- Match reports
- 15 July 2005 00:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
City arrived at Prenton Park with a buzz surrounding Shaun Wright-Phillips following Chelsea's failed bid for the winger. It was his usual lively performance on the field though in the second half which gave the 1,000 or so City faithful in the crowd a buzz.
The first half saw Wright-Phillips junior come closest to breaking the deadlock after 10 minutes. Bradley was sent clear following Stephen Ireland's ball over the top of the Rovers backline. Despite a neat finish past the on-rushing Achterberg, Ian Sharps was there to clear the ball off the line. It fell again to the young striker but this time his fierce drive struck the left hand post.
City fielded Qatar trialist Yasser Hussain for their first summer outing and both he and the team made a bright start.
Blues kept the pressure on and moments later Ishmael Miller glanced a header wide after a cross from the alert Hussain. Despite the game being labelled a 'friendly', the tackles flying in suggested it was anything but. Tranmere went for power up front with Eugene Dadi hoping to cause City skipper Richard Dunne a few problems.
But it was City who were asking the questions. And after a few scrappy attempts to clear by Rovers, Wright-Phillips drove a shot in on goal, only to see Achterberg parry to safety after 35 minutes. The chances kept coming and following a Hussain corner from the left Wright-Phillips flashed a header over from four yards out.
The host's first decent chance came just before half time and fell to Jason McAteer after a dangerous corner. But City came back again and the Tranmere stopper produced a great save to prevent Wright-Phillips the goal he deserved. Plenty of opportunities for City, but they just couldn't manage to claim the vital opener.
Half Time: Rovers 0 City 0
Manager Stuart Pearce made 11 substitutions for the second half, but it was one in particular City fans wanted to see, Shaun Wright-Phillips. Playing as a striker, mainly due to Robbie Fowler being ruled out of the trip to Birkenhead with a back problem, the Chelsea target did his talking on the pitch.
City were on top again in the early stages of what proved to be a cagey opening to the second period. Sub keeper Wilson picking up were Achterberg had left off with a fine save from Joey Barton's free-kick.
Just past the hour mark the game briefly resembled an NBA match with both sides creating chances. First it was Rovers through a Zola header then City went straight up the pitch to fashion a chance of their own.
With keeper Wilson showing some fine form, City just couldn't find the net, Karl Bermingham thwarted on 70 minutes by the home stopper.
A defensive mix-up nearly gave Tranmere the lead shortly after. As Schmeichel raced to the corner edge of his box, Distin's hooked clearance fell to Greenacre, he looked to put it back over the keeper's head only for the ball to sail wide.
The game felt like a cup tie going into the last ten minutes as both sides pushed on for the win. But with the match seemingly certain to end in a draw - disaster struck. With virtually the last touch of the game Tranmere grabbed an unlikely winner. Super sub Steve Davies headed home following City's inability to clear from a deep free-kick.
Despite the late blow, manager Pearce can be happy with some solid performances by the club's young players, and no evident injury worries.
Full Time: Tranmere Rovers 1 City 0
Tranmere Rovers: Acherberg (Wilson 46); Linwood, Roberts, Jackson, Sharps; McAteer(c) (Jennings 46), Aiston (Dagnall 74), Rankine (Harrison 46), Tremarco (Brown 46); Zola (Davies 81), Dadi (Greenacre 46).
Manchester City (1st half): de Vilieger; Warrander, Thatcher, Sommeil, Dunne(c); Reyna, Sinclair, Hussain, Ireland; Miller, B. Wright-Phillips.
Manchester City (2nd half): Schmeichel; Mills, Distin, Richards, Jordan; Flood, Barton, D'Laryea, Croft; S. Wright-Phillips, Bermingham.