Tranmere Rovers 1 Barrow 0

A DRAMATIC injury time strike from James Norwood earned Tranmere a vital home win over Barrow at Prenton Park.

Stuttering Rovers looked destined to settle for a point after they were repeatedly denied by Bluebirds' goalkeeper Stuart Moore in the second half, but Norwood capitalised on an error from Moussa Diarra at the death to blast home and win it for the Birkenhead side.

Micky Mellon made two changes to the side that lost out to Dover Athletic last weeked, recalling Adam Buxton and Norwood in place of Mitch Duggan and Andy Mangan respectively.

A clever knock down from Norwood five minutes in presented a chance to Jay Harris on the edge of the box but he could slice wide.

Ollie Norburn then outfoxed Adi Yussuf and threaded a ball through to Norwood, who forced an unconvincing save out of Stuart Moore in the visitors’ goal.

Rovers should have taken the lead in the 11th minute when Moore denied Cook with a bullet header from close range before Asa Hall cleared the striker's follow-up effort off the line.

Barrow were forced into an early change with Thierry Audel replacing the injured Dave Niejkens, before Norwood headed a Jeff Hughes cross just wide.

Norwood was the busiest player on the pitch and almost provided Cook with a simple tap-in but under pressure from substitute Audel he couldn't get enough purchase on the ball.

A tasty foul on Cook resulted in plenty of afters that eventually saw Norwood and Bedsente Gomis collect a yellow card each and from the resultant Liam Ridehalgh free kick, Ritchie Sutton sailed a towering head just off target.

Tranmere were enjoying the majority of the chances in the first half and were the only team providing a serious goal threat of any kind.

But seven minutes before the break, uncertainty from Scott Davies allowed Adi Yussuf to lift the ball over the Tranmere keeper only to be denied on the goal line heroically by Sutton, who hooked it clear.

As half time approached Rovers had two narrow escapes.

Barrow had the ball in the net when Byron Harrison headed a long-range throw-in home, but the linesmen flagged for a foul in the box.

Then, hesitancy between Jay McEverley and Davies let in Moussa Diarra, but he somehow managed to poke the ball wide from close range.

Encouraged by that late flurry, Barrow showed more positivity after the break. Hall whipped a dangerous ball across the box that went untouched, before Dan Jones arrowed an outrageous 45-yard effort just over the bar with Davies beaten.

Mellon made a double substitution on 53 minutes, bringing on Jack Dunn and George Waring for Jay Harris and Cook respectively.

Buxton made space for himself with a clever Maradonna-style turn, but he could only lash his shot wide.

Barthram then cracked one over the bar for the Bluebirds as the destiny of this contest became no clearer.

Fully aware of the importance of a win, Tranmere's Super White Army raised the decibel levels in search of a winner Jack Dunn suffered the indignity of an air shot on the edge of the box before Buxton curled a free kick over the bar.

Former Liverpool youngster Dunn produced a moment of sublime skill to jink past two defenders are force a save out of Moore with quarter of an hour remaining.

Rovers were pushing hard.

A cross from Norwood was headed just wide by Waring before Gomis blazed one over from distance at the other end.

Connor Jennings came on for McEverley with 12 minutes to play as Tranmere pushed hard for a winner.

A stinging drive from Norburn was tipped over the bar by Moore before the busy keeper made another save from the subsequent corner.

The Barrow keeper was earning his wage for sure and with five minutes remaining he had to be at his best to deny Norburn yet again, tipping another long-range rocket over the bar.

It looked like Moore had done enough to earn his side a valuable point but in injury time Tranmere's luck finally turned.

Under pressure in the penalty area, Diarra lost the ball and with Norwood breathing down his neck, the Eastbourne Executor took advantage and slammed a right foot shot into the corner of the net.

The goal sparked wild scenes behind the goal in the Kop end as Tranmere’s frustrated supporters finally went home with a spring in their step.

Rovers' manager Micky Mellon said afterwards: "We've played better than that and lost, but we showed some great qualities today, battling and going until the end.

"It was needed in a game played under the conditions of expectation that you get here at Tranmere.

"It was great to see that winner go in at the end with the supporters celebrating.

"The fans can count themselves part of what we have achieved here.

"They rose to a man and a woman behind the goal. The noise levels went up and the players responded to that.

"The fans created the environment needed to get that victory.”

Match stats

Tranmere Rovers 1 Norwood 90+2 Barrow 0

Half time: 0-0

Star man: Ollie Norburn (Tranmere midfielder goalkeeper)

Attendance: 4,269

Entertainment: 3/5

Ref rating: Karl Evans (5/10) Tranmere (3-5-2): Davies 5; Sutton 7, McNulty 6, McEverley 6 (Jennings 78, 6); Buxton 7, Hughes 6, Norburn 8, Harris 5 (Dunn 53, 6), Ridehalgh 5; Norwood 8, Cook 6 (Waring 53, 5)

Subs not used: Pilling, Alabi Barrow (3-5-2): Moore 8; Dunne 6, Niejkens 6 (Audel 23, 6), Diarra 7; Barthram 6, Bauress 6 (Panayiotou 83, 6), Hall 6, Gomis 6, Jones 7; Yussuf 5 (White 90, NA), Harrison 5 Subs not used: Dixon, Makoma