Tranmere Rovers 1 (Lowe 33)
Wolves 1 (Edwards 54)
Wolves had to battle back from a goal down to take a point from Tranmere Rovers in a game that saw both teams reduced to ten men after having a player red carded
With James Henry and Jack Price both ruled out through injury, Dave Edwards and Leigh Griffiths returned to the starting line-up.
Rovers kicked-off attacking the end of Prenton Park that housed around 1,500 travelling supporters.
There was a chance for Wolves after just 40 seconds as Griffiths sprinted into then home half and slipped the ball to Bakary Sako who checked on the edge of the area before hitting a shot that drew a diving save from Owain Fon Williams.
The first corner of the game went the way of Wolves but Michael Jacobs’ kick was cleared before, in the seventh minute, all four sides of the ground broke into a minute’s applause in support of Rovers’ midfielder and number seven Joe Thompson who has been diagnosed with, and is receiving treatment for, Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Sako fired wide after he had run into the area to take a return pass from Griffiths before Wolves were reduced to ten men after 19th minutes. Ryan Lowe raced onto a through ball from Andy Robinson and was in on goal when he was pulled back by Richard Stearman. As last man, the defender’s fate was inevitable.
Kenny Jackett didn’t make any substitutions and set his team to play a 3-4-2 formation.
From a Robinson corner Jason Koumas headed narrowly wide and from another Robinson flag-kick the ball flew dangerously across the face of goal and out of play beyond the far post.
Robinson had a shot on the turn that was deflected wide before Rovers moved into a 33rd minute lead. Ash Taylor lumped the ball into the Wolves box and Lowe got to it a fraction before Carl Ikeme to divert it into the empty net.
Despite being a man down, Wolves were still a threat and it took a flying save from Williams to deny Jacobs who had run onto a Griffiths pass and struck a sweet shot from the 18-yard line.
There was another red card just before the break and the referee had no hesitation in brandishing it after a terrible challenge by home skipper James Wallace on Ethan Ebanks-Landell.
Rovers 1 Wolves 0
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ebanks-Landell didn’t reappear after the break with Scott Golbourne taking his place.
Robinson then went into the book for a foul on Kevin McDonald as Wolves began to pile on the pressure.
And the pressure paid off in the 54th minute as Jacobs whisked in a cross from the left and Edwards hooked home a half volley that Williams got a touch to but couldn’t keep out.
McDonald was booked for a challenge on Robinson before a short corner from Sako was played to Jacobs who ran into the box and hit a rising drive that was touched over by Williams.
Sako was too high with a shot from distance and Williams dived to hold onto a low drive from Griffiths.
With the half approaching the midway stage, Kevin Doyle went on in place of Jake Cassidy.
A tremendous run by Griffiths almost led to Wanderers taking the lead. He took the ball from inside his own half and outstripped two defenders as he ran into the home area. But instead of shooting he chose to square the ball to Doyle and Matthew Pennington managed to get a foot in to divert it away.
A misplaced pass from Jacobs following a Wolves corner released Rovers substitute Jake Kirby who had a clear path to goal. It looked ominous but the visiting defence got back and managed to crowd Kirby out before he could get a shot in.
Wolves were soon back on the attack and Samuel Ricketts left his defensive duties as he ran to the home area before curling a shot onto the roof of the net.
Edwards just failed to reach a McDonald through ball that would otherwise have left Williams totally exposed, and then Sako sent a free-kick just over the angle after Taylor had fouled Jacobs.
It was heart in mouth time for the away fans in the 87th minute when Kristoffer Peterson converted Lowe’s driven centre but the home joy was soon dampened as the flag was raised for offside.
Deep into stoppage time David Davis, who had only been on the field for seven minutes, almost won it for Wolves as he tried to curl the ball inside the post only for Williams to pull off a fine save.
Rovers: Williams, Taylor, Wallace (capt), Lowe, Robinson (Kirby 64), Jennings, Koumas (Power 72), Ridehalgh, Peterson, Pennington, Arthurworrey.
Unused subs: Hateley, Rowe, Stockton, McNulty, Mooney.
Bookings: Peterson (49 – foul), Taylor (81 – foul).
Sending-Off: Wallace (44 – dangerous challenge).
Wolves: Ikeme, Ebanks-Landell (Golbourne 45), Ricketts (capt), McDonald, Batth, Stearman, Jacobs, Edwards (Davis 87), Griffiths, Cassidy (Doyle 64), Sako.
Unused subs: Hennessey, Elokobi, Evans, Sigurdarson.
Booking: McDonald (56 – foul).
Sending-Off: Stearman (19 – professional foul).
Referee: D. Deadman.