Date: 20th December 2009 at 12:08am
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A brilliant team performance from Tranmere Rovers earned the Wirral side a 2-0 win against their fellow Rovers of Bristol, who slipped to their sixth successive away defeat and out of the top six.

Les Parry, who was appointed as Tranmere manager until the end of the season in midweek, was forced into a change for this match as defender Marlon Broomes was suspended so Ash Taylor dropped back to centre half and Paul McLaren filled the void in midfield.

Bristol Rovers also made one change following their 3-0 demolition of Swindon with Chris Dickson coming into the starting XI to replace the injured Jo Kuffour, a tormentor of Tranmere in past meetings between the sides.

The hosts started brightly with Shaleum Logan lashing wide from 25 yards out and Ian Thomas-Moore forcing visiting goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen into a smart save. Bristol Rovers then fashioned a chance of their own with Luke Daniels having to be at his best to deny Mark Wright the opening goal of the game.

The rain came over Prenton Park as conditions deteriorated. Memories came flooding back of a fixture at the same footballing weekend last season. Tranmere beat Brighton 1-0 in a dire game in dire conditions with Antony Kay getting a last minute winner. The home crowd were hoping to see a better performance and more goals in this one.

The poor conditions almost led to an opening goal for the visitors. A long ball forward bounced over Daniels but the loanee managed to grab the ball before Chris Dickson could pounce. Tranmere’s talismanic defender Ian Goodison came close to scoring with a header following a well-worked corner between Zoumana Bakayogo, who has been outstanding in recent weeks, and the ever-improving Craig Curran. The Jamaican centre-half was unlucky to see his effort go just wide of the far post.

It was Curran who was to open the scoring with a superb strike. The young striker picked the ball up on the edge of the box and beat his man before curling a beautiful left-foot shot into the top corner past the motionless Andersen. Curran’s celebration typified what the rest of the season has to be about; passion, desire and commitment to the cause.

Neither side fashioned any clear-cut chances before half-time came and Tranmere took what was a well-deserved lead into the break. News filtered through of the half-times scores elsewhere which, at the time, were going to put a dampener on what was looking like a good day for Tranmere but there were still 45 minutes left to play.

The first ten minutes of the second half were dominated by Bristol Rovers but the Gas failed to take advantage as Chris Lines’ header cannoned back off the crossbar in a warning to the hosts. Seconds later they were made to pay for the miss.

Good work from Terry Gornell and Ian Thomas-Moore freed Zoumana Bakayogo down the left and side and his cross fell for Gareth Edds to drive home his third goal of the season to give Tranmere a comfortable cushion with which they could see out the rest of the half.

Despite having the game wrapped up, the home side pressed forward and searched for more goals. Curran headed straight at Andersen when perhaps he could have taken a touch, as did Gornell. Edds shot wide on a few occasions and Thomas-Moore had a shot cleared off the line.

Daniels made sure he kept a clean sheet with a fine save from substitute Darryl Duffy in injury time as the clock ticked down towards full-time. When the final whistle did come, cheers echoed from the Prenton Park rafters as the home side had won themselves a crucial three points ahead of the Christmas period. This was coupled with news of results elsewhere meant the Whtites had moved up to 22nd and were now a mere three points away from safety.