Norwood Super Strike Gives Rovers First EFL Win


James Norwood scored his third goal of the season with a superb strike into the top corner to give Tranmere Rovers a thoroughly deserved three points from a 1-0 win over Cheltenham Town at Prenton Park.

The Super White Army created a buzz around the stadium before kick off of the first home Football League fixture in more than three years.

And the home support would not have been disappointed with the performance of their side, who started well at the beginning of the first half.

Early chances all fell to the home team. Ollie Banks had a long-range effort blocked, as did Jonny Smith while Cole Stockton poked a shot wide from six yards, all within the opening 10 minutes.

The deadlock was broken on 13 minutes. A ball played forward was chested down by Stockton and James Norwood raced onto it and hit a half volley into the top corner, giving Cheltenham goalkeeper Scott Flinders no chance.

Smith had another opportunity blocked away from goal as Rovers were looking threatening every time they went forward, but they had to be alert at the back and Scott Davies made a smart save to deny a header by Liam McAlinden.

Just after the midway point in the first half, Connor Jennings played a perfectly weighted to set Smith clear on the left. The on-loan Bristol City man burst forward and fired in a low shot which had to be expertly tipped around the post by Flinders.

Stockton then forced another smart save from the Robins’ shot-stopper, using some quick thinking to toe poke towards goal only for the number one to tip over the crossbar.

The returning striker then forced another save before sending a header wide from Zoumana Bakayogo’s left wing cross as Rovers were dominating the game.

Manny Monthe was brought into the action shortly before half time in place of the injured Ritchie Sutton, while the visitors had to replace centre forward Manny Duku who fell over the advertising hoardings and into the Kop Stand.

The first half saw plenty of positives for Rovers. Free flowing football, some fantastic one touch play and a great goal, with the only negative being that it was only 1-0.

Soon after the break, Norwood almost added a second as he burst clear but fired wide on the right edge of the penalty area.

From a similar position, Stockton also fired wide of the target as Rovers looked to build on the impressive first 45 minutes.

At the other end, Cheltenham came more and more into the game and began to threaten, with McAlinden going close before Ben Tollitt replaced Smith for Rovers.

After another quick break, Norwood again went close. This time down the left wing, the striker brought a good save once more from Flinders who was the stand out performer for the visitors.

There was further pressure on the Tranmere goal, but no clear cut opportunities to threaten Scott Davies’ goal, Alex Addai going the closest as he fired wide from the edge of the area.

But Tranmere remained a threat and Ollie Banks fired a powerful effort against the upright with four minutes left as Rovers saw the game through to collect their first three points back in the EFL.

An exciting and entertaining display at Prenton Park, if this is the sign of things to come, Rovers fans have lots to look forward to between now and May.

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