St Peters Road
Ground Number: 333
Tuesday 25th February 2014
Tranmere Rovers Reserves 1-1 Morecambe Reserves
Final Third Development League - West Division
Originally this ground wasn't a target on my week off. Instead I was going to have a look round a town, probably Southport before the evening's game there. But then I asked on the Non League Forum if there was any games on and to my delight someone mentioned Tranmere Rovers reserves. They said it would either be at Tranmere's home ground of Prenton Park, or at the home of NPL D1 North side Cammell Laird. I was hoping for the latter when I tweeted Tranmere Rovers on the week before and was chuffed when they replied that it would be played at Cammell Laird.
This ground had actually been up for consideration for a visit at the end of last season, when the playoffs were on. However I chose the closer option of Stamford, which turned out to be a decent choice and a good Friday night out. Laird's playoff bid ultimately proved to be unsuccessful and it was Trafford that went up instead. The Manchester based club are currently sat 15th in the Premier Division, a real achievement considering they were recently in the North West Counties League and have come a long way in a short space of time. As for Cammell Laird, they too were marooned in mid table after being unable to follow up on last seasons good run, They were actually in the NPL Premier for one season but round grading issues caused them to be demoted back to the NPL D1 North in 2009, Tbey struggled at first back at their old level and last season's finish of 2nd was by far their best for years.
Both of the sides in today's reserve match had seen quite a bit of action against Wycombe since we joined the league. For Tranmere, games against the Chairboys had proved a happy hunting ground, with just 2 wins for Wycombe, 1 draw and 6 wins for the Birkenhead based club. My most memorable visit there was in 2003. Danny Senda scoring a spectacular own goal in a 2-1 defeat and under fire manager Lawrie Sanchez being sacked after the game, much to the delight of the fed up Wycombe fans. Players to play for both clubs had mediocre spells for Wycombe - Jason Mooney, Bas Savage, Delroy Facey and Iffy Onuora being the uninspiring quartet.
Morecambe had proved regular opponents since their promotion to the Football League in 2007. With no players of note to appear for both sides. Wycombe have yet to lose to the Shrimpers having won 7 and drawn 5 of the 12 meetings between the 2 sides. Perhaps the most memorable of these meetings came in the first clash at their new stadium in March 2011. On the same day as the England v Wales Euro Qualifier, Wycombe walked away with a 3-0 win in convincing style.
On the day I had a decent lie in, waking up at 9am. I watched the second half of last night's Corrie on my Ipad, as well as looking around various sites. By then it was just after 10 and so I had a bath and a relax and left the hotel at 11.30am. After stopping at Asda to get some lunch, I made my way to the ground arriving at 12:45. I met my Tranmere supporting friend David who would be joining me for the evening's match at Southport, and had a good chat to some other Tranmere fans about how our respective clubs were not doing as well as they should be. I picked up a very comprehensive teamsheet which also had other news and info on it, It was free and combined with the £3 entry, made for a good value day out.
I I recognised 2 names from Tranmere's line up with Wycombe connections. Firstly their keeper Jason Mooney who had been playing Semi Pro in Ireland when he came over to England and worked for the club in a non football role. Soon enough the playing side heard of his talent and he was given a chance. He did well and despite doing well at Oxford City on loan for a season (he won their player of the year award) , he was released and snapped up by Tranmere. Another player, left back Evan Horwood was a transfer target for Wycombe under Tony Adams, however that move never went through. As for todays game, both players did well, and the game ended in a decent 1-1 draw, the report of which is posted below (from Tranmere's official website)
A last minute equaliser from Morecambe denied Tranmere reserves their sixth win in a row on Tuesday afternoon.
The match was switched from from the Globe Arena to Cammell Laird's Kirklands and it was the new hosts, Rovers, who started the brighter, with James Rowe opening the scoring ten minutes in with an angled shot into the bottom left corner.
Jake Kirby couldn't quite get on the end of Cole Stockton's cross at the back post on 22 minutes while a long range effort from Stockton was blocked on its way to goal soon after.
Evan Horwood headed over from a Rowe corner on 64 minutes and Max Power brought a save out of the Morecambe keeper direct from a free kick ten minutes later.
Another shot from Stockton was blocked on 83 minutes, with Antonie Boland heading wide from the resulting corner.
As the game went into added time Morecambe drew level, with Chris Doyle stooping to head in from a corner and claim a share of the points for the Shrimps.
There was a late chance for Rovers to retake the lead but Jake Kirby's shot from Horwood's cut back was saved by the keeper.
After the game we left pretty quickly, having to pay to go through the Mersey Tunnel. We also visited both Marine and Formby to take some pictures, but more of that in the next blog.
KIRKLANDS is one of the more basic grounds at step 4 level, and it's quite easy to see, however unfair and daft it is, why they were demoted from the NPL Premier for an insufficient ground. There are a couple of seated areas, along with some more standing under cover, but the rest of the ground is open.
There was a club shop, but obviously it was closed on the day of my visit. The tea bar sold basic food and drink, but one nice aspect was that you could add pepper to the bovril, which makes it a whole lot better. The ground didn't appear to have anything around it, though I didn't really have time to check.