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Tranmere Rovers crash out of Johnstone's Paints Trophy
Jake Kirby on the ball for Tranmere Rovers in the Jonstone's Paint Trophy against Fleetwood Town at Prenton Park. Picture: Paul Heaps
TRANMERE Rovers' dream of Johnstone's Paint Trophy glory ended in the first round when they were beaten 2-1 by Fleetwood Town at Prenton Park last night.
Ronnie Moore's squad led at half time through Evan Horwood's free kick but two goals from Jamille Matt turned the tie the way of the visitors in the second half.
Moore made three changes to the side that started at Oldham with Akpo Sodje, Ryan Lowe and Andrai Jones replacing Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Jason Koumas and Danny Holmes.
Rovers started brightly and won a corner in the opening minute from which Ash Taylor rose highest at the back post to head over Chris Atkinson's right wing cross.
On 37 minutes Rovers took the lead. A foul on Sodje by Ryan Cresswell gave Rovers a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the area and Evan Horwood curled over the wall and into the right side of the net for his first goal for the Club.
However, two minutes into the second half the visitors equalised.
Taylor and Rovers' goalkeeper Fon Williams appeared to leave a long ball for each other allowing Jamille Matt to get between them and knock the ball into an empty net.
Sodje headed over from the third of three corners in quick succession on 54 minutes while Nathan Pond headed over Fon Williams' cross bar from close range from Junior Brown's cross.
Joe Thompson and Jake Kirby replaced James Rowe and Stockton on 64 minutes as Rovers switched from 4-3-1-2 to 4-4-2, but seconds later Fleetwood went ahead.
Matt beat Ian Goodison to a ball down the right wing and he flicked it over Taylor before running through on goal and sidefooting past Fon Williams into the bottom left corner.
Lowe's header was cleared off the line by Steven Schumacher on 69 minutes and the midfielder almost doubled Fleetwood's lead at the other end a couple of minutes later, hitting the side netting from a 20 yard free kick.
Matt got behind the Tranmere back four again on 78 minutes but could only hit the side netting from a tight angle and though Rovers looked for an opening late on they were unable to find a way past the Fleetwood defence.
A disappointed Moore said afterwards: "All we've got to do is keep the ball. I thought in the first half we played well though we'd not created as many chances as we'd have liked to.
"It was just a matter of starting the second half well but you look at the two goals.
"You can play and do everything you want but when the keeper comes and doesn't get it and then he goes past two of our lads and it ends up in the back of the net.
"It doesn't matter what shape you're playing if you defend like that then you're not going to win too many games."
Rovers return to Prenton Park for a League One clash with Stevenage on Saturday, kick off 3pm.