Late Apter strike secures Tranmere win

Tranmere hosted Sutton United on Saturday afternoon in their latest game of the League 2 season.

Ahead of the game, Nigel Adkins said, “We know it’s going to be competitive, but our last game at home, we knew it was going to be competitive, we won 4-0. Same mentality going into this game, which is what I’d like to think we’ve consistently done, especially since November. A couple of games, the results have gone against us, but we could quite easily have won those games. 

“New manager’s gone in there, obviously they brought some new players in as well, but the principals are still there. You’re going to have to work hard, you’re going to have to compete, you’re going to have to be very good defending set pieces. We’ve been in every game, and we’ve been competitive, and we need to continue that, with that mindset and that resilience and that dogged spirit that we’ve got, and the flair and the goals we score.” 

Match Report: Tranmere Rovers v Sutton United

Tranmere Rovers 1v0 Sutton United
Apter (87′)Goals
Jennings (87′)Assists
HT 0-0

Tranmere Rovers secured victory in a hard-fought match at Prenton Park, defeating Sutton United 1-0.

The decisive moment came from Rob Apter’s late curled strike, eluding Steve Arnold in Sutton’s goal, propelling the hosts ahead in the 87th minute.

Despite Connor Jennings’ penalty miss early in the second half and a denied spot-kick before the break for a perceived handball on the line, Tranmere maintain their 18th position in League Two.

Meanwhile, the away side continues to languish at the bottom, trailing six points behind safety.

The visitors started the game with Craig Eastmond launching a shot from outside the box, narrowly missing the post. Shortly after, the Sutton captain had a goal disallowed due to a handball in the build-up.

Rovers sought to assert themselves, with Regan Hendry’s long-range shot deflected away. Tensions rose as Nino Adom-Malaki received a booking for a strong reaction to Tom Davies’ challenge, and Brad Walker was cautioned separately for dissent.

Tranmere’s Kieron Morris tested Arnold with a tight angle shot, prompting the goalkeeper to push the effort behind. Despite some skillful play from Tranmere, Harry Smith missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring for Sutton after 20 minutes, failing to hit the target from a few yards out.

Apter manoeuvred inside and attempted a low shot, but it dribbled into Arnold’s grasp.

In the final ten minutes of the half, Charlie Lakin controlled a long ball in the box, firing a shot that Luke McGee deflected with his legs, guiding it behind.

Controversy arose as Rovers felt they were denied a penalty; Harvey Saunders’ box shot seemed to hit a Sutton defender’s arms on the line. Referee Ruebyn Ricardo remained unmoved, and Saunders received a booking for dissent.

The visitors received a free-kick in a promising edge-of-the-box position, but Lakin’s attempt was easily dealt with by McGee. On the flip side, Apter secured a corner as his shot deflected into the side netting, yet Tranmere couldn’t capitalise.

McGee delivered a remarkable save to thwart Oli Sanderson early in the second half, as the forward received a precise flick to go one-on-one with the goal.

Eastmond advanced to the byline, delivering a low ball that was saved, leading to a Rovers counter. Apter tested Arnold’s reflexes twice before Hendry’s long-range attempt was pushed behind.

Ten minutes into the half, Tranmere earned a penalty after Saunders was fouled while attacking a corner. Despite scoring eleven times this season, Jennings couldn’t add another as Arnold denied his spot-kick.

A quieter period in terms of chances ensued. With twenty minutes remaining, Connor Wood attempted a shot from the edge, but it looped over the bar. On the other end, substitute Josh Coley’s header was on target, but McGee made a crucial stop to deny him.

Davies and Hendry collaborated with blocks to thwart Sutton’s attempts as the visitors pressed for a decisive goal. Lakin’s long-range volley went well wide, and Sanderson’s low effort found the side netting.

Tranmere found themselves under pressure, but a crucial interception by Jennings allowed the hosts to counter. Hendry set up Saunders, whose shot was parried behind. Davies connected with the ensuing corner but headed wide.

The breakthrough arrived in the 87th minute when Apter found space, curling a shot past Sutton’s goalkeeper.

In the final minutes, Sutton exerted intense pressure, but Rovers held their ground, securing the points with a resilient performance at Prenton Park.

Tranmere visit Gillingham on Saturday, 9 March, 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
2 Lee O’Connor DF
27 Connor Wood DF
5 Tom Davies (C) DF
6 Jordan Turnbull DF
4 Brad Walker 16‎’‎ MF
25 Robert Apter MF
8 Regan Hendry MF
7 Kieron Morris MF
19 Harvey Saunders FW
18 Connor Jennings FW

13 Joe Murphy SUB
24 Dan Pike SUB
21 Josef Yarney SUB
11 Josh Hawkes SUB
22 Paul Lewis SUB
16 Chris Merrie SUB
9 Luke Norris SUB

Nigel Adkins

Match Officials
Ruebyn Ricardo
Assistants: Grant Taylor and Matthew Sowerby
Fourth official: Matt Corlett

Sutton United – Formation 3-4-2-1
25 Steve Arnold GK
42 Sam Hart DF
5 Ben Goodliffe DF
22 Joe Kizzi DF
23 Ryan Jackson MF
3 Sashiel Adom-Malaki MF
15 Craig Eastmond (C) MF
16 Craig Clay MF
31 Charlie Lakin FW
38 Oliver Sanderson FW
9 Harry Smith FW

21 Dean Bouzanis SUB
39 Jay Williams SUB
7 Josh Coley SUB
50 Stephen Duke-McKenna SUB
8 Christian N’Guessan SUB
35 Jack Taylor SUB
27 Deon Moore SUB

Steve Morison

Attendance: 5423

League 2 season attendance

2023/24 Total home attendance115494
2023/24 Total away attendance97131
2023/24 Total H&A attendance212625
2023/24 Average home attendance6416
2023/24 Average away attendance5396
2023/24 Average H&A attendance5906

Why not follow Birkenhead News on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to