A Tranmere Rovers XI were narrowly and disappointingly defeated at Kirklands to a hard-working Cammell Lairds side.
Managed by John Barnes, a strong side was sent out to face the local side. The team included new signings Paul McLaren and Mark Allott whilst three trialists also started.
The game wasn’t the best with neither side having the better of the first half although Charlie Barnett went close for Tranmere and Terry Gornell hit the bar.
Some neat play from Lairds led to the opening goal. A ball was played down the wing and crossed into the box for a Lairds striker to beat trialist defender Stefan Hansen to and put the ball into an empty net.
There was a sudden urgency in Tranmere’s play and they kept losing the ball which angered manager Barnes, who told them to remain calm and keep moving the ball about on the deck. The days of long ball under Ronnie Moore seem to be long gone.
At half-time the home side led 1-0 but after the re-start the visitors were level. A slick move including Charlie Barnett, Aaron Cresswell and Terry Gornell was neatly finished by Barnett, who rifled the ball into the bottom corner to draw Tranmere level.
Parity was not to last long though as a poor error from trialist goalkeeper Patrick Lane allowed Lairds to go 2-1 up. Lairds soon found themselves 3-1 up as the rain began to come down. A poor backpass from fellow trialist Hansen left Lane in a world of trouble and he could only slide the ball into the direction of a Lairds striker who slotted the ball into an unguarded net.
Tranmere managed to pull a goal back late on through youngster Ryan Fraughan, who hit a terrific shot into the top corner from the edge of the area but it proved to be too little, too late as Lairds held on for the 3-2 win. Not the best of starts for Barnes and there is plenty of room for improvement.
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