All Square At Victoria Park
The game burst into life here at The Vic, with both teams eager to set a high tempo and keen to attack.
Pools edged the early pressure and Charlie Wyke looked set for another busy afternoon as he got stuck in from the off. Ryan Brobbel was another who started brightly, causing real problems with his trickery down the right wing.
It was Tranmere who had the first real effort of the game when the lively Cole Stockton pushed his way into the box, escaping the attentions of a few blue and white shirts, only to send his final shot across the face of goal.
Scott Flinders then reacted well to spare the blushes of Jordan Richards who put his pass back to the keeper too short; Flinders came out to close down the approaching Stockton, who pounced on the loose ball, and blocked his effort clear.
On 21 minutes, Stockton had his third chance of the game after great work by Rovers down the right and, while Marc Laird’s cross into the box was perfectly placed, Stockton could find only to arms of Flinders with his header.
While it was the visitors who went closest with their early efforts, Pools looked a real threat going forward and were again playing some flowing football.
Wyke, again looking so strong for Pools, flicked the ball on for Ryan Brobbel running in on goal but the winger sent his effort over the bar from a good position.
After a bright first half hour for Cooper’s side, the tempo of the game dropped and it was Tranmere who looked to dominate as Pools struggled to get out of their own half.
Scott Harrison showed great strength to keep Stockton at bay as the Rovers striker again pushed forward and the on-loan defender was again solid for Pools at the back this afternoon.
With the half coming to a close, Stockton had one final effort on goal and it was his closest of the first forty-five; the striker burst in to send a powerful drive at Flinders only to see it scrape wide of the post as the teams went in goalless at half time.
Marc Laird had a great chance to give his side the lead shortly after the re-start but sent his header well wide of target when a goal looked the easier option.
But Pools were struggling to find a foothold in the game and the visitors clearly sensed an opportunity as they continued to press early in the second half.
Jack Compton found some space for Pools at the right end of the pitch and he did well to push into the box and square a ball for Franks but he saw his effort on goal blasted clear by Michael Ihiekwe.
Rovers had a chance of their own on 65 minutes when a Scott Harrison header clear found Baggie waiting to pounce just inside the box. His sent his shot wide of the far post but the visitors were piling on the pressure in the final third.
Baggie was involved in the box with Tranmere’s next real attack and this time, the stricky winger saw his strike hit the crossbar on its way over goal.
Neil Austin put in a crucial block to deny Max Power as Rovers countered from a Pools freekick to press at the other end.
Although the game became more scrappy towards the end, Tranmere remained the biggest threat and Scott Flinders and his back line were worked harder than their counterparts.
Colin Cooper introduced Marlon Harewood, Darren Holden and Michael Woods to his side as they looked to find a breakthrough this afternoon. But neither side could find that killer touch in the end and the game finished 0-0.
Full Time: Pools 0 Tranmere Rovers 0
Booked: Bates (41)
Att: 3245 (140 Tranmere Rovers)
Pools: Flinders, Richards, Bates, Harrison, Austin, Brobbel (Woods 83), Walker, Miller, Compton (Holden 83), Franks (Harewood 71), Wyke.
Subs Not Used: Barber, Collins, Jones, Hawkins.
Tranmere Rovers: Fon Williams, Holmes, Power, Ihiekwe, Richards, Baggie (Donnelly 78), Laird, Stockton, Donacien, Gill, Hill.
Subs Not Used: Holness, Koumas, Odejayi, Rowe, Fanimo, Brezovan.