Guiseley 1-2 Tranmere: Report

Some stirring words from Micky Mellon helped Tranmere mastermind a superb comeback as they beat Guiseley 2-1 in the National League.



Goals from James Norwood and Andy Cook earned Rovers the points after the break as they all but secured second spot in the table.



And the manager must take some credit for the performance as his half-time team talk resulted in a much better display after the break.

The visitors went into the game knowing Friday’s draw with Aldershot pretty much extinguished their chances of catching Lincoln at the top of the table – but there is still plenty to play for.



The last time they mounted a serious promotion push, or at least one that lasted for the entire season, was back in 2005.


Under Brian Little, they secured their spot in the play-offs a few weeks before the campaign ended, so the manager rotated his squad over the remaining games
.

Arguably, that decision cost the club dearly in the first leg of their semi-final against Hartlepool as several players came into the clash a bit cold.



Mellon is keen not to lose any momentum, and indeed whilst there is a mathematical chance of toppling Lincoln, he will continue to push hard.


As such, top scorer Andy Cook returned to the starting line up for the first time in nearly four weeks, replacing Cole Stockton, whilst Lois Maynard dropped out for James Wallace.

The visitors started brightly, with Lee Vaughan and Connor Jennings both seeing early efforts saved by Jonathan Maxted.

At the other end, the giant figure of Michael Rankine, nephew of former Rovers midfielder Mark, was causing a few problems.



His physique was such that he looked large even next to Steve McNulty, and a few early headers where he was able to beat his man to the ball went over the bar.

Cook then came close as he met a Jeff Hughes corner, only for his effort to be cleared off the line, before the striker nodded well over from Vaughan’s cross.



Unfortunately for Tranmere, despite Scott Davies having little to do, they soon afterwards found themselves behind.


It was a stunner as well, although Micky Mellon will have been wondering why Derek Asamoah was afforded so much time and space 25-yards out.


From there, the former Carlisle and Northampton man was able to unleash a vicious shot that arrowed into the top corner and left Davies with no chance of saving it.

Rovers struggled to react to going behind, as despite having plenty of possession, any attack was quickly closed down.



They had a few crossing opportunities, through Vaughan and Liam Ridehalgh, but Maxted was easily able to claim as Cook and James Norwood had little to feed on.

In the end, Micky Mellon was probably glad of the half-time whistle, as he prepared an important team talk and tried to rouse his troops.

It seemed to have worked, as Rovers started the second period on the front foot with a much better tempo.

There was now more purpose whenever they ventured forward, with a brilliant 50-yard run by Adam Buxton ending in a blocked shot for Connor Jennings

With their next attack, Tranmere equalised after Norwood won a corner with a cross that hit the first man.



Hughes stepped up to take it, sending a deep ball towards the back post where it was met by Norwood who nodded home.



It was his first goal for eleven league games, a long drought that has frustrated last season’s top scorer.



And you could see the delight as he ended it, celebrating wildly in front of the Rovers fans behind the goal.

No sooner had the visitors equalised than they took the lead, with Guiseley unable to deal with wave after wave of attacking football.

Unsurprisingly, Liam Ridehalgh had a hand in it, lofting a superb cross towards Andy Cook at the back post.



The striker chested the ball down before beating Maxted to it as he stabbed home and put Tranmere ahead.

That seemed to wake Guiseley up, though they could not stop Rovers creating more chances as Cook had one cleared off the line before Norwood blasted over the bar.



At the other end, a vicious Rankine free-kick was well blocked by Vaughan and cannoned out for a corner.

Tranmere continued to press as they looked to close the game out, and substitute Jack Dunn had a free-kick saved.

By now, the hosts were beginning to commit more and more men forward as they searched for an equaliser.



That meant there were a few spaces at the back for Tranmere to exploit, and one effort from Vaughan was tipped over the bar.



Dunn then had another go, as he was fed in by the counter-attacking Hughes, but a heavy touch meant the angle was tight and his shot was saved.

That was the final real chance, but Rovers will have come off with a sense of disappointment thanks to the news that Lincoln came from behind late on to beat Gateshead.

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