4:40pm Friday 21st February 2014
By Andrew Simpson
IT took opponents from the Football League to end 1874 Northwich’s run to the Cheshire FA Senior Cup last eight.
Antonie Boland rose highest to head James Rowe’s corner past goalkeeper Matthew Conkie after 18 minutes, a lead the hosts protected to earn a semi finals date next month with Stalybridge Celtic or Altrincham.
Ian Street’s men did not roll over, mind.
The visitors sounded a warning during the early exchanges, Matthew Ward’s shot deflecting kindly into the arms of net-minder Jason Mooney after Rick Bailey had raided from a midfield position.
Rovers responded, striker Cole Stockton forcing Conkie to save superbly before Boland’s breakthrough.
Tranmere, including eight players with first team experience, made their superior fitness tell when making their guests’ custodian produce further stops ahead of the interval.
1874 appealed to the referee for assistance when top scorer Mike Brandon was pulled back by defender Danny Holmes as he headed towards goal, only for match official Nicholas Barnard to caution the back-marker instead of sending him off.
The home team made a similar appeal when Conkie left his area and fouled wide man Abdulai Baggie, though the outcome was the same.
Brandon’s blast into the side-netting marked the last attempt of the half.
He fired high from distance after the break, then forced Mooney to block his goal-bound header.
Ward’s attempt grazed the woodwork, while Stuart Wellstead drilled a free kick against the bar after Ward’s dribble had been halted by a defender’s foul.
At the other end, Conkie denied Jake Kirby and Stockton again when Rovers reminded Northwich of their attacking threat.
Tranmere Mooney (GK), Morris, Hopwood, Boland, Holmes, Power, Riley (Newton 72), Rowe, Stockton, Kirby, Baggie Subs not used Ramsbottom (GK), Gumbs, Maher, Shackleton Goal Boland 18
1874 Conkie (GK), Mitchell, Farnworth, Aston, Duckworth, Bailey (McGregor 83), Woolley, Wellstead, Ward, Stewart (Crane 88), Brandon Subs not used Tagoe, Murphy, Bowyer
Referee Nick Barnard
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