James Norwood’s strike strengthened Tranmere Rovers’ play-off credentials with a 1-0 victory against Crewe Alexandra, as Friday night football returned to Prenton Park.
League Two’s leading scorer netted his 26th of the campaign in the second half, clinching a fourth consecutive triumph for Micky Mellon’s side.
With another home fixture upcoming against Grimsby Town on Tuesday evening, the Super Whites have a great opportunity to maintain their quest to finish in the top seven in May.
Rovers came closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening stages. Norwood slashed his effort wide after capitalising on a defensive error, before slipping through Jonny Smith who lacked composure one-on-one with Alex goalkeeper Ben Garratt.
The Railwaymen began to find some control after early Rovers pressure. Chris Porter, who is the top scorer for the Cheshire club this term, was denied by a smart stop on the half-hour mark by Tranmere Captain Scott Davies.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, Referee Martin Coy waved away appeals for a penalty after January recruit Ben Pringle tumbled in the area.
After a cagey beginning to the second period, 51 minutes in, Norwood reacted sharply in the box, rifling against the woodwork in front of a packed out Essar Kop Stand.
The Englishman grabbed the opener 15 minutes later, placing the ball past Garratt following tenacious strength to work himself into a shooting position.
Davies was on hand to prevent a late Crewe equaliser with a save from point blank range, in what proved to be the last meaningful action of the match.
Three things we learned
Norwood on fire
Tranmere’s talisman put in a man of the match display and was the spearhead as Rovers picked up all three points against David Artell’s side. The striker showed his killer instincts in front of goal to nestle home his 23rd league goal this season.
Rovers’ defensive solidity
Mellon’s troops racked up another clean sheet as the recent stability at the back continued. Now conceding just one goal in the last six league encounters, the wins are beginning to rack up at Prenton Park, which bodes well for their play-off dreams.
Friday night success
In the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, football at Prenton Park was regularly played on a Friday night. The victory means Rovers have a 100% record in their Friday fixtures this campaign, with the first against Macclesfield Town in October.