Luton 1-0 Tranmere: Report

Tranmere’s unbeaten run under Micky Adams came to an abrupt and untimely end as they lost 1-0 to high-flying Luton Town.

The result, courtesy of a first goal in league football for 25-year old striker Ricky Miller, puts the Hatters top of League Two.

But for Rovers, after a promising week that saw them progress in both cup competitions, their wait for a win in the league now extends to twelve games and nearly three months.

Adams made three changes from the side that beat Bury on Tuesday, but none of them were surprising.

Fit again Janoi Donacien came back into the side at right-wing-back, whilst Armand Gnanduillet, cup-tied for the game at Gigg Lane, and Mark Laird also returned, with Danny Holmes, Abdulai Baggie and James Rowe all dropping to the bench.

Peter Brezovan meanwhile retained his place in the side as Owain fon Williams is on international duty with Wales.

It was Tranmere who started the brighter of the two sides, and they had the ball in the back of the net early on.

However, Laird’s strike, slotted home neatly at the near post, was disallowed because the midfielder was in an offside position when Gnanduillet played him in.

They had another chance moments later after Donacien slipped a tidy pass through to Danny Johnson, but Luton ‘keeper Mark Tyler was quickly off his line to block the shot for a corner.

The hosts then came close themselves, with Michael Harriman misfiring wide at the back post as he ran on to Luke Guttridge’s inch perfect cross.

The majority of the chances were coming at the other end though, and after Gnanduillet had seen one tame effort saved, Max Power stung Tyler’s gloves with a angled volley from 25-yards that was well held by the Hatters ‘keeper.

At the other end, Brezovan was forced into a full-stretch save as he tipped Mark Cullen’s close range shot over the bar as Town came close again.

Cullen was gifted with another good chance as the break approached, a long ball from the ‘keeper going right down the middle, only for the striker to skew wide.

And Brezovan extended himself to save another volley seconds later, this time from Guttridge, who could not quite angle the ball far enough away from the giant Slovak.

Neither team was able to break the deadlock before the break then, but the Hatters started the second half in a similar vein to how they finished the first, coming close without scoring.

Guttridge was involved again and with his shot going wide, Paul Benson dived full length to try and divert the ball goalwards, but he could not connect.

Tranmere then had their best chance yet, with Power forcing another fine save from Tyler.

Good work from Gnanduillet set him up, carrying the ball from inside his own half to the Hatters box before, after initially losing possession, pulling back to Power who saw a thunderous drive beaten away.

It was end to end stuff, and Rovers had a big let off moments later, a deep cross going all the way through to Luke Wilkinson, who, with the target gaping, smashed goalwards, only for the ball to hit Gnanduillet and deflect away.

With the next real chance of the game, Luton took the lead, and it will not be a goal that pleased Micky Adams.

Substitute Ricky Miller got the goal, and it was his first in the Football League.

The former Boston player, on the field for only five minutes, picked the ball up 25-yards out and easily turned past Rovers midfielder Laird.

Then, from 20-yards, he curled towards the far corner, and although Brezovan was able to get a hand to the ball, it was not strong enough to keep it out.

Adams immediately looked to change things up as Tranmere went in search of an equaliser.

He made two quick substitutions, one of them enforced as defender Josh Thompson limped off, replaced by second year academy player Evan Gumbs, getting his firs taste of first team football.

The imposing Kayode Odejayi meanwhile replaced Laird as Rovers put three up top in a 3-4-3 formation.

It took ten minutes for the changes to have an effect, but they did come close, Marcus Holness firing just wide of the near post from Power’s corner.

Gnanduillet then headed off target from Jennings’ clipped cross whilst Johnson’s flick also dropped just past the post.

At the other end, Andy Drury saw a 22-yard drive really well saved by Brezovan as the hosts looked for a second, whilst Gumbs volleyed one half-chance well off target.

But try all they might, Tranmere just could not force the equaliser that their hard work deserved, with Odejayi seeing a strong header tipped wide by Tyler, Rovers’ last chance in injury time.

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