‘DARK­EST DAY’ IN­SISTS PALIOS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Bam­sey

OWNER Mark Palios spoke of his dev­as­ta­tion as Tran­mere’s 94-year Foot­ball League ex­is­tence came to an emo­tional end at pro­mo­tion-chas­ing Ply­mouth.

Max Power threw Rovers a life­line when he can­celled out Reuben Reid’s sev­enth-minute opener with a stunning fin­ish.

But Tareiq Holmes-Den­nis and Lewis Alessan­dra struck af­ter the break to sen­tence Tran­mere to the drop – and vir­tu­ally guar­an­tee Ply­mouth a place in the play-offs.

Five de­feats on the spin sealed Rovers’ fate, leav­ing 550 away sup­port­ers and the Tran­mere play­ers chok­ing back tears as rel­e­ga­tion was con­firmed.

While Palios con­cedes Tran­mere’s de­mo­tion to Non-League foot­ball is a dark day for the club, he in­sists they will come back fight­ing next sea­son.

He said: “It feels dev­as­tat­ing. To­day, our worst fears have been re­alised. This is my worst day in foot­ball. If any of the fans are an­gry, in a way that is good be­cause they care.

“The thing that will kill this club is apathy and there is no apathy at Tran­mere Foot­ball Club.

“There is a ques­tion that the play­ers didn’t want it enough, but I don’t agree with that.

“It is the hope that kills you, but now we have to deal with the re­al­ity. It is how we re­act now.

“We have done a lot of things off the park and that will stand us in good stead for the fu­ture.

“It ob­vi­ously feels ter­ri­ble at the mo­ment, but it is not dis­as­trous be­cause we will come back.

“The Con­fer­ence is a good league and not easy to get out of. But, if you get it right off the park, that will trans­late to on the park. That is what we have to do.”

Tran­mere got off to a ter­ri­ble start when ref­eree Gavin Ward gave Ply­mouth a du­bi­ous penalty af­ter rul­ing Power had tripped Do­minic Bl­iz­zard.

Reid made no mis­take from the spot, send­ing Owain Fon Wil­liams the wrong way for his 20th goal of the sea­son.

Some of Tran­mere’s foot­ball be­lied their per­ilous league po­si­tion and Power handed them a de­served equaliser af­ter let­ting fly from the edge of the box.

With news that Hartle­pool were beat­ing Ex­eter fil­ter­ing through, Rovers knew they had to claim all three points to take their sur­vival battle to the fi­nal day.

But, when Holmes-Den­nis net­ted his first pro­fes­sional goal with a blis­ter­ing 25-yard strike, their drop fears deep­ened.

Alessan­dra hammed the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin with a close-range fin­ish and Kay­ode Ode­jayi’s late goal was merely a con­so­la­tion.

The win puts Ply­mouth in pole po­si­tion to claim a play-off place as they boast a three-point cush­ion – and an eight-goal swing – over near­est chal­lengers Lu­ton.

Pil­grims boss John Sheri­dan said: “I’m re­ally pleased for the play­ers, and I’m chuffed for the sup­port­ers as well.

“It just gives them a bit more be­lief, and we’re a bit closer to achiev­ing some­thing.

“With all the frus­tra­tion we’ve had, we’ve still got a chance of get­ting out of the di­vi­sion.

“I’m not both­ered who we play in the play-offs.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

STAR MAN LEWIS ALESSA

NDRA Ply­mou

th RIP-ROAR­ING: Ply­mouth’s Tareiq Holmes-Den­nis takes the ap­plause af­ter his goal

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