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Tranmere Rovers 2gifHarriers 2

Date: 31-08-15 gif Venue: Prenton Park gif att: 4622 gif away fans: 172
Singh sparks the Harriers comeback

gif Report: Phil Lench
The Harriers came back from the dead, yet again, at Tranmere today when late goals from Gurjit Singh and Reece Styche gave us an un-deserved point after going in at the break 2-0.  As it was the result didn't do us much good with both Southport and Halifax both winning the Harriers slumped to rock bottom in the table.  That's twenty fourth out of twenty four.

A bright start from us lasted just ten minutes before the home side began to take control then two quick goals gave them a lead that many Harriers fans thought we would never get back.  Following that home defeat to Forest Green on Saturday we needed to get some kind of result from this game but up until fifteen minutes from the end it was looking very unlikely.

Gary Whild made a few changes to the side that failed against FGR with Styche starting at the expense of Singh and Andre Wright instead of Aman Verma.  The rest of the team remained the same and there was still no return from injury for Kelvin Langmead.  Tranmere had both former Harriers Nathan Blissett and Martin Riley starting for them and the game kicked off with a fair showing of Harriers fans in a stadium that is way too big for this level of football.

As said we played well for the first ten minutes with very little hoofing on show and some intelligent probing of the Rovers defence.  Adam Dawson was the main catalyst for the team and, although a little selfish at times, tried to get things moving for us but found a lack of target men to cross the ball to frustrating.  In one move he robbed a home player of the ball and went forward but the rest of his team mates were still on the halfway line.

Even with us in charge our only real chance came when Wright tested the Rovers keeper, Davies, with a shot that didn't really trouble him.

The first sign that Rovers were taking over came from the former FGR striker Andy Mangan when he fired in a shot from outside the area that Alex Palmer collected easily enough but the signs were beginning to appear.  In the twentieth minute fullback Liam Ridehalgh crossed the ball in over the heads of three Harriers defenders to fall at the feet of the unmarked Liam Hogan.  He made no mistake from close range for the opening goal.  We tried to get back into the game with a Joe Clarke strike that went wide but then heads dropped when the second Tranmere goal went in.

Six minutes after the first goal the second went in.  Again a defensive lapse allowed the lurking Mangan to capitalise on a ball that started with a long kick by the Rovers keeper and then rolled free after a failed clearance by Lathaniel Rowe-Turner.  The ball fell just right for Mangan and he shoved it home beyond the unsighted Palmer.

In response Whild took off Andre Wright as he didn't appear to know what role he was supposed to be taking with three wide players on for us and Styche also wandering around the field with no particular place to go.  Aman Verma came on for him and from then on we started to get a bit more shape to the team.

Tahvon Campbell broke through just before the break to test the keeper without any luck.
  HT: 2 - 0
The second period started with a substitution for the hosts as Adam Mekki made way for Marlon Jackson.  Within minutes of the re-start Jackson had almost increased their lead when he easily slipped beyond our defence to rifle a shot across the face of the goal.  The ex Halifax striker, Lois Maynard also went close with a header that went just wide of the post and then Palmer did brilliantly to tip a better chance from him over the bar.  The Harriers were already under seige.

We tried to get some kind of foothold in the game but chances were few and far between and matters weren't being helped with Reece Styche up to his usual tricks by complaining to the referee about an over eager challenge from Martin Riley.  Riley got booked for the foul but Styche then spent the next few minutes jostling with him at a free kick and then when he went down too easily in the area the referee waved away his pleas for a penalty and booked him for diving.

Because of that Styche was now in danger of being sent off for the second time this season and it was thought that he would soon be substituted for his own good.  As it was Gary Whild opted not to take him off but instead his better performing team mate Tahvon Campbell made way for Gurjit Singh.  Whild must have had a cup full of tea leaves in front of him!

It took a while for the changes to reap the benefit expected and until then Tranmere seemed happy enough to sit back on their, seemingly, unassailable lead.  First Verma sent in a header from an Andrew Fox free kick that went straight at the keeper and then suddenly we saw light at the end of the tunnel.

The ball was played out wide to Adam Dawson and Singh was there to help him out.  Dawson passed the ball in to Singh who then took it on along the byline, jinked past a half hearted challenge and fired the ball under the approaching Scott Davies where it hit the far post and then, thankfully, rolled the right way into the net for the comeback to begin.

With renewed vigour we began to mount a real assault on the Rovers goal and Joe Clarke, playing in almost a strikers role, burst through to send a hard shot goalwards only to see it go just wide.  That woke the hosts up and Mangan should have made the game safe for them with a shot that was easily saved by Palmer and then with the game running down to the expected conclusion the Harriers fans erupted in sheer unexpected joy.

Adam Dawson crossed the ball over too hard and too high to some eyes but amazingly Verma rose giraffe like to reach it and send it back into the area.  A Rovers defender, for reasons known only to himself, performed a schoolboy error and nodded the ball down to the penalty spot and Styche swept the ball home to cap one of greatest ever come backs from dead.

It still wasn't over and Rovers could have still clinched all three points at the death but luckily for us Jacksons shot hit the post and then the follow up from Liam Ridehalgh was skied over the bar from a few yards out.

The whistle blew as the team and the fans celebrated alike for a result that none of us would have seen coming fifteen minutes earlier.
  FT: 2 - 2

 Goals for Tranmere: Hogan 20, Mangan 26
 Goals for Harriers: Singh 84, Styche 90

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Tranmere Rovers  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Davies     Palmer  
Sutton     Hodgkiss  
Ridehalgh     Fox  
Jennings     Maxwell  
Hogan gif     Rowe-Turner  
Riley   Clarke  
Mekki gif   Campbell gif  
Harris     Wright gif  
Blissett gif     Styche gif
Mangan gif     Tunnicliffe  
Maynard     Dawson  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Turner     Snedker  
Jackson gif - 46     Singh gif gif - 66  
Ihiekwe gif - 83     Verma gif - 34  
Hill     Dinsley  
Margetts     Green  

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