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Match Reports

Pools Finish Season With Tranmere Win

28 April 2018

Liam Donnelly Mark Fletcher (Shutter Press)
Liam Donnelly celebrates his goal at Tranmere Rovers.

Pools brought the 2017/18 season to a close with an entertaining 2-1 win over Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park.

A first-half penalty from Liam Donnelly was doubled after the break by Rhys Oates and, while the hosts pulled one back shortly after, Matthew Bates’s side were worthy winners.

It was a fairly entertaining first as both teams played some decent attacking football and put on a good showing for the travelling army of Poolies.

The first chance of the game fell to Andy Cook who jinked his way past Louis Laing to get in on goal but Scott Loach got down quickly and held the effort on nine minutes.

Liam Donnelly, back in the side this afternoon after missing the past six games with injury, added his calming influence to the back four and got up well to clear a Josh Ginnelly corner over the bar.

At the other end, Blair Adams whipped a corner in from the right which was headed back in by Laing for Jake Cassidy who tried his luck with an overhead volley that went high.

Nicky Featherstone scooped a lovely ball over for Lewis Hawkins who met it with a neat volley but his shot was blocked out by Scott Davies.

Scott Loach pulled off a great save to deny James Norwood as the hosts built their pressure in the run-up to half-time; Norwood jinked his way in from the right and worked his way past the keeper initially but Loach recovered well and got down to block the shot.

Ginnelly spotted Loach off his line late in the half and tried to chip the Pools stopper but he saw his shot curl wide of the post.

But Pools had one last attack in them before half time and, when the ball fell to Donnelly inside the box, he was pushed from behind and the referee pointed to the spot.

Donnelly stepped up himself to take the penalty and, although Davies went the right way, the ball went past the keeper and Pools took a 1-0 lead into the break.

Pools started the second half strongly and looked more than a match for promotion-chasing Tranmere.

With pressure on the home goal from Adams and Cassidy, Laing put in a great tackle at the other end to break down a Tranmere attack.

Sub Rhys Oates broke down the left to whip a ball across the face of goal but there was no one in position to shoot.

And Oates was back at it again shortly after, forcing his way past Jay Harris with great pace to send a shot rolling across goal, which just scraped wide of the far post.

Pools were on top at this stage and playing some impressive football, passing it about with style and keeping Tranmere at arm’s length.

When the hosts did get the ball though, they looked a threat and Cook had a great chance to shoot after cutting in from the left but he sent his effort wide of the near post.

Loach pulled off a great saved to deny Cook who sent a header his way; the keeper stuck out a hand to push it off the line and, while the flag went up, it was definitely a save worth noting.

Pools were 2-0 up on 75 minutes as Louis Laing put a corner back into the mix, where Donnelly pushed it towards goal before Oates got the goal. The Pools forward rolled the ball past Davies and over the line with a cheeky back-heel to double his side’s lead.

Tranmere Rovers pulled a goal back just two minutes later as Jeff Hughes curled a brilliant freekick past the impressive Loach and into the top corner to make it 2-1.

Pools worked hard this afternoon and were worthy winners against a strong Tranmere Rovers side who will be looking to gain promotion through the play-offs this season.

Full Time: Tranmere Rovers 1 Pools 2

Booked: Cassidy (33), Donnelly (51), Hawkins (73)

Tranmere Rovers: Davies, Ridehalgh, Sutton, McNulty, Harris, Cook, Norwood, Norburn, Ginnelly, Hughes, Cole (Duggan 68).
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Mangan, Clarke, Monthe.

Pools: Loach, Donnelly, Laing, Magnay, Adams, Featherstone (Harrison 90), Hawkins, Newton, Donaldson (Hawkes 90), Rodney (Oates 60), Cassidy.
Subs Not Used: Catterick, Orrell.

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