Preview: Tranmere Rovers (A)

Report: Tranmere 1-1 Bolton (4-2 pens)

Bolton Wanderers exited the Capital One Cup after losing 4-2 on penalties against Tranmere Rovers.

The game finished 1-1 after extra time, with Jermaine Beckford scoring his first ever goal for the club, cancelling out Cole Stockton’s opener late in the first half.

However, with both teams having chances throughout the course of the evening, neither could find a winner with penalties deciding the outcome of the second round tie at Prenton Park.

With Tranmere converting their first four penalties, and Andre Moritz and Alex Baptiste both having their spot kicks saved, Rovers advanced and put their name in the hat for Wednesday’s third round draw.

Bolton manager Dougie Freedman made eight changes in total for his side’s trip to the Wirral for their second round Capital One Cup tie against League One outfit Tranmere Rovers.

The notable inclusions where striker Tom Eaves and dynamic midfielder Josh Vela, with the young duo making their first competitive starts of the season.

Both teams starting the game energetically without any end product until the 20 minute mark, when the visitors smoothly worked the ball up field resulting in an attempted acrobatic shot by Eaves which deflected wide of the mark.

Minutes later, winger Robert Hall, who superbly found the back of the net in the previous round at Shrewsbury Town, found space inside the opposition penalty area but scuffed his right footed strike wide of the mark.

Rovers were slowly building up pressure as they looked to test Wanderers’ number 24 Andy Lonergan but were limited to half chances as the Infrared backline stayed resolute.

With two thirds of the first half played, the League One outfit nearly caught out their Championship opponents to take the lead.

Former Southampton youth team player James Rowe eased his way past two Bolton players to divert a low cross into the penalty area, taking a heavy deflection off Tyrone Mears, goalkeeper Lonergan had to be alert with a smart low save.

Right at the end of the first half, with a minute of added time indicated by fourth official Mark Astley, Tranmere Rovers took the lead and control of the tie at Prenton Park.

Capitalising on a mistake at the back, Stockton nipped and cutely curled the ball beyond a helpless Lonergan to hand Ronnie Moore’s side the lead.

The hosts began the second period how they finished the first, as they penned Wanderers back inside their own half.

Wanderers soon began to grow in structure as the half wore on, with full back Mears turning out to be the visitors main outlet, finding space on the right hand side to get forward.

The travelling support thought Bolton were level when Alex Baptiste was denied from an Odelusi corner with a firm header.

Quickly reacting to the rebound, with Owain Fon Williams unable to hold on, Eaves dived in but the Welsh custodian was able to throw his body in front of the goal to prevent an equaliser.

Dougie Freedman’s first throw of the dice came on the hour mark when marksman Jermaine Beckford joined in on the action, replacing midfielder Vela. Shortly after, Brazilian playmaker Andre Moritz was introduced for Odelusi.

And Freedman’s alterations paid dividends as the visitors levelled matters at Prenton Park with the two substitutes combining in the 65th minute.

Excellent build up play involving Hall and Moritz saw the latter play an exquisite through ball into the path of Beckford to complete the job by coolly sliding the ball past Fon Williams into the far corner for his first ever Wanderers goal.

Beckford was on his A game, and was targeting a second five minutes later, when his 25-yard strike took a heavy deflection off the boot of Ash Taylor to divert wide of the mark.

Beckford’s strike partner Eaves had his second opportunity of the game with 77 minutes on the clock, but couldn’t worry the goalkeeper as his strike from the edge of the ‘D’ was off target.

The men from the Reebok were looking likely for the winner, and it looked as if they found a break through when Eaves had two goals chalked off by the linesman.

His first was a spectacular chip over the goalkeeper, which was acrobatically cleared off the line by Chris Atkinson. The Wanderers support behind the goal thought the ball had crossed the line, however the decision was given in the League One club’s favour.

Seconds later, number 11 Hall whipped in a delightful low cross for Eaves to slide home unmarked at the back post, but this time the linesman ruled the former Oldham Athletic striker to be in an offside position.

With no winner after the 90, the tie went to extra time to see who would be in the hat for Wednesday’s draw.

The first period of extra time began with two ambitious strikes from either side, with Eaves and Rowe the two men to try their luck, but neither could find the target for their respective sides.

Arguably the best chance of the opening 15 minutes of extra time fell to Beckford, who scored for Leeds United at Prenton Park just over three years ago.

With his back to goal, the 29-year-old centre forward positioned his body well to hit an effort goal bound, forcing Fon Williams to pull off a fantastic save to keep the score level.

Teenager Tom Youngs was introduced for his senior debut midway through the first period as he replaced Hall after a productive shift.

Into the second period, with Beckford having his arm strapped up after a colliding with the Tranmere defence, shot stopper Fon Williams lent a hand to Pratley after the midfielder pulled up with cramp.

It was a case of not so third time lucky for striker Eaves, as yet again the youngster had a goal ruled out. The officials correctly ruled the Bolton frontman as in an offside position just as he fired a low strike past Fon Williams.

With nothing to separate the sides, Bolton looked ahead to first penalty shootout since November 2001 when they played against Southampton in the League Cup fourth round, with the Whites victorious at the Reebok Stadium.

However, with Tranmere Rovers converting their first four penalties and Bolton duo Moritz and Baptiste both missing, the League One outfit advanced to the third round at Wanderers’ expense.

As it happened…
Tranmere: Power, scored.

Bolton: Moritz, saved.
Tranmere: Akpa Akpro, scored.
Bolton: Beckford, scored.
Tranmere: Horwood, scored.
Bolton: Mills, scored.
Tranmere: Rowe, scored.
Bolton: Baptiste, missed.

Tranmere Rovers win 4-2 on penalties 

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