Tranmere Rovers swept away visitors Grimsby Town on a windy Wirral evening at Prenton Park as goals from Connor Jennings (2), James Norwood and Manny Monthe gave Micky Mellon’s men a 4-1 victory, their fifth league win in a row.
The damage was done in the first half with clinical finishing putting the game to bed, with a thoroughly professional performance in the second 45 minutes to see the victory through.
The Tranmere boss named Liam Ridehalgh and Ollie Banks in the starting XI, coming in for the injured Zoumana Bakayogo and Jonny Smith who took his place on the bench. Jay Harris was named amongst the substitutes as well with Adam Buxton missing.
The visitors had a good early chance to take the lead, a deep cross catching out the Rovers rearguard but striker Wes Thomas (he of the Hand of Cod) bundled his effort harmlessly wide of Scott Davies’ goal.
At the other end, David Perkins curled a low effort which goalkeeper James McKeown saved well down to his right.
The opening goal came on 18 minutes from a cleverly worked quick free kick. Ollie Banks played the ball to Connor Jennings who found himself in acres of space on the right side of the penalty area, he took a touch and then slammed the ball home from a narrow angle.
Quarter of an hour later, Grimsby were handed the opportunity to draw the game level as Thomas was felled inside the penalty area. The striker picked himself up to take the spot kick himself, Davies making a good save to his right only for Martyn Woolford to follow up quicker than any Tranmere defender to fire the ball home.
Parity last merely a minute as Rovers deservedly retook the lead. It came from an unlikely source as Manny Monthe notched his first goal for Tranmere by firing home a rebound after a dangerous free kick from the left had only been parried by McKeown.
The hosts were well and truly on top and made Grimsby pay for some slack defending. Banks was at the heart of the third goal, with a lovely ball down the right channel to James Norwood. The division’s leading goalscorer, from a wide position, found the far corner with what was possibly meant as a cross! I’m sure he’d argue otherwise! It matters not, as it gave Rovers a two-goal cushion and Norwood a 27th goal of a remarkable campaign for the striker.
Three minutes before the break, Rovers netted a fourth following Banks’ 20-yard free kick which McKeown could only parry to the feet of Jennings who had the simple task of firing into the net from close range from the rebound.
It was a spell of clinical finishing, taking the chances when they came their way, and it gave Rovers a three-goal advantage going in at half time.
Grimsby came out fighting in the second half and it brought about three excellent saves by Davies to keep Rovers’ comfortable cushion in tact, two in particular from close range which he did expertly to turn away from goal.
Rovers had a couple of forward breaks but failed to really threaten McKeown once again, but they didn’t need to.
Harvey Gilmour and Jay Harris were introduced in the final 20 minutes in place of Ben Pringle and Ollie Banks as the home side saw the game out with a professional display which sees them well and truly in the thick of the play-off push.
A trip to Oldham Athletic is up next, and with a healthy Super White Army contingent heading to Greater Manchester, it should be an excellent game.