour, keeping Notts at the bottom of Sky Bet League Two.

Neal Ardley made two changes to the side that suffered defeat against Newport County in midweek.

The move saw Jon Stead and Craig Mackail-Smith return to the starting line up, with Virgil Gomis and Lewis Alessandra having to settle for a place on the bench.

Tranmere came into the game with the sixth-best home record in the division and began on the front foot, seeing shots from Ben Pringle and top scorer Oliver Norwood go off-target in the early exchanges.

Ryan Schofield was tested properly for the first time on 17 minutes, producing an acrobatic save to push Jennings' excellent volley over, shortly before David Perkins went into the book for a late foul on Jim O'Brien.

And that proved the catalyst for Notts to get a foothold in the game as they went close for the first time on 25 minutes, Stead playing a tasty ball across the face of goal with no-one on hand in the middle to turn it home.

Mackail-Smith and Michael Doyle were both off-target with efforts as Notts continued to play their way into the match.

But Rovers so nearly went into the break with a fortuitous lead as Ben Barclay inadvertantly sent the ball towards the bottom corner of his own net with an attempted clearance, which Schofield did very well to push away to safety.

And that was to be the final action of the half as the sides returned to the dressing room level.

There were no changes at the break but Notts nearly altered the scoreline in their favour shortly after the restart when Mackail-Smith played Stead in down the left. The forward found Enzio Boldewijn with a low cross to the near post but the Dutchman couldn't beat the keeper with his flicked finish.

Hemmings went into the book after catching Mark Ellis when the pair went in for a 50/50 on halfway and the forward made way for Alessandra shorlty afterwards.

But there was nothing the playmaker could do to prevent Rovers taking a 69th-minute lead.

The chance came after O'Brien's diving header in midfield resulted in the ball falling kindly to Pringle, who raced at the Notts defence. It was a 3 v 2 situation in the hosts' favour and Jennings made no mistake when presented with the ball in the area, passing it low beyond Schofield and into the net.

Notts needed a quick response and Doyle went into the book for snapping into a challenge on Zoumana Bakayogo as he pressed high up the field.

Ardley's next change saw Gomis replace Boldewijn on 78 minutes. The Forest loanee lined up alongside Mackail-Smith, with Stead playing behind the front two and Milsom joining Barclay and Sam Stubbs in a back three. Alessandra and Mitch Rose were now deployed as wing backs.

Schofield saved a Norwood shot and Gomis dipped an effort a yard or so wide shortly before Notts were given six additional minutes in which to find an equaliser.

It was the hosts who nearly got the next goal, though, as Norwood whistled an effort inches wide of the post.

Stead bobbled a half-volley wide of the far post from the edge of the area in the final added minute and that was the last chance of a Notts revival as Ardley's men left Merseyside empty-handed.


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