Match Preview: Tranmere Rovers v Lincoln City
By Deadly Submarine
September 8 2016
After last week's defeat away at Aldershot, Rovers are back at home this weekend as they host Lincoln City at Prenton Park. Once again Louise brings us her Match Preview ahead of the game....
This weekend sees the first home game of September as Lincoln City visit Prenton Park. With both teams tipped as favourites for promotion before the start of the season could this game be a defining moment in both teams seasons?
Tranmere head into the weekend, having won 7, drawn 1 and lost 1 – not a bad start to the season and it sees Rovers sitting second in the table on goal difference. However, whilst the table makes for good viewing the performances of late have not been. The draw against Southport exposed weaknesses within the team and in front of the BT cameras Rovers’ managed just a 1-0 win against Guiseley, despite having large amounts of possession. Losing 3-1 against Aldershot demonstrated that Tranmere need to start putting away their chances and they need to start soon.
Lincoln meanwhile have started steady. They find themselves third in the table, just a point behind Rovers. Lincoln have lost just twice this season, with one of those defeats coming away from home against Dagenham and Redbridge. Lincoln are the highest scoring team in the division having put away 21 goals already – albeit six of them came in one match against North Ferriby United whilst another four went past Southport. Lincoln have also found themselves in front of the cameras lately with their game against Torquay last weekend being broadcast on BT Sport. The Imps won 2-1, thanks to a last minute goal by Matt Rhead, who coincidentally scored the first.
These two sides met four times in the 2015/2016 season with Lincoln coming off the better – winning two out of four whilst Rovers managed just the one win at the end of the season. Lincoln won the FA Cup replay back in October – I got that news delivered to me in A&E; I was tempted to stay there and they won the game at Sincil Bank but Lincoln haven’t won at Prenton Park since 1950. The last game between the two came in March of this year, with Rovers running out 3-2 winners (Norwood, Kirby and Mekki) whilst Lincoln found themselves reduced to ten men from the 38th minute.
The Opposition Dugout:
Danny Cowley took over at Lincoln in the summer after leaving Braintree Town, taking his brother and assistant manager Nicky with him. Cowley had an incredibly successful season at Braintree, overseeing their third place finish last season but the brothers were unlucky in the playoffs and a happy ending in League Football wasn’t to be.
Whilst at Braintree, the Cowley Brothers attracted attention for continuing to teach at a local high school as well as managing Braintree. However, the move to Lincoln has seen the brothers, who are both former players themselves, go to full time work and they have left the teaching behind. It gives me hope that when I eventually finish as a teacher, Football Management will still be an option! So far the move has been a good choice for the brothers and they will be looking to emulate last years result after they masterminded Braintree’s 2-1 win at Prenton Park in December.
Matt Rhead already has six goals so far this season for The Imps
Lincoln: Who’s Who?
Lincoln’s top scorer this season is Matt Rhead with six goals in eight appearances. The 32 year old has started a trend of scoring two in a game, or not scoring at all this year so here’s hoping he forgets where the net is this weekend – which might be easier than I thought as he’s been listed as a doubt following a head injury last weekend.
Defender Luke Waterfall might be familiar to Rovers’ fans after he made his start in the footballing world right here at Prenton Park. Since leaving Tranmere, Waterfall has gone on to play for Gainsborough Trinity, Macclesfield and Wrexham before signing for Lincoln last summer. Bradley Wood joins Waterfall in defence, but having been sent off at Prenton Park last season and already received a red card this season against Sutton United, how long he lasts in that defence is a whole other matter. Midfielder Alex Woodyard moved with the Cowley brothers to Lincoln from Braintree in the summer and he’s already become a regular in the centre of the park.
Up until last week, I had been expecting to write a paragraph here about the apparent second coming of Christ, otherwise known as Johnny Margetts but after scoring five in five, Margetts engineered a £50K (quoted by Mark Palios during the Supporters Club Q&A) move to Scunthorpe on Deadline Day.
Around the League:
Dover vs Forest Green: FGR are top of the table thanks to Rovers’ slip up at Aldershot and they’ll be keen to keep it that way as they travel east to take on Dover. This game is a 12:15 kick off and is live on BT Sport (if you don’t want to watch the Manchester Derby on Sky)
Aldershot vs Chester: Aldershot’s win against Tranmere has launched them into the play off spots and they’re playing host to our local rivals Chester who have had a shaky start to the season and find themselves perilously close to the drop zone.
Torquay vs York: Rovers will be traveling to York on Tuesday so its worth keeping an eye on how they fare against a Torquay side hoping to prove their loss against Lincoln was just a blip.
My Starting XI:
Vaughan McNulty Ihiekwe Hughes
Mekki S Jennings C Jennings
To be honest, I don’t know why I choose a starting XI – Brabin will only play the players in a totally different position anyway! But here goes..
Vaughan returns to the side enabling Maynard to slot back into a midfield position he’s made truly his own this season. Hughes goes back to left back, his calm playing manner will help against a Lincoln side sure to attack. Vaughan and Hughes also get forward which should give us some extra width. Mekki to start but only on the wing – we all know it’s his best position!
Steve Jennings by my count has only four bookings so will just about make Saturday’s game but he can be subbed for Jay Harris if it looks like he’s about to pick up that 5th (or if I’ve counted wrong). I don’t believe Connor Jennings is a winger but I believe its not the right game to suddenly drop Stephenson in out of nowhere so he’s the best we’ve got.
I’d like to see a lot of fluidity between Mekki, Cook, Norwood and Connor to allow four of them to get forward and provide options – the more we have in the box, the more likely we are to score.
To be honest, I’m not hopeful. 2-1 Lincoln
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Should be a good game between two good sides. I hope both are at the right end of the table come the end of the season and gain promotion at the expense of teams like Forest Green. We are both proper football league clubs with a history to match as opposed to a club with little support who are largely punching above their weight due to funding from a millionaire.
Looking forward to what should be a great advert for National League football with so many closely matched players on the field.
May the best team on the day prevail!