Tranmere’s fight falls short in away loss at Doncaster

Tranmere visited Doncaster Rovers on Saturday afternoon in their latest game of the League 2 season.

Ahead of the game, Nigel Adkins said, “Every game’s a challenge and obviously I know Grant McCann, and Cliff Byrne, both played for me previously at Scunthorpe United and they’ve had a real good coaching career so far. I know they’re being expected to do really well this season, they were well backed in the summer window, but I know that they’ve had challenges to overcome. 

“We know it’s going to be a very committed game. We’ve got to be ready for that. We’ve got to expect the unexpected, maybe they will change formation, maybe they will change personnel that they’ve got. They’ve got to try and find the next way to go and win a game of football, whereas we’ve been able to keep a bit of consistency, but we seriously have to be very, very mindful.” 

Match Report: Doncaster Rovers v Tranmere Rovers

Doncaster Rovers 2v1 Tranmere Rovers
Ironside (15′)
Adelakun (64′)
GoalsHawkes (60′)
Adelakun (15′)AssistsWoods (60′)
HT 1-0

Tranmere Rovers suffered a 2-1 loss away to Doncaster Rovers at the Eco-Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The home team took the lead 15 minutes into the match as Joe Ironside headed in from Hakeeb Adelakun’s cross.

Rovers managed to equalize in the 60th minute, courtesy of substitute Josh Hawkes, whose curled shot found the net off the inside of the far post.

Doncaster swiftly reclaimed the lead when Adelakun rounded Luke McGee and calmly tapped the ball into an empty net, securing the decisive goal.

Tranmere came close to scoring within the first five minutes. Tom Davies swiftly delivered a free kick down the right channel to Rob Apter. The winger advanced and provided a cross for Connor Jennings, whose header narrowly missed the far post.

Both teams had possession in the early stages, with the hosts creating some threatening opportunities. Adelakun delivered a dangerous ball, skillfully blocked behind by Brad Walker.

Despite Rovers’ efforts, they couldn’t handle Adelakun’s subsequent cross, whipped into the box and skillfully guided home by forward Ironside in the 15th minute.

Charlie Jolley executed a crucial headed clearance on the line, denying Doncaster a second goal, before Rovers took control of possession in the latter part of the half. Apter continued to be active, manoeuvring through red and white shirts before delivering a wicked ball that somehow evaded everyone in the penalty area.

Moments later, Regan Hendry’s attempt went wide as the visitors sought an equaliser before the half-time whistle. Jennings controlled the ball in the box and, with a volley, forced Thimothée Lo-Tutala into a strong save.

Tranmere aimed to start the second half positively and came close to levelling the score when Jennings set up Apter for a low drive from a distance, narrowly missing the target.

The breakthrough for Tranmere came on the hour mark when Hawkes, subbed on for Kieron Morris, swiftly made an impact by cutting inside from the left and curling the ball beyond Lo-Tutala.

However, their joy was short-lived as Doncaster regained the lead just four minutes later. Owen Bailey delivered a long ball to Adelakun, who rounded McGee and calmly tapped the ball into an open net.

Harvey Saunders, coming off the bench, almost provided the perfect response, hitting the post with a volley after connecting with a ball played over the top.

Lo-Tutala made a commendable save, pushing away Apter’s curling attempt as Rovers persistently pressed for a breakthrough. As the minutes counted down, Hawkes sent an effort wide from a distance.

In added time, the Doncaster goalkeeper escaped conceding when his kick rebounded off Saunders and narrowly missed the target.

Nevertheless, this proved to be the final action of the game, and Rovers succumbed to a defeat on their away outing.

Tranmere host Morecambe on Tuesday, 14 February, for their next game of the 2023/24 League Two season.

Match Highlights


Credit: Tony Coombes/TRFC

Fans’ X/Twitter Reaction

Post Match Interview


Doncaster Rovers – Formation 5-4-1
15 Thimothee Lo-Tutala GK
17 Owen Bailey DF
23 Jack Senior DF
6 Richard Wood (C) DF
5 Joseph Olowu DF
2 Jamie Sterry DF
7 Luke Molyneux MF
37 Matthew Craig MF
40 Billy Waters MF
47 Hakeeb Adelakun MF
20 Joe Ironside FW

12 Louis Jones SUB
4 Tom Anderson SUB
3 James Maxwell SUB
14 Harrison Biggins SUB
8 George Broadbent SUB
35 Jack Goodman SUB
21 Kyle Hurst SUB

Grant McCann

Match Officials
John Busby
Assistants: Danny Jarvis and Emmanuel Edet
Fourth official: Sebastian Stockbridge

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 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 McAlear SUB
19 Harvey Saunders SUB

Nigel Adkins

Attendance: 6389

League 2 season attendance

2023/24 Total home attendance96703
2023/24 Total away attendance87578
2023/24 Total H&A attendance184281
2023/24 Average home attendance6447
2023/24 Average away attendance5474
2023/24 Average H&A attendance5960

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