MATCH REPORT: Tranmere Rovers 2 Stevenage 2
- Credit: Archant
Tranmere strike late to deny Boro all three points as visitors have Dino Maamria sent to the stands
Stevenage blew a two-goal lead as their bid to register back-to-back wins for the first time since March imploded at Prenton Park.
After going a goal up in the first period and then doubling their lead in the second, Boro then conceded twice with the equaliser coming deep into injury time after assistant manager Dino Maamria had been sent to the stands.
Following the final whistle Graham Westley had words with the match referee, while after a steward had also spoken with the Stevenage boss he left the pitch to boos – just as the match officials had moments earlier.
For all of the shenanigans at the end of the match, though, it is the throwing away of two points against a side that has not won a match in open play since August that will rankle.
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And yet it had all started so well; Stevenage beat Burton Albion last week with an own goal originating from a Charlie Adams cross, and bizarrely they opened the scoring here by the same means.
Sending the ball in from the left with just 14 minutes on the clock, Adams saw his cross fly past Chris Beardsley before bouncing off Michael Ihiekwe and looping over Owain Fon Williams for 1-0.
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Moments later, the same thing almost happened again but this time Adams’ cross, following a free-kick, bounced on to the foot of the post after coming off the leg of Rovers captain Marcus Holness.
The first half ended with neither side having had a shot on target, but from the start of the second period Tranmere got about Boro.
Firstly Marc Laird headed a Max Power cross at Chris Day, and then another shot was fired off target.
The hosts pushed for an equaliser, but they were dealt a blow when a long punt up field was flicked into the path of new loan signing Lee Barnard who finished coolly past Fon Williams.
It was at this point that a handful of fans decided that they had seen enough, but in reality they hadn’t seen anything yet.
Firstly the home side struck back less than two minutes later when Steve Jennings, back for a third spell at the club, fired home a terrific strike from 20 yards.
Then Jon Ashton went off with an ankle injury forcing Westley to reshuffle his pack, with Darius Charles moving inside and substitute Jerome Okimo moving to left-back.
It was less than ideal as Stevenage were kept pinned in their own half, but somehow they managed to ride the storm.
That was until Maamria was sent from the dugout as the hosts attempted to take a throw-in near the Boro dugout, though there was also a booking for the Tranmere player, and soon afterwards Jennings’ long ball was headed by Armand Gnanduillett into the path of Ihiekwe who rifled the equaliser past Day to bring the curtains down on an afternoon full of drama.
Tranmere Rovers: Fon Williams, Holmes (Richards 70), Power, Ihiekwe, Holness, Odejayi (Donnelly 70), Laird, Donacien, Jennings, Gnanduillet, Johnson (Ridehalgh 57). Subs: Baggie, Kirby, Ramsbottom, Thompson.
Stevenage: Day, Ashton (Deacon 76), Charles, Wells, Henry, Lee, Adams (Okimo 62), Whelpdale, McAllister, Barnard, Beardsley (Walton 26). Subs: Beasant, Pett, Jebb, Clarke.
Ref: S Stockbridge
Att: 5,456 (73 away)