Exeter 1-2 Tranmere: Monday Report

The distance in miles between Birkenhead and St James’ Park is greater than the number of Tranmere fans who travelled to Exeter.

But Jennison Myrie-Williams and Rory Donnelly ensured that they were all sent home smiling as their goals secured three vital points with a 2-1 win.

In total, 233 of the Super White Army made what is a 512 mile round trip from Prenton Park.

And they witnessed another resilient Rovers away display that creates a two-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone.

The performance was a far cry from the Tranmere side that Micky Adams inherited in October.

Indeed, only four of those in the starting line up were at the club when he arrived.

And whilst in the autumn holding a lead proved such a difficult thing to do, Rovers, with that all new mentality, did not regress on to the back foot, almost begging the opposition on to them.

Instead, they pushed forward, unhappy with their afternoons work, searching to increase their advantage with a punchy, aggressive display.

Perhaps it is no surprise that goals are beginning to flow, given the attacking options available.

Myrie-Williams and Donnelly are both January arrivals, as is Lee Molyneux, himself a great provider.

Then there is the bench too, with the likes of Jason Koumas, Cole Stockton and Shamir Fenelon all unable to get in the first eleven.

Iain Hume meanwhile was unavailable, having not received international clearance in time to play.

But Myrie-Williams replaced Shamir Fenelon to make his first start since joining on loan, whilst Adam Dugdale also came straight, taking the place of injured defender Michael Ihiekwe.

That meant a seldom switch to a 4-4-2 formation, with Adams having previously favoured three at the back or in midfield.

But it was impossible to tell that they were playing a system that, at least recently, they had been unfamiliar with.

Rovers were resilient in defence, reducing Exeter to shots from distances that rarely tested Owain Fon Williams.

In fact, for all the possession that the hosts enjoyed, the better chances came down the other end.

Kayode Odejayi had one, poking gaolbirds after running on to a long clearance from Fon Williams, but Christy Pym was quickly off his line to save.

Lee Molyneux should have done more with the resulting rebound, but he scuffed his contact with the goal gaping.

Then, after one of those long-range shots from Alex Nicholls had whistled over the bar, Tranmere took the lead.

It was a well-crafted goal too, with Odejayi holding the ball up before unleashing Molyneux down the left.

He in turn lofted a hopeful but dangerous ball deep towards the back post, an area into which Myrie-Williams had drifted unmarked.

And the winger, who had nearly run out of play, somehow squeezed a header through Pym’s legs and in off the far post from a near impossible angle.

That was his first Rovers goal since April 5th 2008 – but in fairness, it was only his second game for them since then!

Exeter equalised just five minutes later as after a cheap foul 22-yards from goal, Nicholls curled a powerful free-kick past Fon Williams, with the ‘keeper perhaps left unsighted by his wall.

After the break though, it was clear Rovers were not simply going to settle for what in itself would have been a valuable point.

They had more bite, particularly in midfield, as captain Steven Jennings mopped up in front of the back four and drove them forward.

They looked like they wanted it more.

Adams, worried about winger Aaron Davies, switched to a five man midfield, moving Donnelly moved wide left.

And he was in on the action just minutes into the second half to hand Tranmere the lead.

Odejayi was again involved, with his hold up play once more vital as he laid the ball off to Donnelly.

And the striker found himself the split second of time and space that he needed to caress the ball into the far corner.

At 2-1, it would have been easy to sit back. But that is not the Micky Adams way.

Max Power should have made it 3-1 from the penalty spot, but he was left mortified with an embarrassingly tame chip that Pym caught with ease after Myrie-Williams had been fouled.

Substitute Fenelon then had a glaring miss, volleying Molyneux’s cross wide, whilst Donnelly had a brace of chances too, but each curled wide of the far post.

And it was, in fact, Exeter who came closest, Liam Sercombe rattling the bar with a thunderous volley before Liam Ridehalgh saved Power’s blushes, heading off the line in injury time.

And so Tranmere clung on for another huge three points, showing just why they are looking high in to the top half of the table, instead of over their shoulders at a relegation battle that they should now steer well clear of.

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