97th minute goal means defeat for Tranmere

Tranmere hosted MK Dons on Saturday afternoon in their latest game of the League 2 season.

Ahead of the game, Nigel Adkins said, “It’ll be very much similar to the Notts County game. Mike (Williamson, MK Dons manager) has come in and done well, great reputation at Gateshead and how they want to play, teams want to go and do that now – build out, box in midfield, width with the wing-backs going in there, threats up front, wanting to play possession-based football. 

“So it’s going to be a similar set-up to Notts County in our last home game, you could see that, I think Notts County are very, very good, and they’re going to be set up more or less exactly the same way in how they want to play and play through.

“We’ve got to be on it. I think the fans were great at the last home game against Notts County.

“They were great in the last game at Barrow as well, but especially at home, understanding that at times the opposition are going to have the ball, but we’re a very good pressing side and it’s where you go and press is the important thing.

“From my point of view, I’m looking forward to the game because I know it’s going to be a tough, challenging one.”

Match Report: Barrow v Tranmere Rovers

Tranmere Rovers 1v2 MK Dons
Morris (12′)GoalsGilbey (9′)
Harrison (90’+7)
AssistsWilliams (9′)
HT 1-1

Tranmere Rovers suffered a late 2-1 loss against MK Dons, ending their streak of home league victories.

The away team took the lead in the ninth minute, with Alex Gilbey slotting the ball into the bottom corner from a distance.

Rovers managed to equalize a mere three minutes later when Kieron Morris’ deflected shot beat Michael Kelly.

Substitute Ellis Harrison scored in additional time, securing the away side’s victory.

Both teams started with pace, and Rovers took the initiative in the attack. Connor Jennings showcased good ball control in the box, earning a corner that yielded no results.

Within the opening ten minutes, MK Dons seized the lead. Gilbey advanced, unleashing a shot from a distance that nestled into the bottom corner.

Nevertheless, Rovers swiftly responded just a couple of minutes later. Dan Pike delivered an exquisite long ball to Morris, who skillfully controlled it, cut inside, and found the net with a deflected shot.

The visitors adopted a patient approach in their bid to reclaim the lead. Joe Tomlinson aimed a low effort at Luke McGee, with the clock reaching the 20-minute mark.

Tom Davies blocked a powerful shot from Jack Payne as MK Dons persisted in their search for a second goal. Pike then stepped in to block Gilbey’s close-range opportunity in the penalty area, following a well-placed ball from the right.

Morris lost possession just inside the MK half, leading to a break by the visitors. McGee made an excellent save to thwart Gilbey in a one-on-one situation.

The Rovers goalkeeper had to rush out once again, this time to close down Dan Kemp, as the first half approached its conclusion. Despite Mike Williamson’s side enjoying the majority of possession, the teams went into the break on level terms.

Kemp skewed a shot wide in the box nine minutes into the second half. The visiting forward had previously found the net at Prenton Park for Swindon Town three weeks ago during his loan spell with the Robins.

As the hour mark clocked up, Tomlinson attempted a curling shot from a distance, but McGee collected it comfortably. Rovers swiftly launched a counter, earning a corner after Jordan Turnbull’s shot deflected behind. However, goalkeeper Michael Kelly easily claimed the delivered ball.

Referee Darren Drysdale dismissed Jennings’ handball appeals, as his first-time effort was blocked in the penalty area. On the other end, Lofthouse sent an attempt wide of the near post.

Jennings had another opportunity with a header at the back post from Dan Pike’s deep cross, but Kelly made the collection. The game evolved into an end-to-end affair, with Payne firing over for MK Dons shortly after the Rovers chance.

Payne’s subsequent attempt trickled wide of the near post, and Kemp missed the target with a powerful effort inside the box.

Substitute Ellis Harrison squandered a prime chance to propel MK Dons into the lead late in the game. He was played through one-on-one but pulled his shot wide of the goal.

As added time approached, Rovers had their opportunity to secure victory. Jennings supplied the ball to Rob Apter, who fired over after being forced onto his weaker right foot.

Unfortunately, Rovers endured late heartbreak when an MK Dons corner created chaos in the box. The ball landed at the back post for Harrison, who confidently struck it home, securing the away side the crucial points.

Tranmere visit Swindon Town on 20 January for their next game of the 2023/24 League Two season.

Match Highlights


Credit: Tony Coombes/TRFC

Fans’ X/Twitter Reaction


Post Match Interview


Tranmere Rovers – Formation 4-4-2
1 Luke McGee GK
24 Dan Pike DF
27 Connor Wood DF
5 Tom Davies (C) DF
6 Jordan Turnbull DF
4 Brad Walker MF
25 Robert Apter MF
8 Regan Hendry MF
7 Kieron Morris MF
12 Charlie Jolley FW
18 Connor Jennings FW

13 Joe Murphy SUB
26 James Norris SUB
21 Josef Yarney SUB
11 Josh Hawkes SUB
22 Paul Lewis SUB
23 Reece McAlea SUB
14 Kristian Dennis SUB

Nigel Adkins

Match Officials
Darren Drysdale
Assistants: Daniel Robinson and Grant Taylor
Fourth official: Alex Gray

MK Dons – Formation 3-4-3
32 Michael Kelly GK
3 Dean Lewington (C) DF
5 Warren O’Hora DF
2 Cameron Norman DF
29 Kyran Lofthouse MF
14 Joseph Tomlinson MF
11 Jack Payne MF
6 M.J. Williams MF
18 Max Dean FW
27 Daniel Kemp FW
8 Alex Gilbey FW

1 Craig MacGillivray SUB
15 Tommy Smith SUB
16 Conor Grant SUB
10 Mohamed Eisa SUB
9 Ellis Harrison SUB
7 Jonathan Leko SUB

Mike Williamson

Attendance: 6862

League 2 season attendance

2023/24 Total home attendance89534
2023/24 Total away attendance74768
2023/24 Total H&A attendance164302
2023/24 Average home attendance6359
2023/24 Average away attendance5341
2023/24 Average H&A attendance5868

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