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29 November 2014

Wallace strike not enough for Blues

Pompey’s away-day blues continued as they were beaten 3-1 at struggling Tranmere.

They fell behind to an early Shamir Fenelon goal and struggled to reply in a below-par first half.

There was a dramatic improvement after the break, though, and another Jed Wallace strike drew the visitors level.

The Blues pushed forward in search of a winner, but were caught out by a James Rowe rocket.

Max Power then made sure of a Rovers victory, converting at the second attempt after Paul Jones had saved his spot-kick.

Andy Awford stuck with the same side that comprehensively beat Morecambe at Fratton Park the previous week.

That meant recent loan arrival Lee Holmes had to be content with a place among the substitutes.

There were just 77 seconds on the clock when Pompey’s away woes continued.

The visitors were unable to deal with a corner, allowing Fenelon to hack the ball over the line from close range.

He almost had a second moments later, but this time Blues stopper Jones was equal to his fierce drive.

Jack Whatmough had a good chance to level on 11 minutes after finding himself in space to meet Craig Westcarr’s corner, only to guide the ball over the crossbar.

Pompey were enjoying plenty of possession as they tried to find an equaliser, but were struggling to make much of an impact in the final third.

And they were dealt a further blow midway through the first half when Whatmough went down injured and had to be replaced by Ben Chorley.

The Blues finally tested Owain Fon Williams on 31 minutes, with the Tranmere keeper making a fine save to palm a Marcus Bean thunderbolt over the bar.

That was as close as they came to going in level at the break, although Dan Butler’s free-kick had to be cleared behind in stoppage-time.

Half Time: Tranmere 1 Pompey 0

Awford gave his under-performing troops the chance to respond by not making any changes at the start of the second half.

But there was still a lack of attacking spark, with half-chances from Miles Storey and Westcarr not enough to provide any momentum.

Rovers, meanwhile, still looked dangerous on the counter-attack and Chorley bravely threw himself in front of a Fenelon strike to stop them strengthening their lead.

Awford was forced into making his second change of the afternoon on 57 minutes when Ryan Taylor limped off to be replaced by debutant Holmes.

The manager’s mood soon improved, however, as just seconds later Pompey found themselves level.

A Westcarr corner was helped on to WALLACE and the Blues’ top scorer saw his fierce 25-yard effort deflected past Fon Williams.

The visitors’ confidence seemed to sky-rocket and a series of corners caused havoc inside the Tranmere box.

But they were soon brought back down to earth when Rowe slammed home an unstoppable shot after being afforded too much time in the Blues box.

Rovers were looking shaky, though, and a defensive mix-up almost allowed Westcarr to sneak in and score on 71 minutes.

The striker then turned neatly in the box, only to see Fon Williams get down quickly and save his low shot.

But the match was put beyond Pompey’s reach when the hosts bagged a third goal on 77 minutes.

Referee Carl Boyeson pointed straight to the spot after spotting a push on Rowe by Wallace inside the area.

Jones guessed the right way to push away Power’s penalty, but the midfielder reacted quickly to fire home the loose ball.

Tranmere (3-5-2): Fon Williams; Holmes, Aimson (Holness 21), Ihiekwe; Donacien, Power, Jennings (c), Rowe (Laird 82), Ridehalgh; Fenelon, Stockton (Odejayi 85)
Goals: Fenelon 2, Rowe 67, Power 77
Booked: Jennings
Subs not used: Pilling, Koumas, Madjo, Jahraldo-Martin

Pompey (4-4-2): Jones; Fish, Robinson, Whatmough (Chorley 27), Butler; Wallace, Bean (R.Holmes 78), Hollands (c), Storey; Westcarr, Taylor (L.Holmes 57)
Goals: Wallace 57
Booked: Wallace
Subs not used: Poke, Ertl, Shorey, Atangana 

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 5,163 (797 Pompey fans)

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