Tranmere defeated at home in first game of season

Tranmere hosted Barrow this afternoon in their first fixture of the 2023/24 League Two season.

Ahead of the game, Ian Dawes said, “I was happy with the pre-season process; the understanding is getting better, and it looks a lot smoother on the pitch.

“The team behind the team has been working hard over the last year identifying the right players to improve us. One of the big things was getting business done early so we can work with the players, and the Chairman has backed us.

“The balance is better; the senior lads can help the younger players and guide them more. Teams who get promoted, it’s very rare that they have a smooth run, there’s normally dips along the way, and it’s about managing those for the younger lads.

“Every game will be a tough test, there’s so many different styles of play in League Two. They offer different challenges, and we have to manage those challenges, but we focus on us, what we do with the ball and get a positive result at the end of it.”

Match Report: Tranmere Rovers v Barrow

Tranmere Rovers 0 v 2 Barrow
Josh Hawkes (63′ pen)GoalsNiall Canavan (19′)
Kian Spence (70′)
AssistsKian Spence (19′)
HT 0-1

Tranmere Rovers kicked off their season with a loss at Prenton Park against Barrow.

Rovers took the initiative from the start and came close to creating an early opportunity. Paul Lewis skillfully cushioned a header for Harvey Saunders inside the box, but the Barrow defenders swiftly intervened and cleared the danger.

In the opening moments of the game, Barrow had the first chance as George Ray headed a cross towards the goal, but Luke McGee handled it skillfully to thwart the attempt.

Tranmere quickly retaliated, with Josh Hawkes making a strong run down the left and launching a shot at the goal, only to be denied by a great save from Paul Farman in the Barrow goal.

Barrow managed to penetrate the Rovers’ defence and create a slightly tense moment when the ball deflected off a Tranmere player’s chest and headed towards the goal. However, Luke McGee remained composed and confidently caught the ball, dispelling any potential danger.

However, Barrow found their breakthrough in the 19th minute when Niall Canavan’s shot deflected off a Tranmere player, leaving McGee with no chance as the ball found its way into the bottom corner of the net.

Tranmere had an opportunity to level the score after a defensive error from the visitors sent Hawkes sprinting towards the goalkeeper. However, Farman was quick off his line, rushing to confront the winger and thwarting the chance.

Later on, Tranmere had another promising moment when Lewis was fouled just outside the box at the half-hour mark. Regan Hendry delivered a well-placed free-kick, and Connor Jennings managed to get on the end of it, but unfortunately, his shot veered wide of the target.

As the first half neared its end, the intensity of the game escalated, and both Lee O’Connor and Dean Campbell received quick successive bookings. However, despite their efforts, Tranmere Rovers found themselves trailing by a goal as the halftime whistle blew.

In the early stages of the second half, Rovers earned a couple of free-kicks in promising positions, looking to create opportunities, but Barrow’s defence remained resolute, denying them any chance to equalize.

On the 63rd minute, Tranmere Rovers were awarded a penalty when Harvey Saunders was fouled inside the box. Josh Hawkes confidently stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner, bringing the scores level.

Shortly after, Rovers came close to securing a second goal, with Kieron Morris, who came on as a substitute during halftime, unleashing a shot. However, his effort was blocked by the opposing defense, denying Rovers the opportunity to take the lead.

Against the flow of the game, Barrow managed to take the lead once more in the 70th minute when Kian Spence delivered a powerful strike that found the top corner of McGee’s net.

Tranmere made substitutions, introducing Luke Norris and Kristian Dennis, both making their debuts for the team, as they continued their relentless pursuit of an equalizer.

Despite a late surge of attacks from Tranmere Rovers, Barrow held their ground and ultimately secured the victory, taking away all three points.

Tranmere visit Barnsley in the EFL Cup on Tuesday 8 August and visit Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday 12 August for their second game of the 2023/24 League Two season.

Match Highlights


Credit: Tony Coombes

Fans’ Twitter Reaction

Post Match Interview


Tranmere Rovers – Formation 4-3-3
1 Luke McGee GK
2 Lee O’Connor DF
3 Jake Leake DF
5 Tom Davies (C) DF
6 Jordan Turnbull DF
4 Brad Walker MF
22 Paul Lewis MF
8 Regan Hendry MF
18 Connor Jennings FW
19 Harvey Saunders FW
11 Josh Hawkes FW

13 Joe Murphy SUB
21 Josef Yarney SUB
23 Reece McAlear SUB
7 Kieron Morris SUB
14 Kristian Dennis SUB
9 Luke Norris SUB
20 Samuel Taylor SUB

Ian Dawes

Match Officials
Ollie Yates
Assistants: Grant Taylor and Oliver Bickle
Fourth official: Stephen Wade

Barrow – Formation 3-5-2
1 Paul Farman GK
6 Niall Canavan (C) 19‎’‎ DF
5 George Ray DF
8 Kian Spence DF
7 David Worrall MF
4 Dean Campbell MF
11 Elliot Newby MF
13 Tom White MF
24 Rory Feely MF
20 Emile Acquah FW
10 Gerard Garner FW

12 Josh Lillis SUB
29 Junior Tiensia SUB
21 Tyrell Warren SUB
16 Sam Foley SUB
15 Robbie Gotts SUB
14 Courtney Duffus SUB
37 Sean Etoluku SUB

Pete Wild

Attendance: 6584

League Table

League 2 season attendance

2023/24 Total home attendance6584
2023/24 Total away attendance0
2023/24 Total attendance (Home & Away)6584
2023/24 Average home attendance6584
2023/24 Average away attendance0
2023/24 Total average attendance6584

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