Date: 7th May 2009 at 3:30pm
Written by: Sam Robinson

By Sam Robinson

A dramatic 88th-minute equalizer by skipper Cliff Byrne helped Scunthorpe United snatch the final place in the League One play-offs at the expense of their opponents, Tranmere Rovers.

Going into the game, Tranmere knew that nothing less than a win would do whereas Scunthorpe could draw and still claim a play-off spot.

With the minutes ticking away it seemed that Tranmere would deny Scunthorpe that play-off place as they led by a 39th-minute goal from Craig Curran. The young frontman heading home at the far post after some good work by Ian Moore in the box.

Tranmere almost doubled their advantage before half-time but stand-in keeper Josh Lillis, a late replacement for ex-Tranmere man Joe Murphy, brilliantly turned Steve Jennings`s acrobatic effort around the post as the visitors pressed for a goal to kill the game off.

The visitors had bossed the first half in this winner take all clash between the two teams battling for the one remaining play-off spot and a two-legged tie against the Milton Keynes Dons.

Scunthorpe came storming back in the second half to put Tranmere under pressure and it eventually paid off for the hosts.

Scunthorpe couldn’t find their finishing touch in front of goal with 30-goal leading marksman Gary Hooper missing a hat-trick of openings; the easiest of which was sent over the stand from six yards out. Fellow striker Paul Hayes also went desperately close on a number of occasions but it didn`t seem to be Scunthorpe`s day in front of goal.

It was left to skipper Cliff Byrne to rescue his side a priceless point and that final play-off place when he headed home a Grant McCann free-kick that was knocked high into the box for his second goal in successive games.

It came just seconds after the visitors had been reduced to ten men when defender Gareth Edds was sent off by referee Steve Tanner for a second bookable offence.

It was desperately hard luck on the Rovers who looked comfortably in control for long spells of the tie but they were unable to snatch the winner they needed as the game drifted into four minutes of stoppage time.

Scunthorpe now go forward to face MK Dons in the two-legged play-offs.