Tranmere Rovers..........1


Attendance: 5,583

A spectacular debut strike from Jay Harris gave Tranmere Rovers a crucial opening day victory over Woking at a sun-kissed Prenton Park.

The former Wrexham midfielder dispatched a 20-yard pile driver just before the hour mark and it was enough to hand Rovers all three points by the slenderest of margins.

Harris had the first chance of the match for Tranmere, stabbing a right foot shot from the edge of the box which was dealt with comfortably by Jake Cole.

But it was the visitors who should have took the lead when Matt Hill cleared a side footed John Goddard effort off the goal line. The Woking midfielder should’ve done better with the goal at his mercy.

A John Goddard cross was then headed by Yakubu straight at Scott Davies as the Cardinals continued to created the more dangerous chances.

About eight minutes before half time, there was a break in play when Scott Rendell required treatment for a clash in his own penalty area – the Woking striker eventually left the field on a stretcher, replaced by Giuseppe Sole.

In the second half Bruno Andrade almost capitalised on indecision in the Rovers defence when the ball broke nicely for him but he could only stick his attempted lob into the Cowsheds.

Tranmere’s best chance of the match came in the 55th minute when Liam Ridehalgh crossed for Norwood, who’s snap shot from 12 yards was blocked before Stockton blazed over the rebound.

But only two minute’s later a well worked free kick on the edge the box teed up Jay Harris who smashed home at the Kop end, sending Prenton Park into ecstasy.

Tranmere held on for the win with the final whistle greeted by a roar of relief.

Manager Gary Brabin said: "I’m delighted. I thought it was important that we got a good start. The supporters have been fantastic during the close season and pre-season and this is where it starts.

"I keep saying, we’re going to get stronger, we’re going to get better, we’re not the finished article yet, but it’s encouraging that we’ve started the season with a clean sheet, a Jay Harris goal and three points.

"We watched Jay in training and his shooting was a little bit off. I think we’ve lost about seven of those Jako balls with Jay, but it paid off today and I’m delighted for him.

"He’s tenacious, he’s whole hearted. When we signed him a had a laugh with the chairman. I said he’s the new Mark Palios and he replied: 'He doesn’t score as many goals as me,' so I can’t wait to go and remind him of that!

"I thought it was an excellent display and thought there were a few excellent displays today.

"Woking are no mugs. They’ve got a good manager in Gary Hill and good players. They’ve got a good side and I think they were very unlucky to miss out on the play-offs last year. I think they’ll be a good side again this year.

"There were a lot of nervous moments I thought but I thought there were spells in the game where I thought we looked good. You just want to make those periods a little bit longer, but like I said, I think we’ll grow into that.

"That group of players, from attacking point of view, have only really been together for two or three weeks.

"Looking forward I do think we’ll grow into that but it’s important now that we sort of enjoy today as quickly as possible and start focusing on Tuesday."

Match stats:

Tranmere Rovers: 1  (Harris, 57mins).

Woking: 0.

Half time: 0-0.

Star man: Jay Harris.

Attendance: 5,583.

Entertainment: 4/5.

Ref rating: Simon Bennett (9/10).

Tranmere Rovers (4-4-2): Davies (rating: 7) Ihiekwe (7), Sutton (7), Hogan (6), Hill (6), Maynard (6), Harris (9), Jennings (7), Ridehalgh (6), Norwood (6) (Mekki 64, 6), Stockton (6).

Subs not used: Tuner, Mangan, Riley, Margetts.

Woking (4-4-1-1): Cole (7), Caprice (6) (Beckles 79, 5), Ricketts (6), Saah (7), Arthur (7), Jones (6), Yakubu (7), Murtagh (6), Goddard (6), Andrade (6) (Daniel 67, 5), Rendell (6) (Sole 41, 5).

Subs not used: Poke, Hamman.

Next game: Away to Gateshead, Tuesday, August 11, kick-off 7,45pm.