CHERRIES DENIED BY MOONEY
TRANMERE ......0 BOURNEMOUTH 0
EDDIE Howe claimed his Bournemouth side had been denied the League One title in the cruellest possible way as their goalless draw at Tranmere meant Doncaster’s late winner saw them pinch the silverware.
Howe’s men dominated proceedings against a Prenton Park side who had lost their last five games, but failed to put the ball thanks in great part to the performance of Tranmere goalkeeper Jason Mooney.
But despite already having secured promotion to the Championship in their previous game, Howe said his players were crestfallen at missing out on the title they had been so desperate to win.
“The lads played some excellent football and to miss out on the title in this way is the cruellest way it could possibly have happened,” said Howe.
“It almost feels like we have failed but we didn’t have that lucky break.
“We feel like we have lost and there is a negative feeling around the dressing room.
“The players are crestfallen but this club has come so far from a few months ago. We have achieved promotion and we need to keep our perspective on that but we were desperate to take the title.
“But I want us to celebrate their achievement because when we look back on this we can be absolutely delighted.”
Tranmere debutant Mooney made a smart double save to deny first Harry Arter then Shaun MacDonald on the rebound seven minutes in.
Arter dragged the ball wide following a surging run from midfield and Ash Taylor then sent an ambitious effort way over the bar for Rovers as he tried his luck from range.
Bournemouth started the second half brightly and almost took the lead when Arter let fly with a stunning volley that fell just wide of the upright.
Brett Pitman headed straight at Mooney from Marc Pugh’s cross before Simon Francis rattled the stanchion with a thunderbolt on the hour.
Matt Ritchie then pulled a fulllength stop from Mooney as the Cherries turned the screw but JeanLouis Akpa-Akpro fired into the arms of Ryan Allsop in a rare Tranmere attack.
Mooney made a wonderful save to parry Pitman’s curling strike but the south coast side couldn’t muster a winner which would have gifted them the League One crown.
Reflective Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore said: “The last eight weeks have been a nightmare.
“But we have been running on empty and that is what happens when you don’t have the strength in depth.
“Our movement up front wasn’t good enough and that has been a problem for us recently.
“We lost several key players at the half-way stage of the season and we couldn’t afford to strengthen.
“That was a massive blow to our hopes but to get 67 points is fantastic for us really.”
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