A wonderful victory
Report by Kate Holmes
At last!!! I have seen a win on Merseyside - the first that has occurred in my lifetime. And they didn't even get a dodgy penalty to go with it. As ever, the main topic of conversation on the way up involved increasingly worse Harry Enfield impressions, and sussing what the lovable Scouse sense of humour would involve this year. Last season, having totally outplayed them and seen us go down to a last second goal, I had a steward telling me to cheer up - it's only a game. I could have cheerfully murdered him and buried him under the nearest available patio.
We got held up on the M6 on the way up - there's a surprise for you. It was all down to a three car smash, one of the cars belonging to a group of QPR fans. You had to laugh, and indeed the entire coach did. They did get back on the road, and overtook us about half an hour later, the entire back of the car totally smashed up and the bumper hanging off.
When we arrived at the ground, we found out that the team coach had been broken into and the TV and all the players' videos had been nicked. Typical scousers. We hoped that this would fire the boys up to a good result.
Tranmere's ground actually looks quite nice now, as they have built three new stands. We were in one behind the goal, and the view was pretty decent. We welcomed new signing Steve Palmer straight into the side, and my first impression was that he looks like Tommy Mooney. Other than that, the team was pretty much the same.
We had our usual slow start, and it looked like we were going to get overrun. I think most Hornets reckoned a defeat of 2-0 would be a reasonable result. We found our feet, and began to assert ourselves with purpose. We had a corner which just avoided the head of Fos, and it began to look like we might actually do something. Moralee won us a free kick, taken by Ramage, and there was the mighty Fos powering a header into the back of the net. It is the first time I can remember Fos looking as dangerous up front as that Manc git Bruce. What a storming start.
We could have extended the lead, with Palmer almost getting through their defence, but being Scousers you know they are going to fluke an equaliser. The bloke who scored with a free header ran to celebrate with the Watford fans, and made a big issue out of doing so. I'd never heard of him, so I don't see what we ever did to upset him. Moralee had a couple of chances to put us ahead again, and Miller made a couple of saves. It was a fairly end-to-end game, and we deserved to be level at half-time.
The second half started a little better for us, and we took the lead when a big hoof downfield confused a Tranmere defender and Moralee managed to beat the keeper to the ball and put it into a very inviting empty net. It was a wonderful moment, and Moralee ran to us to celebrate. Somewhat surprisingly the ref had words with both Jamie and Rambo and told them to move. Pity he didn't do the same for that Scouse git.
We went further ahead a few minutes later, when Johnno put Mooney through in the area and he placed the ball between the keeper's legs. 3-1 up with about 25 minutes to go. Tranmere now have a scoreboard with one of those bloody awful clocks that count backwards, so you can see how close you were to winning when they get a jammy goal/dodgy last minute penalty. I remember Crystal Palace.
We looked pretty good value for the three points, and were handling everything they threw at us, but finally they pulled one back. This was a little bit worrying, as with a two goal cushion their last minute penalty wouldn't result in us losing. For the final quarter of an hour it was a little bit Rotor Volgagrad-ish. Panic? Me? Of course I did. I was only thankful that all the action was down the other end and I couldn't see just how close they were getting.
When we did eventually clear the ball downfield, Mooney was in a race with the keeper which he was always going to win. Tommy headed the ball over the keeper before being completely flattened by the keeper's challenge. The keeper's reaction was to get up and chase after the ball, making sure it didn't go in before he went down injured. I think he knew he would have been sent off if he didn't make out that it was a clash of heads, but the trainer was treating his elbow. Mooney was out of it for ages, but eventually he did get up. The keeper had a plaster put on the "cut" on his head, which fell off ten seconds later. The ref saw fit to give a drop ball, which Mooney was told to play back to the cheating Scouse in goal.
This became even more annoying when Kev booted the ball into touch so that someone could get treatment. Tranmere took the throw-in and kept possession - nice to see they are so sporting up there. Thankfully they didn't score from it, which is what usually happens, and we held on to get the result. A wonderful victory, thoroughly deserved, showing our battling qualities. Palmer looked great - we have a midfield again.