Tranmere 0-0 Lincoln: Report

Tranmere have a long, illustrious history with the FA Cup, but even reaching the first round is proving a battle this year after a 0-0 draw with Lincoln.

The two teams will now head to a replay at Cincil Bank on Tuesday, as they worked hard for no end result at Prenton Park.

There were few moments of magic from either side, who you may argue have bigger fish to fry in the National League.

However, on an afternoon with plenty of chances, neither side could break the deadlock as they too often fired off target.

Rovers made one change from the side that beat Forest Green last weekend, with Steve McNulty coming into the side for his debut.

The defender, who arrived on loan from Luton on Monday replaced the injured Liam Hogan at centre-half.

There was also a Prenton Park bow for Gary Taylor-Fletcher, and his class was evident to see from the first minute.

The forward did not take long to open his Rovers account last week, scoring just five minutes into his first appearance.

And he was heavily involved early on here too, with one chance, a skidding, curling effort, requiring a full stretch save to tip it around the post.

At the other end, Alan Power nodded just wide after receiving Matt Rhead’s flick-on.

Jay Harris then tried his luck from distance, firing goalwards from 22-yards only to see the effort tipped over.

Taylor-Fletcher came close again, this time teed up by James Norwood who had carried the ball forward in a scintillatingly quick counter attack.

He passed to the striker, who himself had charged forwards from the half-way line, but could only stab wide across goal.

It was, then, a frantic start to procedings as both sides looked to seize the advantage early on.

But eventually, the game settled down and it was the hosts who looked the most comfortable of the two sides.

Norwood had a couple of chances, with one stinging drive deflecting wide for a corner off a Lincoln head.

He came even closer with Tranmere’s next attack, picking up a pass from Adam Mekki and slapping just wide from 22-yards.

Lincoln though grew into the game and as the half wore on, they began to find their feet upfront.

Greg Tempest had one effort loop over before former Tranmere defender Luke Waterfall headed wide from a cleverly worked free-kick.

Then, with half-time approaching, Chris Bush saw a powerful free-kick take a wicked deflecting and dip onto the roof of the net.

Hitting the target appeared to be the biggest problem for both teams, with neither ‘keeper really tested too much.

And that trend continuined after the break as firstly Rhead headed wide before Power curled over with a free-kick from 25-yards.

By this point, Tranmere were beginning to get a bit sloppy. Hurried passes were easily cut out, whilst long balls fell far beyond their target.

Marlon Jackson, a first half substitute for Adam Mekki who picked up an injury, and Liam Ridehalgh looked to inject some flourish into the team.

Both put a couple of threatening balls into the box, but they were all dealt with in one way or another as Farman smothered the most dangerous.

The game needed a spark, particularly from a Tranmere point of view, and Taylor-Fletcher looked to provide it as he dropped deeper to see more of the ball.

It had an immediate impact as the forward set up a hat-trick of chances.

The first fell to Norwood, found on the edge of the D, but he could only curl over the bar.

Steven Jennings then smashed a rasping effort goalwards, but it lost it’s sting by hitting Jackson on the way through to the ‘keeper.

And then Matt Hill came close, again teed up by Taylor-Fletcher in the area, but his shot took a deflection off a Lincoln body and went for a corner.

Rovers now had the momentum, and in turn they had lived up the Prenton Park faithful.

They were left furious with 13 minutes left as somehow a clear tug on Taylor-Fletcher went unnoticed, with the forward practically having his shirt ripped off in the penalty area after he burst past two men.

With minutes left, he was again involved, looking to provide some magic as he danced past two tackles on the edge of the box.

However, the 34-year old saw his shot beaten away by Farman as he fired too close to the ‘keeper.

That was the final chance as a lively encounter finished 0-0 as ultimately both teams lacked bite in the final third.

Tranmere probably shaded it, but it was that cutting edge Gary Brabin’s been calling for that was once again missing.

And that means the two teams will have to do it all again next week – an extra game for both sides, just as they thought the heavy fixture list was beginning to relent.

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