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Defensive frailties consign Tranmere Rovers to defeat against Notts County
A GOAL in each half earned Notts County their first win of the season, condemning Tranmere Rovers to leave Meadow Lane empty-handed at the end of a disappointing defeat.
Former Rovers' player Joss Labadie scored County's opener early in the first half, and Marcus Haber was also on target in an afternoon the Tranmere manager will want to quickly forget.
Ronnie Moore made one change to the side that faced Brentford last weekend, with new signing Tom Hateley coming in to replace Danny Holmes for his debut.
Rovers came within inches of equalising when, on 73 minutes, Max Power’s deep cross was headed onto the crossbar by Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro.
However, the visitors pressed the self-destruct button with ten minutes left on the clock.
Owain Fon Williams threw the ball straight to County winger Jack Grealish, and although the keeper thwarted his effort, he could do nothing when the ball was returned to the box and substitute striker Marcus Haber was on hand to bundle home the Magpies' second.
Tranmere’s luck was compounded when Hateley took a tumble on the edge of the box, but was cautioned for diving.
Ronnie Moore said his side didn't show enough passion in the first-half of the 2-0 defeat.
In his post-match interview, Moore said: "It was an early goal again. They've come out with all guns blazing, which we knew they would.
"We concede a goal from a cross into our box again, and a header on the back stick and the second one was the same.
"They get in too easy behind us to pull it back.
"The first goal on the back post, you've got to be big and strong and stop the lad from heading it."
Moore said his side's passion for the first 25 minutes wasn't good enough: "And how many times have I said that?
"It was poor. They talk a good game. We talk about chasing, running around and harrying, but we can all do that.
"We can't go out and play for them. When they cross that white line we put the faith in them to show a bit of sweat, blood and tears but we allowed them to dominate for the first half--hour.
"We've had a go at half time - and we shouldn't have to be doing that every game we play.
"Then we've come out quite bright and conceded against the run of play."
With eight games of the season gone, and with only a single victory in the bag, this defeat left Rovers down in 19th position in League One.
Ronnie added: "There's a lot of teams in and around where we are and we don't want to be there. If you give teams half-an-hour of the game at the start, you're always going to be chasing.
"We have to be mentally stronger and the decision making as individuals has to be better.
"I think we can all see where the problem is but we haven't got a million pounds to go out and do something about it. But we're working on it and we'll wait and see what happens."
Tranmere: Fon Williams, Hateley, Dugdale, Goodison, Horwood, Thompson (Stockton 55), Power, Atkinson, Rowe (Baggie 55), Lowe, Akpa Akpro. Unused substitutes: Mooney, Holmes, Taylor, Sodje, Davies.