Bury 2-0 Tranmere: Rovers Undone By Set-Pieces Again

Tranmere Rovers huffed and puffed but were once against sent home empty handed as they lost 2-0 to Bury.

The result sent the hosts top of League Two, but for Rovers it was a sixth straight game without a win and the pressure continues to mount on manager Rob Edwards as his side slipped to within one point of bottom spot.

Predictably, just as was the case at Carlisle last week, it was set pieces that were Tranmere’s downfall, with all their hard work amounting to nothing as they failed to deal with two second half corners.

That meant a promising first half display led to nothing, as firstly Kevlin Etuhu before latterly substitute Daniel Nardiello handed Bury the three points.

Rob Edwards made two changes from the starting line up that lost at Carlisle last week, with Jake Kirby and Eliot Richards dropping to the bench.

They were replaced by Kayode Odejayi and Mark Laird, whilst top scorer Cole Stockton dropped out of the squad all together due to injury.

For Odejayi, it was finally a chance to impress as he started a league match for the first time since moving to Prenton Park in the summer.

There were three former Tranmere players in the Bury squad meanwhile, with Jim McNulty captaining the Shakers and Joe Thompson starting on the bench.

And on top of that, enemy number one was Ryan Lowe who joined the Shakers from Rovers in the summer.

Indeed, each of his touches was greeted by a loud boo from the travelling supporters, who are still unhappy at his departure.

As the game got underway, it was clear Rovers were in the mood to end a five game winless run, and although neither team was able to create too many clear-cut openings, it was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides.

Indeed, Bury’s Shwan Jalal was the first goalkeeper to be called into action, getting down well to his left to save Lairds’ sliding effort, before Abdulai Baggie headed wide from a Max Power cross.

Tom Soares then created a wonderful opening for the hosts, chesting down a cross-field ball to take him past Danny Holmes before firing a vicious shot just over the bar from 25 yards.

Bury had now found their shooting boots as they started to get a stronger foothold on the game and they came even closer to scoring just before the break as Owain fon Williams produced a stunning save down to his left to divert Nicky Adams’ effort away from goal.

Abdulai Baggie then danced past a challenge before firing over from outside the box, whilst at the other end Andrew Tutte curled tamely at fon Williams from 25 yards.

That meant the two teams went in all square at the break, a fair reflection of what had been a hard fought 45 minutes.

But after the interval, it was Bury who came out of the blocks quickly as Tranmere looked a little flat-footed.

It was Danny Rose who was the aggressor as he twice threatened the Rovers back-line, firstly forcing fon Williams in to a full stretch save high to his right before firing another effort against Michael Ihiekwe.

That should have served as a warning for what was about to come for Rob Edwards’ side, but unfortunately it was not heeded as the Shakers took the lead with their next attack.

Again, Tranmere’s undoing was a set piece as they failed to fully clear their lines from a corner.

The delivery into the box had already caused panic, and it was eventually only cleared to the 18-yard line from where Kelvin Etuhu had plenty of time to guide a shot into the bottom corner.

The visitors’ heads did not drop but although they pressed in search of an equaliser, it was Bury who continued to have the better of the chances.

And they nearly doubled their lead on 68 minutes when a slip from Laird allowed Etuhu to nick the ball in midfield.

He fed in substitute Nardiello, and the striker fired just wide of the far post from inside the box.

Janoi Donacien then stretched out a long leg to keep out Chris Hussey’s deflected shot before fon Williams produced another excellent save, diving to his right to tip Nardiello’s shot out for a corner as the striker advanced on goal.

Rovers went in search of a point and it was substitute Jason Koumas who created the best opening, forcing Jalal into an excellent save down to his left.

But as they began to run out of time, Nardiello sealed the points for the hosts, finding himself unmarked in the box to flock home Adams’ corner to make it 2-0.

That left a travelling Tranmere support of just under 900 disappointed again, with many of them continuing to voice their concern at the current run of form.

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