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24 February 2015

Blues complete remarkable turnaround at Fratton

Ryan Taylor was the hero as Pompey came from two goals down to snatch an unlikely victory against Tranmere and extend their unbeaten run to six matches.

Jennison Myrie-Williams had fired the visitors ahead and an unfortunate Paul Jones own-goal looked to have secured maximum points for the Merseysiders.

But Craig Westcarr came off the bench to give the Fratton faithful hope with a neat header.

And Taylor then grabbed two late goals to complete a remarkable turnaround – the second sparking wild scenes of delight from the home support.

Andy Awford stuck with the same starting 11 that comprehensively won at Cambridge on Saturday.

Former Pompey defender Josh Thompson started for the visitors, while goalkeeper Peter Brezovan – who had a short stint at Fratton Park earlier in the season – was on the bench.

The hosts came roaring out of the traps, just as they had done at the Abbey Stadium three days earlier.

A corner was only partially cleared and Taylor’s follow-up header had to be hacked from the line by Marc Laird in the opening seconds.

Josh Passley then burst down the right and delivered a cross-cum-shot that was nervously palmed clear by Rovers keeper Owain Fon Williams.

But the match slowed considerably after that bright start, with Pompey struggling to create any more meaningful openings.

Rory Donnelly had the visitors’ first chance when he shot wide after ignoring the cries of his better-placed team-mates.

He made amends by teeing-up Myrie-Williams for Tranmere’s opener on 28 minutes, with the striker neatly firing the ball across Jones and into the net.

Things got worse for the Blues, as James Dunne received his 10th yellow card of the season for a late challenge on Laird, ruling him out of the next two games.

And Laird soon followed the midfielder into referee Iain Williamson’s book when he sought retribution with a crude foul of his own.

Jed Wallace finally sparked some life into a Pompey side looking short on ideas but, after a neat touch took him past Rob Taylor, his low shot was comfortable for Fon Williams.

And Thompson then cut out a threaded Danny Hollands pass intended for Matt Tubbs to ensure Rovers would go in ahead at the interval.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Tranmere 1

Wallace had a chance to level moments after the break when the ball fell to him inside the box, but could not keep his shot down.

Instead the Blues found themselves further behind courtesy of a calamitous own-goal on 50 minutes.

Danny Holmes sent in a teasing cross that Kayode Odejayi appeared to handle, although Devera well placed to stop it crossing the line.

Unfortunately for the defender, however, his clearance cannoned off the back of Jones and ricocheted into the net.

Awford soon decided to make his first switch, bringing on Andy Barcham for Devera and switching to a 4-4-2 formation.

Tubbs came close to reducing the deficit on the hour mark, only for Fon Williams to get down quickly and make the save.

Dunne then had a shot deflected narrowly wide before Hollands headed over from the resulting corner.

Awford threw on an extra striker in an attempt to salvage something from the game, with Passley making way for Westcarr on 72 minutes.

And the striker made an immediate impact as Pompey pulled a goal back just a few moments later.

Tubbs whipped an inviting cross into the box and WESTCARR rose highest to plant the ball past Fon Williams.

Teenage striker Conor Chaplin was given another chance to impress, with Awford withdrawing Hollands and opting to play with four strikers.

But it was TAYLOR who drew Pompey level on 82 minutes, driving the ball into the net after Tranmere failed to deal with Dan Butler’s cross.

And the cheers grew even louder soon after when TAYLOR rose at the back post to head home after Butler’s corner had been flicked on.

There was an audible groan inside Fratton Park when the fourth official displayed six minutes of stoppage-time.

But Pompey held on to make it three successive victories on a magical night on the south coast.

Pompey (3-5-2): Jones; Devera (Barcham 56), Robinson (c), Whatmough; Passley (Westcarr 72), Dunne, Wallace, Hollands (Chaplin 79), Butler; Tubbs, Taylor
Goals: Westcarr 76, Taylor 82, 85
Booked: Dunne, Tubbs
Subs not used: Poke, Chorley, Ertl, Atangana

Tranmere (3-5-2): Fon Williams; Thompson (McGahey 70), Dugdale, Taylor (Ridehalgh 46); Holmes, Laird, Jennings (c), Power, Donnelly (Ihiekwe 81); Myrie-Williams, Odejayi
Goals: Myrie-Williams 28, Jones 50 (og)
Booked: Laird
Subs not used: Brezovan, Molyneux, Kirby, Hume

Referee: Iain Williamson

Attendance: 13,660 (232 away fans)

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