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After a long hiatus Mark is back with a new story. Where will it take him?

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September 2024 Review


Welcome to September's review.

https://i.postimg.cc/0j2DjtSz/TRFC-202425-Game8.png
7 September 2024

The top two clashed in the first league game of September 2024, with Colchester leading on goal difference. By the end, the placings had been reversed and the U's had suffered their first league loss of the campaign. The only goal of the game came as early as the 4th minute when skipper Jon Murray sent in an arcing free-kick and winger Carlo Banks directed his header into the far corner. The defence were immense that day with Swindon Town loanee Myles Kenlock particularly outstanding in defence and attack.

Team: Dewhurst; Williams, Reynolds, Mbulu, Kenlock; Ofoborh; Durrant, Murray ©; Carlo Banks, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Songo'o (for Williams 40), Sea (for Mullin 59), Collier (for Pressley 72), Ward, Graham, De Boer, Scott.
Goalscorer: Carlo Banks (4)
Man of the Match: Myles Kenlock (Tranmere)
Attendance: 3999 (460 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/FRF7VYHq/TRFC-202425-Game9.png
14 September 2024

Struggling Shrewsbury made it hard for us when we hosted them the week after the Colchester win, but we earned three points thanks to another late winner. That goal came just two minutes from time when Neco Williams sent Banks away down the right. The winger played the ball in towards Dimitri Sea, and although Grant got a vital tackle in, the ball rolled to Sam Durrant who potted in his third of the season from 12 yards out.

Team: Dewhurst; Williams, Reynolds, Mbulu, Kenlock; Ofoborh; Durrant, Murray ©; Carlo Banks, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Scott (for Mullin 55), Sea (for Pressley 66), Collier, Ward, Graham, De Boer, Nicholls.
Goalscorer: Durrant (88)
Booked: Ofoborh (5)
Man of the Match: Nnamdi Ofoborh (Tranmere)
Attendance: 8745 (836 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/Zq5Wr9RQ/TRFC-202425-Game10.png
21 September 2024

Better late than not at all is what I can say after the trip to South Wales. Just as it looked we were set for our third loss of the season, we popped up with a dramatic equaliser. I reshuffled the pack as I felt that some players weren't doing their jobs and we could utilise the large squad we have at our disposal. It didn't start too well with the home side taking the lead after nine minutes when a right wing corner was headed down to Crookes to volley in off the post. It was a goal that we've scored many times ourselves before. Yet we were the better side all game, and we deservedly got an equaliser in the second minute of injury time at the end of the game. Jake Nicholls crossed form the right, and Jake Collier pulled away from his marker to take a touch and then place a shot out of the reach of Burge for his fourth of the season, sparking huge celebrations.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Reynolds, Mbulu, Kenlock; Ofoborh; Durrant, Murray ©; Williams, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Collier (for Pressley 19), Scott (for Williams 54), Carlo Banks (for Durrant 72), Ward, Graham, Songo'o, Sea.
Goalscorer: Collier (90+2)
Booked: Williams (36)
Man of the Match: Adam Crookes (Newport County)
Attendance: 3967 (436 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/GtxR7Qgx/TRFC-202425-Game11.png
28 September 2024

A five goal thriller saw us finish the month of September unbeaten. We took the lead in the seventh minute when Murray fooled the away defence by pulling the ball back to the edge of the area instead of swinging in the free kick. It landed at the feet of Paul Mullin, who was to have an eventful game, and the inside forward took two touches before drilling in a low effort from 20 yards. Three minutes later, he created the second when his deep left wing cross at the far post was met by Williams who lashed in a well struck volley into the top corner. They reduced the margin in the 56th minute, a risky pass by Mullin in defence went straight to Okenabirhie and he made no mistake from close range.

Midway through the second half, we regained a two goal advantage when a corner from Mullin was met by a powerful header from Yann Songo'o for the versatile player's first in Tranmere colours. They scored again with eight minutes through Lowery but we held on for three more than welcomed points.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; Durrant, Murray ©; Williams, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Sea (for Pressley 62), Reynolds (for Kenlock 67), Collier (for Mullin 75), Ward, Ofoborh, Scott, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorers: Mullin (7), Williams (10), Songo'o (66)
Man of the Match: Paul Mullin (Tranmere)
Attendance: 8033 (168 away)

So after two months, these are the standings:

https://i.postimg.cc/nLgPvD2V/TRFC-Table-End-Sep2024.png

Analysis: That was a much better month with no additional losses on the record, although it could have been much more different if it wasn't for that late equaliser in Newport. The lead might be only a point but we're doing alright it has to be said. I have had to change the squad around as I felt that some players weren't worthy of a start, and others need a chance to prove themselves here. Unfortunately this has meant that some of last season's title winning squad aren't guaranteed places in the starting eleven and might have to settle for places either on the bench or not in the matchday squad at all.

More tests await, and we might need every body available to us if we are to mount an unexpected promotion challenge as some are tipping already.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Monthly Awards: September 2024


Time to see who won what in the latest League Two Monthly Awards:

Manager of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/vTv09Bh0/L2-MOTM-Sep2024.png
That was a tough decision for the panel to make eh? Three managers with identical records, but they decided instead to plump for the former Derby defender. That makes two second places, third time lucky in October?

Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/282HS1V6/L2-POTM-Sep2024.png
None of the boys got considered despite having an unbeaten month. Remember the winner though from his days in the blue and white of Hartlepool United

Young Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/9fq1b11R/L2-YPOTM-Sep2024.png
Again not a mention for any of ours. Know the winner though, he stars on the wing for my Welsh Under 21 side and has a decent future ahead of him if he's willing to progress.

Goal of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/4d6PkdDX/L2-GOTM-Sep2024.png
Ready, Teddy, Go! Another set piece expert, came through the fabled Ipswich youth set up and has spells at Bradford City and Rotherham United from whom he joined Forest Green from in the summer.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Preview: October 2024 Fixtures


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So this is what we have to contend with in October.

We begin October with a midweek trip to Blackpool, and it's not to visit the landmark Tower! The only tower that needs toppling is the home side, and they're bound to be smarting after our second string line up sent them out of the Carabao this season. With them having a less than impressive start, we can't go there with the thought we've won the game. This is a real banana skin of a match.

After this, it's back to back home games. The first is when we host a Cheltenham Town side who have had the best of us in previous encounters. Of the last six, we've just won the once! Time to redress that record methinks. Then we face the Anfield Under 23's in the Checkatrade. They're the current holders but they lost their opening group game in their defence this season. If we lose this then we've as good as out but is anyone really bothered about this tournament?

Once that Checkatrade business is over and done with, it's back to the bread and butter of the league campaign and a tough assignment at Crewe. They're tipped by many to go up this season so this will be a real test of the promotion credentials if we're thinking that way. They lie mid-table as we start the month, but only two points off the play-offs. Another tough test comes straight afterwards, who said this would be easy, as Chesterfield are in town. It's the return to Prenton Park for winger Luca Connell who spent a half season loan here before I arrived the following summer. He'll be one we'll have to monitor for sure.

We finished October's assignments with a trip to Accrington to face Stanley. They're punching above their weight so far this considering most have them in a relegation battle. Managed by the Mad Dog himself, Martin Allen, I'm sure he'll have them well fired up to face us. The final game is against Bradford City here on the Wirral, a team we've not faced in league action since the final game of the 2013-14 season when they grabbed all three points with a 2-1 win. Let's not repeat this. They're also managed by Scott Brown, no not Broony if you were asking....

So by the time these league games are finished with, we will have played 17 league games already. Considering that we play 46 in the regular season, that's crazy fixture scheduling but if we can stay in the top three at the end of it then I'll be more than happy. Even better if we can establish a bit of a lead at the top, right?
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Squad announcement

Last Updated: 03/10/2024 12:00pm

Wales Under-21 manager Mark Duell today released his 23 man squad as they conclude their qualifying campaign against Malta and Azerbaijan. There is just one change from the squad that featured against Israel and Moldova. That change sees Burnley's Matty Williams receive his first call up at the expense of the unfortunate Shane Stevenson who is sidelined with a torn pectoral muscle. The full squad is as follows:.

Goalkeepers:
Scott Williams (Bury)
Jack Jackson (Cardiff City)
Adam Evans (Cardiff City)

Defenders:
Jamie McKinnon (Swansea City)
Jonathan Letheren (Swansea City)
Jeff Lloyd (Cardiff City)
Tom McCarthy (Cardiff City)
George Armstrong (Portsmouth)
Nathan Pritchard (Barry Town United)
Anthony Stevenson (Chelmsford City)
Nick Clayton-Curran (Dartford)

Midfielders:
Tommy Hill (Cardiff City)
Matty Williams (Burnley)
Dion Tipton (TNS)
Darren Hewitt (Unattached)
Connor Coyne (Wrexham)
Sion Pulis (Morecambe)
John Eaton (Colchester United)
Cory Bond (Swansea City)

Strikers:
Ian Branch (Cardiff City)
Dewi Coates (Connah's Quay Nomads)
Sam Hall (Stoke City)
Russell Burton (Cardiff City)

The permutation is simple for the Young Dragons: better the results achieved by group leaders Greece. Do that, and they will qualify automatically for the finals in Switzerland. Fail to do it, and it will be the play-offs again or at worse, miss out completely.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Joy as Duell pens contract extension

https://i.postimg.cc/cLsmzQ1L/wehaveadeal.jpg

4 October 2024

Tranmere Rovers are delighted to announce that first team manager Mark Duell has signed a contract extension here at Prenton Park.

The highly coveted 42 year old has agreed terms on a one year extension which will take him up to the end of the 2025-26 season, and is great news for supporters ahead of tomorrow's home game against Cheltenham Town.

Duell had this to say: "I'm delighted with this new deal. We're building something really special here and this is just the beginning of it. I'm absolutely loving it here and it was a no-brainer to commit to staying for even longer."
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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https://i.postimg.cc/fLwFBNXk/checkatradetrophy.png

https://i.postimg.cc/wvSfR1jP/TRFC-CTGame2.pngg
8 October 2024

Our second game in the Checkatrade Trophy saw Neil Critchley's Liverpool Under 23 side make the short trip across the Mersey. Surprisingly for us, no away fans travelled which made for a very eerie atmosphere indeed. The away side took the lead after just three minutes when former Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook headed in from close range. Try as we might we could not break down the red wall in opposition but went close a few times. The nearest we got was when Cedwyn Scott, on a rare start, hit the post with a well struck left foot effort and Dimitri Sea being denied by David Raya in the Reds goal. They added a second midway through the second half when Curtis Jones scored after a goalmouth scramble. Carlo Banks went close to getting a consolation but Raya denied him too and our Checktrade Trophy campaign is over after just two games

In the other game, a Mallik Wilks strike after 68 minutes was enough to see ten-man Fleetwood Town overcome Peterborough United at London Road and book their place in the next round already.

https://i.postimg.cc/bY9ktGrt/TRFC-CTTable1.png
.
Team: Ward; Nicholls, Reynolds, Joseph, Richards; Sowah; Tee, Anderson; Carlo Banks, Scott ©, Sea. Substitutes: Ofoborh (for Joseph HT), Collier (for Sea 58), Pressley (for Scott 68), Dewhurst, Kenlock, Williams, Ollie Banks.
Goalscorers: None
Man of the Match: Curtis Jones (Liverpool Under 23's)
Attendance: 9098 (0 away)
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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https://i.postimg.cc/6pwxHTgr/Uefa-U21-Championships.jpg

The conclusion of the qualifiers.

Thursday 10 October 2024
https://i.postimg.cc/y63Q0y9b/Wales-U21-101024.png

Go for it was the message as we kicked off the first of the final two qualifying games, and we improved our goal difference no end with a mauling of basement dwellers Malta at the Cardiff City Stadium. The scoring was opened after just two minutes when Sion Pulis was Johnny-on-the spot to fire home after the Maltese keeper could only push a Jeff Lloyd shot direct to him. We then added two more in the seventh and ninth minutes; first Chelmsford City's Anthony Stevenson headed in a John Eaton cross and then the third came from Cardiff's Russell Burton who directed a Pulis effort into the net. Burton then would complete his hat trick with two more within 60 seconds of each other. After 20 minutes, he headed in a Stevenson cross to make it 4-0 and then another header this time from a Tom McCarthy (on for the injured Jonathan Letheren) centre.

Four minutes after Burton had completed his treble, Stevenson had his second of the game. Pulis whipped in a free-kick to the far post and the winger headed in to make it 6-0. Just after the half hour, he would complete a well taken treble with yet another header from a Lloyd cross this time out. We would score only one more in the second half but it was certainly the pick of the bunch for sure. A Dion Tipton free kick from wide on the right was headed out to Burton 20 yards out, and the striker produced a tremendous volley that just ripped into the net and had everyone applauding in the stadium.

Monday 14 October 2024
https://i.postimg.cc/Yq1ds2dN/Wales-U21-141024.png

With Greece winning against Azerbaijan whilst we mauled Malta, it was down to a final day shootout to see who would qualify automatically and who would suffer the agony of falling into the play-offs with Israel waiting to see if either of us would slip up. We came away with another seven goal blast which would take us to an astonishing 35 goals! The opening goal came after 11 minutes when Burton converted from the spot after Stevenson had been obstructed as he prepared to shoot. Two minutes later and we had a second, John Eaton volleying home after a superb piece of vision from skipper Letheren. Another set piece would lead to our third in the 17th minute, Tipton's free-kick being headed in by central defender George Armstrong. A close range finish from Stevenson would make it 4-0 after 22 minutes

In the 27th minute, we scored a fifth thanks to a deflected strike from Burton before the Cardiff striker completed another hat-trick a couple of minutes later. scoring at the second attempt after the keeper had parried his initial effort. That strike from Burton was his 14th in 16 appearances and it broke Ched Evans national record at this level. Who knows what he can finish up with, considering he's just 18! Pulis headed in the seventh of the match from a couple of yards out with the home nation's defence all at sea. But would it be enough?.


https://i.postimg.cc/50TsZXcg/Wales-U21-Table1024.png

So we are off to Switzerland, and without the need of a play off. Who will we draw?
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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October 2024 Review (Part One)


Welcome to the first part of October's review.

https://i.postimg.cc/QMPPr41c/TRFC-202425-Game12.png
1 October 2024

Two goals in five minutes in the closing stages proved to be enough for us as we completed a second win over the Seasiders and send their tower tumbling down. We took the lead in the 82nd minute when from a Myles Kenlock cross, substitute Cedwyn Scott saw his header parried by the keeper but the winger made no mistake at the second time of asking. It was Cedwyn's second goal of the season which has yet to catch fire like last season. The clincher came five minutes later when skipper Jon Murray clipped in a free kick, and Yann Songo'o stole a yard on his marker to volley into the roof of the net. Ben Beechey pulled one back for the home side with what was the last meaningful action of the game but three points are ours despite the home boss claiming we didn't deserve it. Sour grapes Keith!.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; Durrant, Murray ©; Carlo Banks, Mullin, Sea. Substitutes: Collier (for Sea 57), Ofoborh (for Durrant 66), Scott (for Carlo Banks 74), Ward, Reynolds, Pressley, Williams.
Goalscorers: Scott (82), Songo'o (87)
Man of the Match: Yann Songo'o (Tranmere)
Attendance: 7630 (761 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/XvwFVXyx/TRFC-202425-Game13.png
5 October 2024

We had to work hard for the points against Cheltenham in our next game as they persistently tried to upset our traditional rhythm of free flowing football. In the end, one goal decided matters and it came early on too. Only four minutes had been played when we were awarded a free kick out on the left. Skipper Murray delivered as per, and this time it was left back Kenlock on hand to steer the ball into the net for his first goal for the Club. The Swindon loanee has certainly been a consistent performer since arriving in the summer. No further goals ensued so on we march with another win but Colchester keep matching us.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Reynolds, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; Durrant, Murray ©; Carlo Banks, Mullin, Sea. Substitutes: Scott (for Carlo Banks 59), Collier (for Sea 69), Ofoborh (for Durrant 77), Ward, Reynolds, Pressley, Williams.
Goalscorer: Kenlock (4)
Man of the Match: Myles Kenlock (Tranmere)
Attendance: 8136 (210 away)

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12 October 2024

This was potentially one of the hardest games of the season at such an early stage in the campaign as Alex are one of the teams fancied for promotion. Yet it proved to be a comprehensive away performance that had me purring with delight. We opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute, skipper Murray lashing from twelve yards for his first of the season after a corner from Carlo Banks had landed at his feet. Two goals just after the hour added the gloss. The first came in the 61st minute, Murray turning provider this time for Songo'o to head across the keeper at the far post for the midfielder's third of the season. Then Neco Williams capped an impressive performance by creating the third in the 67th minute, his right wing cross being finished calmly at the back post by Paul Mullin for his second goal of the campaign. Job done again!

Team: Dewhurst; Williams, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; De Boer, Murray ©; Carlo Banks, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Matthews (for De Boer 55), Tee (for Murray 73), Collier (for Pressley 78), Ward, Ofoborh, Scott, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorers: Murray (5), Songo'o (61), Mullin (67)
Man of the Match: Neco Williams (Tranmere)
Attendance: 4663 (505 Rovers)

So these are the current standings:

https://i.postimg.cc/L8vKG3xV/TRFC-Table-Mid-Oct2024.png

Analysis: So the month of October has started pretty well indeed and Colchester being held to a goalless draw at Shrewsbury, makes it even sweeter. We might not have a goalscorer that's ripping the division apart but we're actually scoring from all parts of the team which is pleasing in itself. Three more games to go this month, can we keep it going?
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Quakers test for Rovers

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21 October 2024

Rovers today found their opponents in the First Round proper of this season's Emirates FA Cup.

We will be on our travels to the North East for a trip to Blackwell Meadows to face National League newcomers Darlington.

The two sides met in pre-season when the Quakers came from 2-0 down to eventually win 5-3 in a fascinating encounter. This tie will be played on Saturday 9 November 2024 with a 3:00pm kick off and away tickets will be on sale soon from the Ticket Office..
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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October 2024 Review (Part Two)


Welcome to the second part of October's review.

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19 October 2024

After the impressive away showing, we entertained Chesterfield next at Prenton Park and what a thriller it was. We took the lead in the 25th minute of the game when a low cross from carlo Banks found Aaron Pressley on the edge of the six yard box and the son of "Elvis" spun and turned his marker on the proverbial sixpence before firing in a low shot that caught the keeper leadenfooted. This after Chesterfield had had a goal of their own disallowed for offside in the opening minute and we had lost Neco Williams to a badly twisted ankle which would keep the former Anfield trainee out for a month. Things got better either side of half time as we sailed into a three goal lead. First of all Pressley bagged his second of the game with a real poacher's effort from close range after Yann Songo'o headed a Paul Mullin corner down to him. Then with the second half just four minutes old, we went 3-0 ahead. Banks was tripped in the area by O'Keefe and Mullin stepped forward to convert the perfect spot kick.

Yet the Spireites were tough opposition all game and always looked dangerous in attack. The wonderfully named Iké Ugbo, born in London to Nigerian parents, reduced the arrears in the 53rd minute to 3-1 and then we had to endure a nervy finish too. That was because George Moncur scored with a deflected effort from distance with just four minutes left on the game clock. Yet we held on like our lives collectively depended on it for a very important three points.

Team: Dewhurst; Williams, Graham, Mbulu, Richards; Songo'o; Matthews, Murray ©; Carlo Banks, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Nicholls (for Williams 13), Tee (for Murray 60), Sea (for Mullin 70), Ward, Collier, Reynolds, Scott.
Goalscorers: Pressley (25, 43), Mullin (pen 49)
Man of the Match: Aaron Pressley(Tranmere)
Attendance: 8605 (666 away)

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22 October 2024

More battling qualities were needed in our next league game as we recovered a two goal deficit to take a point from our trip to the Wham Stadium in Accrington. Stanley surprised us with a goal in their first chance of the game, Price's cross from the right found Jenkins in space and he made no mistake from close in. They added a second in the 34th minute, nine minutes after that opener. Some absolutely criminal defending by us allowed Sameron Dool to plant home a free header from a set piece which had been such a very useful weapon for us previously. Yet we regrouped and would go into half time just 2-1 down when Mullin sent Pressley and the young Scot strode on to finish with aplomb for his fourth of the season.

Harsh words were said at the break and it seemed to do the trick as we were back on parity at the hour mark. Young Les Matthews, whom I've given a bit of a run in the side, teed up his skipper Jon Murray at the edge of the area and his shot swerved away from the keeper to nestle into the bottom corner. Despite having the better of the play, we couldn't force a winner but maybe in hindsight one point is better than none at all. Another blow was that we lost Jake Nicholls to a gashed leg early in this game, meaning both the first and second choice right-backs are now injured!

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Richards; Songo'o; Matthews, Murray ©; Carlo Banks, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Reynolds (for Nicholls 17), Scott (for Carlo Banks 55), Tee (for Graham 88), Ward, Durrant, Collier, Sea.
Goalscorers: Pressley (43), Murray (60)
Man of the Match: Philip Price (Accrington)
Attendance: 2056 (628 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/KzNHWkwC/TRFC-202425-Game17.png
26 October 2024

Football is one of those games that if you take your chances then you'll definitely go on and win and so it proved against the Bantams. With both Williams and Nicholls out injured I was forced to draft Goerge Alfieri into the starting eleven at right-back despite the young Irishman being well short of match fitness and the fact Ryan Reynolds (yes, ol' Deadpool himself) told me he hates playing full back. But despite this we finished the month as we started it; with a win. We took the lead after 27 minutes when Matthews found Mullin in space and his fierce shot crashed into the net via the underside of the bar.

Two more goals followed in the second half to garner three more useful points. In the 58th minute, some neat play allowed skipper Murray to pick out the top corner with an arrowing effort for his third of the campaign. Then the points were secured 18 minutes from time when a corner from Mullin was met with a powerful header from Christian Mbulu and it was past the keeper in a flash for game over.

Team: Dewhurst; Alfieri, Graham, Mbulu, Richards; Songo'o; Matthews, Murray ©; Carlo Banks, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Collier (for Pressley 37), Scott (for Carlo Banks 68), Tee (for Songo'o 75), Ward, Durrant, Sea, Reynolds.
Goalscorers: Mullin (27), Murray (58), Mbulu (72)
Booked: Alfieri (3), Songo'o (33), Richards (90)
Man of the Match: Paul Mullin (Tranmere)
Attendance: 9984 (2103 away)

So these are the current standings now October is out of the way:

https://i.postimg.cc/jjWf9G9T/TRFC-Table-End-Oct2024.png

Analysis: So ends what was another good month for us as we continue to defy the odds and stay atop of the division. Colchester are clinging onto our coat tails so to speak, ready to pounce if we slip up but the team are playing really well indeed. The fact we have a ten point gap over third is pleasing even if it is only October with fourth place a further three behind them. We've seemingly made a good start but good starts mean nothing if you can't keep the train rolling. Many a club has had a great start then fallen away like Devon Loch, we have to make sure that this does not happen to us if we want a second successive promotion. Can't complain about our attendances either, we're averaging almost 8500 a home game which is a sign to the board that if the team on the pitch are doing well then the people will come and watch.

One side note: We lost to Wycombe in game three this season, now look where they are in the table. Funny old game this football isn't it?
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Monthly Awards: October 2024


Time to see who won what in the latest League Two Monthly Awards:

Manager of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/WzfjQfxR/L2-MOTM-Oct2024.png
Good things are worth waiting for, eh? At the third time of asking this season, I have managed to get my first ever League Two Manager of the Month award. As Bart Simpson would say: "Eat my shorts man!"

Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/ZYfTBCnf/L2-POTM-Oct2024.png
The skipper has been in inspired form during October and really deserves this award. I do wish he would sit down and agree a new contract with us, after he's gotta be delighted on how the club is doing now compared to when he put in his transfer request in May 2023

Young Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/Y9rHjHHK/L2-YPOTM-Oct2024.png
On loan from Bolton Wanderers, the striker gets it for his goals. Funny how he drew a blank when we played them...

Goal of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/Kvky1fdz/L2-GOTM-Oct2024.png
And it's a double for him, Chester's goalkeeper must not have been concentrating to let him score from 30 yards out no matter how powerfully he struck the ball.
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Preview: November 2024 Fixtures


https://i.postimg.cc/wxPj41z1/TRFC-Nov2024-Fixtures.png

This is how the month of November is set to pan out.

After a 14 day break from our last outing against Bradford City, we start our Emirates FA Cup campaign against Darlington at Blackwell Meadows. I think we really underestimated them in pre-season when they came from behind to beat us 5-3 so there's not going to be a repeat. I'll be putting out a very strong side out against the Quakers for sure. Personally I want to make the Third Round stage again even if the board wanted just to be in the First. Don't think they, or the supporters, would be happy if we were the victims of a giant killing.

Once that's out of the way, we conclude our Checkatrade campaign for the season by going to Fleetwood. The home side have already qualified, we're already out...it's a proper dead rubber type of game to be honest. Now if we could finish on a high that would set us up nicely for the bread and butter of the league which comes next.

Three games in ten days round off November with a home game sandwiching two trips down to the South West. We first go to the real St James Park in my opinion and know full well that Exeter will give us a real good test. Our last trip there was a FA Cup First Round replay in the 2021-22 season, two Jayden Stockley goals seeing them through to the second round where Bury would in turn beat them.

Our sole home game is when Maidstone United come a visiting. They're in their second season back in the Football League since winning the National League in 2022-23, and finished 17th last campaign. We've won the last five meetings between the sides which would be a nice stat to keep going but like any team, we cannot underestimate them as they might want to put the record right from their side.

November ends with a second trip to the South West, this time to play Plymouth Argyle. Home Park is another stadium where we haven't done well recently, a 1-0 loss in August 2022 being our last trip and you have to go back even further to find out when we last actually won there. That being in February 2011 when we triumphed 3-1! With them in the promotion hunt, this will be another testing away encounter which we hope we can get something out of.

Let's see how it goes, eh?
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Big changes at Rovers

2 November 2024

Could Jake Collier be on the move?

https://i.postimg.cc/63L2kRrV/mcinnes.jpg

Well if stories coming out of Glasgow are true, then maybe the young striker.

The 19 year old St. Helens born striker has attracted the attention Rangers manager Derek McInnes, who has admitted that he is keen to bring him to Ibrox. Coliier, who has four goals this season to his name, really broke through in last season's National League winning campaign and now has apparently got a host of clubs wanting him to sign for them.

Other clubs rumoured to be interested in signing the striker include Edinburgh rivals Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian as well as Championship big names Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and West Bromwich Albion.

The striker signed a new deal this summer taking him to the summer of 2027 and is valued at £1.3 million by the Rovers although there's a reputed clause in that deal that might allow him to move for £725,000.

Rovers manager Mark Duell refused to comment on the story when we asked him; suggesting that he is unwilling to part with one of the best young talents at the Club in recent years.
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Squad announcement

Last Updated: 06/11/2024 12:00pm

Wales Under-21 manager Mark Duell today released his 23 man squad for their friendly international against Bosnia and Herzegovnia. There are a plethora of new faces as the squad is reshaped due to age restriction and injury. The full squad is as follows:.

Goalkeepers:
Scott Williams (Bury)
Gareth Ryan (Swansea City)
Adam Evans (Cardiff City)

Defenders:
Jamie McKinnon (Swansea City)
Dale Radford (Swansea City)
Jeff Lloyd (Cardiff City)
Tom McCarthy (Cardiff City)
James Bloom (Cardiff City)
Danny Ellis (Cardiff City)
Lloyd Bellamy (Manchester United)
Andrew Jones (Middlesbrough)

Midfielders:
Tommy Hill (Cardiff City)
Matty Williams (Burnley)
Dion Tipton (TNS)
Anthony Stevenson (Chelmsford City)
Curtis Yates (Sunderland)
Tim Tantram (Walsall)
John Eaton (Colchester United)
Cory Bond (Swansea City)
Jamie Cotterill (Carlisle United)

Strikers:
Michael Sadler (Newport County)
Phil Saunders (Connah's Quay Nomads)
Russell Burton (Cardiff City)

The game will be played at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, on 12 November 2024 with the draw for the Finals in Switzerland to be made on 30 November 2024.
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Having qualified automatically for the Finals in Switzerland thanks to a last day decider, we didn't have to contend with the play-offs. Instead we hosted a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Wrexham. This is how we got on.


Tuesday 12 November 2024
https://i.postimg.cc/8ztVDZK5/Wales-U21-121124.png

The new look Wales Under 21 side took to the field in Wrexham for a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovnia as they prepare for next summer European Under 21 Championships in Switzerland, the second time they have qualified. With four debutants in the starting eleven, and seven more on the bench, there was a sense of intrigue to see what they would do. Those worries would prove unfounded as the home nation strolled to a comfortable win against their visitors.

Wales took the lead as early as the ninth minute when John Eaton's left wing cross was superbly volleyed home by Dion Tipton of TNS. They would double the lead in the 20th minute when Tipton this time turned provider, his cross being headed into his own net by Bojan Vojvodic despite the frantic attempts of Aleksandar Gajic to save the day. The game was as good as over when the prolific Russell Burton got his customary goal after 41 minutes play. The goal coming from a nice cross by Manchester United's Lloyd Bellamy and the Cardiff youngster slid in to finish at the near post. That makes it 15 goals in 17 appearances for the 19 year old.

Duell opted to make a raft of changes in the second half as he made use of the full squad at his disposal. These changes saw the revised line up concede for the only time after 63 minutes, Mirza Hajdarevic scoring with a nicely placed effort. The three goal advantage was restored with 14 minutes to go when Jamie Cotterill threaded the ball through the away defence for Matty Williams to burst in and score his first international goal. Then with five minutes left, Wales went nap with another splendid goal. This time, Curtis Yates picked out Cotterill and the Carlisle winger blasted home an effort that went in off the underside of the bar.

Wales' attention now shifts towards to the end of November when they will learn which countries they will face in the Finals. One thing is for sure, it won't be easy.
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12 November 2024

The finale of this season's Checkatrade Trophy campaign ended predictably in defeat as two goals in the second half proved enough to see Tranmere at the Highbury Stadium in Fleetwood. Fielding a reasonably strong side, Rovers held their own despite under heavy bombardment by the hosts. The opening goal would come two minutes after the restart, Sean Longstaff blasting home an effort from the edge of the penalty area which beat Calum Ward at his near post. The win was secured in time added on when Mallik Wilks dug the ball out from under his feet to strike home a shot that found the net via the help of a post.

In the other game, holders Liverpool Under 23 sneaked into the knockout stages by defeating Peterborough United 2-1 at London Road thanks to a Grant Bentley brace. The final standings are as follows:

https://i.postimg.cc/sxNZtYk0/TRFC-CTTable2.png
.
Team: Ward; Alfieri, Reynolds, Graham, Richards; Ofoborh; Matthews, Sowah; Scott ©, Sea; Davies. Substitutes: Collier (for Davies 52), Durrant (for Matthews 67), Sanders (for Scott 67), Dewhurst, Mullin, Songo'o, Ollie Banks.
Goalscorers: None
Man of the Match: Sean Longstaff (Fleetwood Town)
Attendance: 636 (271 Rovers)
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https://i.postimg.cc/TwyynLLV/TRFC_FACR12024.png
9 November 2024

Rovers had to thank young starlet Jake Collier.to ensure they wouldn't become a FA Cup giant killing victim at Blackwell Meadows today. The highly coveted 19 year old struck midway through the second half to grab Rovers a replay and deny the home side a famous win. Tranmere manager Mark Duell was obviously taking the tie seriously with a near as full strength side against the Quakers. One of the surprise inclusions gave the away side the lead after 32 minutes, skipper Jon Murray sending Paul Mullin away down the left and his low cross was swept home at the near post by Harvey Davies. It was a first goal in Tranmere colours for the Leeds United loanee. However, the lead only lasted four minutes when winger Joe Leesley crashed an unstoppable effort into the far corner.

Leesley would have a hand in the goal that gave Darlington the lead in the opening minute of the second half. It was his corner that Tranmere failed to deal with and Daniel Lewis provided the finish with aplomb. This shook Rovers and they equalised in the 67th minute. Murray weighted a ball over the top of the home defence and Collier showed calmness and confidence to score his fifth goal of the season and why so many clubs are interested in him. Neither side could breakthrough after that, so we're back to the Wirral for a replay which Rovers really wanted to avoid.

Team: Dewhurst; Alfieri, Reynolds, Mbulu, Kenlock; Sowah; Matthews, Murray ©; Scott, Mullin, Davies. Substitutes: Durrant (for Matthews 50), Collier (for Davies 61), Ofoborh (for Sowah 85), Ward, Songo'o, Sea, Pressley.
Goalscorers: Davies (32), Collier (67)
Man of the Match: Joe Leesley (Darlington)
Attendance: 2628 (618 Rovers)

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20 November 2024

It took just one goal that's all and Tranmere Rovers are into the second round of this season's Emirates FA Cup. That goal came four minutes after the restart when Murray clipped a free kick from wide on the left to the far post and Yann Songo'o rose above all and sundry to plant his header into the opposite corner of the net. With former Rovers traillist Tyreece Ruddock looking to pull the strings, the Quakers were always in contention but the home defence never buckled. A close encounter but the win was the important thing.
Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; Tee, Murray ©; Scott, Mullin, Sea. Substitutes: Scott (for Matthews 59), Collier (for Sea 73), Pressley (for Mullin 84), Ward, Ofoborh, Richards, Durrant.
Goalscorer: Songo'o (49)
Man of the Match: Yann Songo'o (Tranmere)
Attendance: 4451 (369 away)
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Rovers on the road again

https://i.postimg.cc/kGng4Lv6/Nethermoor.jpg

21 November 2024

After last night's win against Darlington, our Emirates FA Cup Second Round opponents can be officially confirmed.

Rovers will travel to National League North side Guiseley in another potential banana skin tie. The game will be only our fourth visit to Nethermoor where we hold a bit of a mixed record. Our last trip there in August 2017 saw the sides shake hands at the end on a goalless draw, and none of the players featured in that game are at their respective club sides now.

The game will be played on Saturday 30 November 2024 with a 3:00pm kick off. A place in the prestigious Third Round awaits the winners.
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November 2024 Review


Welcome to the review of November's three League Two games.

https://i.postimg.cc/G29jN3fz/TRFC-202425-Game18.png
16 November 2024

Game one of the three game span was the first of two trips to Devon. In this first away trip, Rovers would go to St James Park (the real one according to the manager) and face the Grecians of Exeter. Backed by a superb away following of almost 500, Rovers took the lead after 14 minutes when Irish midfielder Conor Tee blasted in his first Rovers goal from the edge of the penalty area helped with a combination of post and crossbar. The lead was doubled after 27, Myles Kenlock with the inswinging corner and Christian Mbulu with a header that the keeper couldn't keep out. Exeter did pull one back just before half time when central defender Steven Cottam placed his header beyond the reach of Marcus Dewhurst and Jake Nicholls who was marking the far post.

Two minutes after the restart, Rovers restored their two goal advantage. Aaron Pressley had a shot parried by Becerra in the home goal but straight out to winger Cedwyn Scott who made no mistake for his third goal of the season. The home side did ensure a nervy finish when impressive substitute Carlos Mendes Gomes scored with just four minutes left but Rovers held on for a great away win. They will be even more pleased in that they kept the Grecians 28 goals duo Danny Irwin and Sol Pryce off the scoresheet, a feat that some clubs have failed to accomplish.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Ofoborh; Tee, Murray ©; Scott, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Sea (for Pressley 55), Ofoborh (for Murray 65), Collier (for Mullin 75), Ward, Matthews, Durrant, Williams.
Goalscorers: Tee (14), Mbulu (27), Scott (47)
Booked: Graham (23)
Man of the Match: Carlos Mendes Gomes (Exeter City)
Attendance: 4576 (477 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/YqQzTsXc/TRFC-202425-Game19.png
23 November 2024

Struggling Maidstone came to Prenton Park for a game which most had down as a cakewalk for the home side, and for half an hour it was just that but the Stones came rolling back and in the end Rovers were happy to hold on in a eight goal thriller. The opener came in the 13th minute when Tee sent Neco Williams down the right wing, and from the resultant cross to the far post Paul Mullin placed a shot across the keeper for his fifth of the campaign. Williams would have a hand in the second after 26 minutes which proved to be the first of three home goals in a frenetic four minutes spell. It was the winger's persistence which caused an error in the away defence, and Williams set up Pressley to score his fifth of the season at the second attempt.

Rovers made it 3-0 in the 28th minute, a swift counter attack ending with Tee scoring his second of the season with a placed shot beyond Parish. Then on the half hour it became 4-0, Williams getting his due reward by striking home a rasping drive for his second of the season. Two minutes from half time, Martell Taylor-Crossdale scored his first of the afternoon to give his side a bit of hope. That hope increased further in the 58th minute when Northern Irish striker Shayne Lavery netted and suddenly Rovers were wobbling. However with twelve minutes to go, Tee teed up Mullin to score his second of the game and sixth of the season. Surely sealed? Well Maidstone had other ideas when Taylor-Crossdale scored again almost straight after the restart for 5-3. Thankfully that was were the scoring stopped and Rovers unbeaten run continued for a 12th league game.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; Tee, Murray ©; Williams, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Ofoborh (for Songo'o 52), Sea (for Pressley 63), Reynolds (for Kenlock 68), Ward, Collier, Scott, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorers: Mullin (13, 78), Pressley (26), Tee (28), Williams (30)
Booked: Sea (85), Tee (88)
Man of the Match: Paul Mullin (Tranmere)
Attendance: 7763 (187 away)

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26 November 2024

The unbeaten league run ended in Plymouth as a single goal consigned Rovers to their third league loss of the season. It came late on as Daniel Butterworth headed in from Kilsmahn's corner just seven minutes from the end. The winner was no more than the Pilgrims deserved from a match they controlled. Rovers must now pick themselves up for a crucial December which might determine how this remarkable start may finish.

Team: Dewhurst; Williams, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; Tee, Murray ©; Williams, Mullin, Sea. Substitutes: Collier (for Sea 57), Davies (for Mullin 70), Reynolds (for Kenlock 82), Ward, Ofoborh, Scott, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorers: None
Booked: Mullin (64)
Man of the Match: Kilsmahn (Plymouth Argyle)
Attendance: 7712 (263 Rovers)

So these are the current standings:

https://i.postimg.cc/Hsm6Wm8W/TRFC-Table-End-Nov2024.png

Analysis: We might have lost our unbeaten record but we're still heading the pack going into December which is going to be a HUGE month for us. If we can come out of it in the same position if not better then maybe promotion number two could be on the cards. Colchester continue to hang in there, just two points behind and a better goal difference, but the gap to third is an astonishing 11 points. Fourth placed Plymouth are an additional point behind that which is a nice margin to have. We have to keep at it.

I'm starting to worry about the lack of goals from summer signing Dimitri Sea. The acquisition from Villa should really bang goals in at this level but he's been a major disappointment. Whenever he's had a chance in the first time, he's simply not produced and I'm forced to sub him early. The fans were expecting big things from him, so was I, but I can't see where his next goal is going to come from. Hopefully for his sake, something good is around the corner.
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Finals group confirmed

Last Updated: 30/11/2024 12:00pm

This afternoon the draw for the UEFA Under-21 Championship Finals Group Stage were made at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon.

The groups are as follows:

Group A:
https://i.postimg.cc/x1PzdLmq/Wales-U21-2025-Finals-Gp-A.png
Group B:
https://i.postimg.cc/wBfRXH0p/Wales-U21-2025-Finals-Gp-B.png
Group C:
https://i.postimg.cc/SN6XZcDV/Wales-U21-2025-Finals-Gp-C.png

The winners of each group will qualify for the semi-finals alongside the second placed side with the best record. If those are level, then it will go down to which team has the best goal difference and finally who has scored the most goals.

Wales campaign will be begin on 19 June 2025 against, next up will be Turkey six days later before finishing against Italy on 28 June 2025. They have also confirmed two warm up games for the tournament against Liechtenstein on 7 June 2025 and hosts Switzerland four days later. Both games are away fixtures.
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30 November 2024

A pulsating Emirates FA Cup tie at Nethermoor ended with League Two leaders Tranmere Rovers seeing off hosts Guiseley. The game was full of action and incident and those present will have gone home fully entertained indeed. Guiseley took the early advantage, opening the scoring after just four minutes when central defender Ian Clarke diverted Tyrone Lewthwaite's goalbound effort into the net from just inside the six yard box. However, the lead lasted just a matter of two minutes when Rovers were awarded the first of two penalties after Mike Melbourne tripped Dimitri Sea in the area; Paul Mullin blasted the resultant spot kick into the roof of the net.

In the 17th minute, Rovers went ahead with their second penalty: this time Jamal Balogun was the offender for a foul on Neco Williams. Up stepped Mullin again, sending the keeper the wrong way for his eighth of the season. Back came Guiseley, and they were back on parity almost immediately when a ball over the top caught out the Rovers defence and Lewthwaite lofted the ball over Marcus Dewhurst for 2-2. Still the goals kept coming and Rovers regained the lead after 26 minutes, Mullin this time turning provider for Williams to head in at the far post. Then six minutes later, Rovers were 4-2 ahead when a curling free kick from skipper Jon Murray squeaked in at James Jones' neat post. It was one that the former Liverpool trainee will certainly want back, and a fourth goal of the season for the Rovers captain.

Yet Guiseley would get back within one goal after 67 minutes, Steve Harper with a confident finish from David Breen's through ball. Their hopes took a nosedive though with thirteen minutes left when winger Liam Gardner was dismissed by referee Ollie Yates for two bookable offences. Rovers then sealed their place in the third round for the second successive season with a fifth goal in time added on at the end of the game. A corner from Mullin was headed towards goal by Nnamdi Ofoborh and substitute Yann Songo'o tucked home his fifth of the season from close range.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Reynolds, Kenlock; Ofoborh; Tee, Murray ©; Williams, Sea, Mullin. Substitutes: Richards (for Kenlock 57), Songo'o (for Graham 65), Collier (for Williams 78), Ward, Scott, Davies, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorers: Mullin (pen 6, pen 17), Williams (26), Murray (32), Songo'o (90+1)
Man of the Match: Jon Murray (Tranmere)
Attendance: 3088 (727 Rovers)
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Monthly Awards: November 2024


Time to see who won what in the latest League Two Monthly Awards:

Manager of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/LstYWL9m/L2-MOTM-Nov2024.png
Might have had a bit of shout if I hadn't lost to Plymouth. But fair play to the winner, he needed a run of wins as he was apparently on the brink of the sack.

Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/Y984r7LV/L2-POTM-Nov2024.png
A Mansfield double as stalwart Otis takes the Player of the Month gong. Never actually hit the heights after making his debut for the Blades back in the 2013-14 season though. Third placed was our very own Conor Tee who's become a bit of fixture in the starting eleven now, displacing Sam Durrant completely.

Young Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/C51Rd2jK/L2-YPOTM-Nov2024.png
Bradford's Irish winger on loan from Brighton takes the Young Player of the Month award.

Goal of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/zXyLr9zt/L2-GOTM-Nov2024.png
Another club stalwart in Jordan Clark of Accrington takes the final award, and once more it's the Chester goalkeeper on the receiving end.
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Premiership challenge awaits Rovers

https://i.postimg.cc/NGSs1LtD/Deepdale.jpg

2 December 2024

The draw for the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup was made this evening, live on BBC One's One Show.

It's a third successive away game for Rovers as they make the short journey to Deepdale Stadium to face Premiership strugglers Preston North End. The sides have met in the FA Cup once before, and that was in 1988's First Round. Rovers won that one 3-0 in a replay staged at Prenton Park after the first game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The game will be played on Saturday 4 January 2025 with a 3:00pm kick off.
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Preview: December 2024 Fixtures


https://i.postimg.cc/gJwJWhdw/TRFC-Dec2024-Fixtures.png

This is how the month of December is scheduled.

We begin the month with a home game against Oxford United, another team that are having a bit of a disappointing season. The media have them down to finish 20th this season so they're not too far off at the moment as the U's begin December in 21st. We've struggled sometimes with teams at the wrong end of the table so three points are a necessity as we really move towards to the halfway point of the campaign. The teams drew 1-1 in the last encounter here on the Wirral, Paul Mullin with our goal.

League Game 22 of the season, an away trip to mid-table Oldham Athletic. We had a goalless draw in our last trip there so if we can take something out of our latest visit then that will be a great result. They're a side that could easily turn it on and leave us in the lurch for sure. Back to back home games occur either side of Christmas for us. The Saturday before Christmas sees us entertain a Mansfield Town side that have started to improve, a sole Matt Preston strike was enough for the Stags to defeat us in the last game here between us.

That game against Mansfield Town marks the halfway point of the season, and Boxing Day marks the start of the second half of the campaign with a visit from opening day opponents Stockport County. They will obviously be wanting a bit of revenge for that opening day loss we inflicted on them. Then we finish the twelfth month of the year with a long trip south to Buckinghamshire and face Wycombe. They're one of just three teams that have beaten us in the league this season, but seem to have gone bit backwards since then.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Mullin signs new contract

https://i.postimg.cc/d1JvNFGP/Paul-Mullin.jpg

7 December 2024

Good news this morning ahead of the game at Prenton Park against Oxford United..

Club stalwart Paul Mullin has agreed a new deal which will extend his stay until the summer of 2026. The 30 year old, who joined us in the summer of 2018 from Swindon Town, has gone on to make 311 appearances and score 81 goals in the seven seasons he has been here. Paul's original contract was due to expire this summer but the Club have moved quickly to tie one of the most liked players down to this new deal.

The financial terms of the new contract have not been disclosed.
.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Hoping to have at least 2, maybe 3, updates tomorrow. Stay tuned...
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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December 2024 Review


Welcome to the review of December's matches:

https://i.postimg.cc/QM3d9x7C/TRFC-202425-Game21.png
7 December 2024

We began December with a home fixture against struggling Oxford United but despite making a fabulous start, we were made to work for our three points by our visitors. The scoring was opened as early as the fourth minute when after one-time Rovers target Billy Crellin had saved from both Conor Tee and Neco Williams, there was nothing he could to stop Paul Mullin from poaching his ninth of the season. One way to celebrate signing a new contract with the Club. The lead was doubled four minutes later when Williams headed in a Myles Kenlock cross for his fourth of the season. After such a blistering start, you'd expect an avalanche of goals but Oxford to their credit, dug in and made it hard for us to breach them again.

We should have made it 3-0 with 18 minutes left to play when Lawless upended substitute Harvey Davies as they challenged for a Williams cross but Crellin produced a great one handed save to deny Mullin from the penalty spot. With just three minutes to go, U's substitute Jak McCourt ensured a nervy finish when he halved the deficit. But we managed to hold on, thankfully.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; Tee, Murray ©; Williams, Sea, Mullin. Substitutes: Davies (for Sea 53), Ofoborh (for Songo'o 70), Reynolds (for Murray 81), Ward, Collier, Scott, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorers: Mullin (4), Williams (8)
Booked: Songo'o (51), Reynolds (87)
Man of the Match: Neco Williams (Tranmere)
Attendance: 8237 (732 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/V6ssgGDc/TRFC-202425-Game22.png
21 December 2024

After heavy snow had postponed the game at Oldham the week before, we were back in action at home in the final game before Christmas as we hosted an in-form Mansfield Town at Prenton Park. Considering the time of the year, almost 8000 were in residence to see if we could continue our promotion charge. One goal decided the contest and it came after just five minutes play, Caleb Richards clipped a free-kick into the mixer and Williams looped a header over O'Leary for a fifth goal of the season. Mansfield had us on the ropes throughout but we resisted with Richards showing that the injured Kenlock wasn't being missed at all. A well drilled defensive performance and the Stags will be left thinking how they didn't come away with something which really, to be honest, they did deserve.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Reynolds, Richards; Ofoborh; Tee, Songo'o; Williams, Scott ©, Mullin. Substitutes: Denny (for Songo'o 62), Pressley (for Scott 83), Camacho, Ward, Collier, Davies, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorer: Williams (5)
Booked: Richards (49), Reynolds (66)
Man of the Match: Nnamdi Ofoborh (Tranmere)
Attendance: 7798 (294 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/FRPrByBk/TRFC-202425-Game23.png
26 December 2024

One of them games where nothing at all went right, and then you get the sucker punch at the end. To be honest, if we had played all night then we would have still failed to score, that's how bad it was. We probably wouldn't even finished our dinners or scored with a lady of the night such is the story of this game. The amount of chances we passed up was unreal, we should have had an absolute cricket score. Mullin missed yet another penalty, Magnus Norman denying him this time and it affected his confidence so much that I had to substitute him early on. Then as it looked like a goalless draw was going to be the final outcome, Max Sanders drilled in a low shot from 25 yards to give Marcus Dewhurst no chance whatsoever and leave us with no time to get an equaliser. A classic smash and grab by the visitors.

Team: Dewhurst; Williams, Graham, Reynolds, Richards; Ofoborh; Tee, Murray ©; Williams, Scott, Mullin. Substitutes: Davies (for Mullin 59), Songo'o (for Tee 82), Camacho, Ward, Pressley, Collier, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorers: None
Booked: Songo'o (90+2)
Man of the Match: Max Sanders (Stockport County)
Attendance: 9617 (1036 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/7hdxxxDx/TRFC-202425-Game24.png
29 December 2024

So after that reverse at home to Stockport, we finished 2024 with an away trip to Wycombe. Wycombe had a decent start to the season but when we travelled to Adams Park, they were looking marooned at the bottom of the table with seven points separating them from the safety line. That's some pull back if it can be achieved. Well their hopes took a massive jolt against when midfielder Nya Kirby was sent for a very early bath for a lunge on Williams: only 32 seconds had been played! Then Kenlock limped off for us just 19 minutes into his comeback but we were getting flashbacks of Boxing Day as we passed up opportunities left, right and centre.

Yet thankfully we did break their stubborn resistance with 13 minutes left, Ryan Reynolds with a cross from the left and Aaron Pressley directed home a header into the corner for his seventh of the season. Well done "Deadpool" and "Elvis", you saved our bacon. It was also nice to see Christian Mbulu return to the centre of defence after a period of rest which he so needed. The man is a leader, I just wish he'd sign a new deal and we can keep him much longer.

Team: Dewhurst; Williams, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Ofoborh; Tee, Murray ©; Williams, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Reynolds (for Kenlock 19), Carlo Banks (for Williams 59), Songo'o (for Ofoborh 78), Ward, Collier, Scott, De Boer.
Goalscorer: Pressley (77)
Man of the Match: Christian Mbulu (Tranmere)
Attendance: 3049 (456 Rovers)

So these are the current standings as we head into the New Year:

https://i.postimg.cc/MTnbnDVz/TRFC-Table-End-Dec2024.png
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Half Season Review


Time to take stock on how the season is unfolding.

First Team: The first team are having yet another good season. Granted we have lost more league games this season than we did last season but then again you have to expect it as you step up in class. We go into the New Year two points behind a Colchester United side who are proving to be incredibly consistent all season so far, they've only the lost the once and that was to us. We do have a match in hand, which is the Oldham away game that was postponed. If we can win, we go back top: it's as simple as that. My gut feeling is that our home game against Colchester at the beginning of February could prove oh so important this season.

If we can stay in touch, then maybe that second promotion isn't too far away. What an achievement that would be for the Club and for me too.

Top Scorer: Paul Mullin - 9 goals
Best Performer (minimum 5 started games): Christian Mbulu - 7.18

The Reserves aren't having the greatest of the season in the Central League Northern with just one win from their 11 league matches played so far. They've doing OK though in friendly games though and have scored plenty of goals between them. With so many of them out of contract in the summer, there might be a mass overhaul coming up but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. There are some decent sides in their league but they're not bottom which is fine by me. So long as they provide us with the strength in depth the First Team needs as well as giving some of the promising talents a chance to showcase at the next level then all is good.

Top Scorer: Harvey Davies - 9
Best Performer (minimum 5 started games): Harvey Davies - 7.27

I'm really really pleased with how the Youth Team are progressing this season under the expert management of Andy Parkinson. Sure he lost his assistant Andy Taylor to Port Vale but Marvin Elliott has come in as his replacement and kept up the good work. The youngsters are top of the Youth Alliance North West by five clear points and are in the Fourth Round of the FA Youth Cup where they are to take on their counterparts of Stoke. There's some good talents there, but any of them be that good to do a Jake Collier? We shall wait and see.

Top Scorer: Cathal Johnston - 14
Best Performer (minimum 5 started games): Cathal Johnston - 7.85

I've also come to the conclusion that we've got a massive squad and as a result some of the players need to be moved on. I can't give them all a first team spot when the team is playing so well as they are now. Perhaps a loan spell elsewhere might help, after all beggars can't be choosers right?
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Preview: January 2025 Fixtures


https://i.postimg.cc/4Nw61yZK/TRFC-Jan2025-Fixtures.png

Another busy month of games as we head towards to the business end of the season.

The New Year's Day game sees us host Scunthorpe United here at Prenton Park. They're a team that have really flattered to deceive this season and begin the New Year, just outside the relegation zone. If we turn up thinking that the game is won already based on this then we'll get a rude awakening, just remember what happened to us against Stockport County on Boxing Dau. If that's not a warning then what is.

We break from the league in the first Saturday of the New Year with our Emirates FA Cup Third Round tie at Premiership side Preston North End. Not many people will give us much hope in making the Fourth Round stage but if the magic is still in this famous old competition then who knows. They'll be hoping to get a decent run in the Cup under their belts to compensate for a dismal league campaign, but I back my lads any day. If we can pull off a surprise then who knows what it will do for the club's reputation and mine as well.

After that Cup game, we embark on three consecutive away games in the League and each one of them is as hard as they come. It all begins with a long trip down to Nailsworth to face Forest Green Rovers who are waiting on any slip ups from either us or Colchester. If we can take something from this then this will set us up for the next challenge. That next challenge is a local derby against Chester at the Deva, and they'll be hoping to get their season back on track after starting so well indeed. Bragging rights are on the line with us holding them, let's keep them there right? We then conclude our road trip with the rearranged trip to Oldham. That's the game that had been postponed due to snow in December. It also concludes five games in 13 days for us which means every fit player might be needed and we might have to rest a few here and there to keep the team fresh.

We're back on home soil for the penultimate game of January when Walsall come to visit. Walsall is of course the scene of one of our best away performances this season so if we can repeat that then all will be excellent. Like any team, anyone can beat anyone on their given day. Then we finish January with a trip to Bromley unless we're somehow involved in the Fourth Round of the Emirates FA Cup. Last season, we shared six goals and the points with them so considering they beat us on our own patch this season then revenge is probably on the menu. Like Chester, they had a great start (considering it's their first season at this level...ever!) but they've slipped down the table since. Perhaps they've realised how much of a step up in quality this division is. That said, a few good results for them and they'll be right back in the thick of it.

We need to have a really good month and consolidate, if not improve, on where we are now. It's going to get interesting for sure!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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New Qualifiers Confirmed

Last Updated: 03/01/2025 12:00pm

This afternoon the draw for the next UEFA Under-21 Championship Group Stage were made at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon.

These groups form the basis for the 2027 tournament. Wales have been handed the following group:

https://i.postimg.cc/vHFsY86N/Wales-U21-2027-Qual-Group.png

With the draw pitting the young Dragons against two teams just behind them in the world rankings indeed, this will indeed be a massive test. Then there's a Greece team who posed a number of problems in the most recent qualifiers whilst most will expect that Andorra will be the group's whipping boys.

There's a sense of intrigue though, with rumours coming out of Cardiff that manager Mark Duell is set to step down as soon as the Finals in Switzerland have been concluded for the Welsh. Duell, who also manages English League Two promotion challengers Tranmere Rovers, has been in charge for almost five years since being appointed by Rob Page in September 2020.

One can only wait and see.

The latest qualifying tournament begins on 3 September 2025 with Andorra visiting the Cardiff City Stadium.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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