Connor Jennings Late Winner Sends Tranmere Rovers into League One
Late Winner Secures Back-to-Back-Promotions For Tranmere Rovers
Connor Jennings Scored Late On to Send The Rovers Up
Newport boss Michael Flynn was right to be scathing in his attitude towards the match officials. On such an important day for the Exiles, he witnessed two clear-cut penalties waved away and his captain sent-off.
James Norwood proved the brightest spark for Rovers, forcing Joe Day into a save from close range, but nothing separated the two sides until Jennings’ late header.
End to End Football
Newport started the first half brightest as Jamille Matt and Padraig Amond both had chances, but neither could take full advantage from good positions.
Scott Bennet and Amond came close again as the Exiles continued to apply pressure for an opening goal, but the winger struck well over and County’s top-scorer was unable to keep his header on target.
Tranmere’s best chance of the game fell to 32-goal striker Norwood on 25 minutes, but the talismanic frontman had his fierce volley saved by Day.
Newport captain Mark O’Brien should have done better when a wayward clearance fell at the defender’s feet; David Perkins then drove a low shot into Day’s hands moments later as the two sides battled for an opener.
Micky Mellon’s side looked as though they were more likely to score on the counter-attack and the Whites almost did exactly that. When Norwood’s shot deflected into the path of Jennings, the 27-year-old should have tested Day, but instead, he watched as the ball, and a golden chance to score, flashed past.
Newport’s most dangerous chance came on 74 minutes. Manny Monthe allowed a cross to bounce in the six-yard box which Matt Dolan headed towards the bottom corner; however, Davies produced a superb save to deny the substitute from close range.
With extra-time looming, Mellon made his second change by introducing Steve McNulty. The defender’s arrival allowed Liam Ridehalgh and Caprice to move forward as wingbacks, with Jennings to support Norwood.
Heartache for Exiles
Newport will feel hard done by as Tranmere avoided two controversial penalty claims. Manny Monthe caught Matt on the six-yard box; then, Amond was dragged down by McNulty on the edge of the box.
Moments later Exiles captain Mark O’Brien was sent for an early bath after a second bookable offence.
Pringle’s low drilled cross provided a rare attack for Tranmere in extra-time as Newport continued to press. Extra-time substitute Keanu Marsh-Brown almost made an immediate impact moments after coming on, but Davies got down quickly to tip his shot behind.
It was to be heartache for Newport though. In the dying moments, Jennings nodded home from close range to seal a second successive promotion for Tranmere.